The City funds directly or indirectly the following independent agencies, which provide cultural and arts programs in our community:
Albany Area Arts Council (and its member organizations)
Albany Chorale, Albany Civil Rights Movement Museum at Old Mount Zion Church, Albany Museum of Art, Albany Concert Association, Albany State University Department of Fine Arts, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Dougherty County School System, Georgia Artists' Guild of Albany, Ritz Theatre Cultural Center, Theatre Albany, Thronateeska Heritage Center. The non-profit arts council offers administrative and technical assistance, publicity and fund-raising through the annual arts development drive. The council is host to several art shows annually. Its presence broadens the base of support and increases the audience for arts in this area.
Albany Area Arts Council/Carnegie Library
Located in the handsome, newly restored Carnegie Library Building next to the renovated Municipal Auditorium, the Arts Council is a take-off point for an artistic, cultural or historical tour of the community. Visitors are welcomed on a free tour of the historically significant structure, which often features art and photography exhibits.
Artscape, a curriculum-based language program highlighting the performing arts, is presented throughout the year at the Municipal Auditorium.
Albany Municipal Auditorium
As an indication of the strong commitment the community has made to arts and culture, the city government, local businesses, arts organizations and individual citizens joined together to raise millions of dollars to restore one of its cultural treasures, the historic Municipal Auditorium. Built in 1915, and now restored to its original splendor, the Municipal Auditorium has earned a position on the National Register of Historic Places and is host to regular performances by the Albany Chorale, the Albany Concert Association, the Albany Symphony Orchestra and special performances by the Albany Ballet and Theatre Albany. Various local and touring groups also perform there on a frequent basis. The intimate 965-seat, classic style auditorium includes an orchestra level, as well as first and second balconies.
The beautifully restored church, a meeting place for civil rights marchers in the 1960s, features historical exhibits and monthly concerts by the Freedom Singers, many of whom participated with the same group during the Civil Rights Movement. The docent-led presentations and tours at the former church offer youngsters a chance to see artifacts and documents chronicling the movement.
The Thronateeska Heritage Foundation plaza is made up of several historic buildings centered around Albany's old railroad depot. The Fryer-Merritt house, built in the 1880s, has been donated, relocated to this historic area and restored for use as meeting space. The Museum of History and Science can be found in the 1913 Union Station Building and features changing exhibits. Model Railroad Display is dedicated to the preservation of Albany and Southwest Georgia's railroad history through permanent collections and a schedule of traveling exhibitions. Programs, lectures and temporary exhibits are offered that highlight the tradition and heritage of the area's communities. The Foundation also operates the only planetarium open to the public in Southwest Georgia, and a science discovery center. Take a journey to the stars and beyond, stand inside a kaleidoscope, travel through time from 1836 to the present, all in a two-hour trip to Thronateeska. A guided field trip of the Wetherbee Planetarium, the Discovery Center "Imagination Station" and the Thronateeska Heritage Museum, with age-appropriate programs, is available.
Ritz Cultural Center
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Ritz features an auditorium and stage, exhibit area, workrooms and practice rooms in what was once the historic Ritz Theatre. Programs at the Ritz are designed to expose citizens, especially children, to the fine arts through diversified activities, educational programs and focused exchanges with performing artists and craftsmen. Additionally, the Ritz seeks to enhance the quality of life in the region by encouraging broad-based awareness of, and participation and enjoyment in, the performing and visual arts. The Ritz provides an after-school program, Saturday Enrichment Program and Summer Enrichment Program.
For hands-on fun with art, the Albany Museum of Art wins hands-down with its new children's participatory area, the only such facility of its kind in the Southeast. AMAzing Space offers a youth art gallery and the interactive gallery for kids. Upper level galleries feature exhibitions from AMA's permanent collection, including sub-Saharan African art and sporting art. Several traveling exhibitions are displayed throughout the year in the galleries on the main level.