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Staff

A group of people on a construction site in front of a large steel frame of a new building
Team AK in front of the steel frame of the new Jeffrey E. Gundlach Building, part of the future Buffalo AKG Art Museum, July 7, 2021. Photograph by Joe Cascio.

Learn more about the various departments that make up the museum's operations. Looking for staff contact info? Please check our Contact Us page.

Advancement

The support of our generous donors and members is a crucial element of the museum’s ability to advance its mission and strategic plan. The Advancement Department ensures the vitality of this support through the establishment and maintenance of long-term partnerships with individuals, corporate entities, foundations, and officials at all levels of government. In sustaining and growing these partnerships, the department raises funds for annual operations and programs, capital improvements, endowment growth, acquisitions, and special projects. Special events are a key component of this work, and each year the team develops a calendar designed to provide opportunities for meaningful and enduring engagement with the museum and its programming. The Advancement Department is also responsible for growing and activating a vibrant community of members, whose involvement is a longstanding tradition of the museum.

Communications and Community Engagement

The Communications and Community Engagement Department develops and disseminates information about the museum’s identity, operations, and strategic goals to the media and the general public. The department promotes exhibitions, events, donations, research initiatives, staff members, and the museum’s AK360 Campus Development and Expansion Project through strategic publicity campaigns, media events, marketing, advertising, and more.

The department tracks and responds to incoming media inquiries, develops strategies for effective informational campaigns about museum activities, and approves advertisements for exhibitions and public programs. The Communications team also facilitates all interviews and media interactions with museum staff, collaborators, and artists.

Among the events that the department plans and stages are press previews, press conferences, and photo opportunities for exhibitions, public art installations, and announcements related to AK360.

Curatorial

The Curatorial Department’s primary responsibility is to steward the development, care, installation, research, and interpretation of the museum’s Fine Art Collection, which comprises more than 7,000 works of modern and contemporary art by a diverse range of artists from around the world. The Fine Art Collection is noteworthy for late-nineteenth-century Impressionist favorites, a remarkable group of early modernist works from the beginning of the twentieth century, a world-renowned collection of mid-twentieth-century American painting, and a growing collection of cutting-edge international contemporary art from recent decades. Generous gifts of works from artists themselves have been transformational to the collection, including major bequests from Clyfford Still (American, 1904–1980) and Marisol (María Sol Escobar, Venezuelan and American, born France, 1930–2016). The curators lead the Albright-Knox’s robust program of innovative special exhibitions, exhibition partnerships with other museums, and rotating installations of the Fine Art Collection. The Curatorial Department oversees additional departments, including those responsible for the museum’s Archives and Special Collections, Art Preparation, Digital Assets, and Registration. Curators also frequently collaborate with the Public Art Department.

Cathleen Chaffee, PhD
Chief Curator

Holly E. Hughes
Godin-Spaulding Senior Curator for the Collection

Tina Rivers Ryan, PhD
Assistant Curator

Andrea Alvarez, PhD
Assistant Curator

Julia Vázquez, PhD
Curatorial Fellow

Helga Christoffersen
Curator of the AKG Nordic Art and Culture Initiative

Archives and Special Collections

The Archives and Special Collections Department ensures the long-term preservation and accessibility of information that is of enduring historical value to the museum, staff, and external scholars and researchers. Some of these records include exhibition files, administrative documents, photographs, publications, ephemera, and special collections, such as rare books and the Clyfford Still Photo-Documentation Collection. Archives and Special Collections collaborates with all departments throughout the institution to continue strengthening the museum’s collective memory.

Art Preparation

The Art Preparation Department works closely with the Curatorial, Registration, and Facilities Departments to aid in the care, housing, and display of objects in the museum’s Fine Art Collection. As needed, the department also helps bring Public Art Initiative projects to fruition. The department oversees all aspects of the handling, movement, and installation of art throughout the museum’s main campus, in its storage facilities, and in regional exhibition locations, ensuring the safe installation of all collection artworks, loaned artworks, and exhibitions.

Digital Assets

The Digital Assets Department is responsible for the digitization, care, and management of the museum’s ever-growing collection of digitized and born-digital assets. Such assets tell the museum’s visual story, as they document the Fine Art Collection and other related collections, past and present exhibitions, events, buildings and grounds, staff, and visitors. In collaboration with staff, external researchers, and colleagues from other museums, the department creates and distributes digital content worldwide for reproduction online and in print.

Registration

The Registration Department is responsible for implementing policies and procedures related to caring for both the museum’s Fine Art Collection and incoming loans of artworks to special exhibitions. Duties include overseeing insurance coverage, conservation, contracts and loan agreements, packing, shipping, customs procedures, fine art storage, documentation, and condition reports.

Executive Offices

The Executive Offices of the Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director and the Deputy Director are responsible for institutional management and leadership. The Executive Offices oversee all other museum departments, as well as focus on strategic planning, fundraising, policymaking, and the AK360 Campus Development and Expansion Project. Associates who work alongside the director and deputy director provide administrative support to the museum’s staff, board of directors, and external stakeholders.

Janne Sirén, PhD
Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director

Joe Martin Lin-Hill, PhD
Deputy Director

Facilities

The Facilities Department is responsible for the cleaning, building maintenance, groundskeeping, and interior climate control at the Albright-Knox’s Elmwood Avenue campus and Albright-Knox Northland. Continuous monitoring and adjustment of mechanical systems is required to maintain the critical environment needed for the wellbeing of the museum’s Fine Art Collection. The Facilities team also works closely with museum’s curators to modify and transform galleries in preparation for temporary exhibitions. Currently the team is providing logistical support and planning for the AK360 Campus Development and Expansion Project.

Finance

The Finance Department is responsible for the museum’s operating and capital budgets, financial planning and analysis, oversight of investments including the museum’s endowment portfolio, liquidity and working capital management, record keeping, financial reporting, and museum-wide financial risk management.

Responsibilities include developing annual operating budgets to meet short- and long-term institutional objectives, monitoring financial performance across program and operating areas, providing financial guidance to departments in determining allocation of resources, and developing performance metrics and other benchmarking to enable effective reporting to senior staff and the museum’s board.

Guest Services

The Guest Services Department ensures that all guests are met with a welcoming and dynamic experience. The team is comprised of front desk representatives, gallery attendants, and volunteers who contribute to aspects of daily operations, including admissions, program registrations, group tours, membership support, general inquiries, exhibition engagement, and more. A core value of the Guest Services team is radical hospitality and supporting open dialogue with guests. The team offers seamless service through their understanding of database and ticketing technology, knowledge of the museum’s collection and exhibitions, supportive security practices, and ability to collaborate with staff across all departments.

Human Resources

The Human Resources Department is a key partner in supporting museum leadership, with a focus on employee engagement; relationship management; and Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI). Human Resources is responsible for the development and administration of various plans and procedures that guide and support museum staff, including recruitment, retention, performance management, development, and compliance.

Information Technology

The Information Technology Department is responsible for the architecture, hardware, software, and networking of computers in the museum. The department is involved in providing the infrastructure for automation and the governance for the use of the network and operating systems. Information Technology professionals working in this department perform a number of duties to ensure that employees have full access to the computer systems.

Learning and Creativity

The Learning and Creativity Department is made up of a dedicated team of museum educators and volunteers and offers a variety of public programs for audiences of all ages and abilities, including adults, teens, families, children, veterans, school groups, and visitors with disabilities. We partner with organizations across Western New York to engage visitors both within and outside the museum through programming and interpretation inspired by the museum’s collection and special exhibitions, including studio classes, talks, tours, mobile art initiatives, and more.

 

Public Art

The Albright-Knox's Public Art Initiative leverages a variety of collaborative public-private partnerships to produce the highest quality public artworks for the broadest possible audiences throughout Western New York. Our Initiative is a one-of-a-kind model in the United States, launched in 2013 in partnership with the County of Erie and later the City of Buffalo in an effort to foster community and social engagement through public art while enhancing the region as a cultural destination. All projects are borne out of a combination of curatorial expertise, community conversations, and research to ensure impactful cultural experiences for communities as well as project participants.

Aaron Ott
Curator of Public Art

Publications and Digital Content

The Publications Department oversees the museum’s graphic identity and written presence across a wide range of print and digital projects relating to the museum, its buildings, and its collections. In collaboration with authors, artists, editors, designers, printers, photographers, publishers, and colleagues from museums worldwide, the department manages the museum’s website and social media presence and produces books, exhibition and wayfinding signage, and ephemera such as brochures, gallery guides, and fundraising and membership materials.

Security

The Security Department is responsible for monitoring the safety of the museum’s staff, guests, and assets. Members of the Security team are on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week, patrolling and observing to ensure that the facilities and artworks are protected from potential hazards, coordinating with emergency services in crisis situations to provide information and assistance, and acting as a front-line point of contact with guests.

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