The Albright Knox can transform Niagara Falls

Our region’s most renowned art museum boasts an enormous collection so large that only up to 3% of it can be displayed at any given time. The institution is considering an expansion, and finds itself landlocked at its Delaware Park location.

Imagine an Albright Knox built atop Goat Island and inside the Niagara Gorge. The location alone would bestow an immediate global stature, putting our regional museum on an international par with the Louve, MoMa, the Guggenheim, the Hermitage, and the Met.

Over 20 million visit Niagara Falls annually, including 8 million to the New York State Park alone. That strong and stable tourism volume would provide a strong attendance base that could give the institution a vastly larger audience than its current attendance level of 200,000 annual visitors.

If we can attract just 10% of those 20 million annual visitors, the institution would enjoy an attendance of 2 million visitors a year, making it among the busiest art museums in the world.

If attendees are charged $10 a ticket, the institution would enjoy an annual operating budget of $20 million. If we charge $20 per ticket, the institution’s operating budget could surpass $40 million. Then imagine the profits that could be made in merchandizing; high end art dealing; and as a venue for special events. Imagine the programming, the expertise, and the exhibits that the institution could cultivate with such a budget.

The site lends the institution a global prominence that would demand more than just an art museum. We should anchor Niagara Falls’ post industrial transformation with a crowing cultural institution that showcases high culture in all of its forms: beyond portraits and sculpture, a venue for theatric performance and symphony concerts.

This publication is proposing a massive new public institution, built by New York State and operated by the Albright Knox:

  • 2 million square feet of gallery and exhibit spaces, built mostly underground;
  • 250,000 square feet of conference and special event spaces, including lecture halls and seminar spaces;
  • 100,000 square feet of public terraces cascading the gorge;
  • 5,000 seat symphony concert hall;
  • 5,000 seat performance theater;
  • 500 seat outdoor amphitheater;
  • 50 outdoor public event spaces;
  • 7 story waterfall in a central underground atrium on Goat Island;
  • 2 water taxi landings;

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The site of the former Schoelkopf power plant makes for an extraordinary construction site — making possible extraordinary adaptive resue and wild architectural opportunities. Improvements are currnetly being made to the site to house the Maid of the Midst docking stations and boat storage.

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Beyond being just a single cultural institution, the Albright Knox has the potential to anchor an extraordinary revival that — in retrospect — will emerge as legendary.

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2 comments

  1. Goat Island is supposed to be an Olmsted Park. It’s been destroyed enough by Albany. To suggest more development on the island is akin to heresy!!! Return Goat Island to it’s natural state!

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