About the Program
Since 1998, Albany International Airport has distinguished itself within the Northeast and throughout the United States as a beacon for the arts in New York’s Capital Region. Before the completion of an airport-wide expansion project, the Airport Authority’s Board and a committee of advisors envisioned the establishment of an Art & Culture Program that would visually enhance the environment of the Airport and strengthen its connection to the diverse population it serves.
The Art & Culture Program has become a cornerstone for showcasing the breadth and quality of the arts throughout the Region as well as a resource for learning about local culture. Through exhibitions presented in the Albany International Airport Gallery and the Concourse Galleries, the Exhibition Case Program, free public programs and group tours, the Art & Culture Program has extended the reach of area artists and museums to an audience of more than three million people each year. Additionally, DEPARTURE, The Shop of Capital Region Museums – the retail arm of the Program – has become an important community service and a unique shopping venue lauded nationally and prized locally.
Most airport art programs are initiated through percent-for-art funds allocated by city-wide legislation that requires art to be integrated into budgets for new construction. Since Albany has no such legal mandate, the Art & Culture Program has been funded entirely through Albany International Airport’s operating budget.
For nearly two decades under the leadership of founding director, Sharon Bates, the Art & Culture Program sought to stimulate pure enjoyment of the arts, as well as critical thinking, within a fast-paced public environment. Travelers find solace as well as insight into our community while local artists are rewarded with sources of exposure and revenue. Fostering this relationship is at the core of our mission, and its development has led to our success as a national model for public art programs.
Kathy Greenwood, Director
Art & Culture Program