The General Assembly approved a budget earlier this month that includes $1.6 million to buy the Albany Museum of Art and its land for Darton College.
Two-year Darton College planned to turn it into faculty offices and space for arts programs.
The problem is the Albany Museum of Art isn’t for sale.
Charles Williams, a member of the museum board and an assistant arts professor at Albany State University said in a recent letter to the Albany Herald that he is puzzled by the state’s decision to fund the Darton project.
“As of our last board meeting, it was decided unanimously that the Albany Museum of Art was not moving,” he wrote. “The museum is, therefore, not for sale. There has never been a proposal presented at a board meeting since claiming that any agreement has been reached.”
Williams lamented that while approving the $1.6 million for the Darton project, the General Assembly rejected funding for an addition to a building at Albany State.
“If economic times are too tough to appropriate funds for a clearly laid out plan backed by the governor and Board of Regents, how is the imaginary purchase of a building approved?” Williams wrote. “If this is how things work, I am going to a bank to borrow a few million to buy Darton’s gym so I can open a spa.”
Bert Brantley, spokesman for Gov. Sonny Perdue, said the Darton project was on the Board of Regents’ priority list developed last year. The state could still try to negotiate a sale with the Museum of Art and lease it back to museum officials until they move, he said. Or the state simply won’t sell the bonds to pay for the project.