Annual Conference Keynote Speakers
Monday, April 3, 12:30pm
Janne Gallen-Kallela Sirén, PhD, Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director, Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Dr. Janne Sirén began his appointment as Albright-Knox Art Gallery Director in April 2013. Prior to this, he served as director of Finland’s Helsinki Art Museum—one of the largest cultural institutions in the Nordic region—overseeing an active program of exhibitions, acquisitions, and museum development. Dr. Sirén spent the entirety of his collegiate career in the United States, receiving his PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 2001.
Dr. Sirén served as director of the Tampere Art Museum in southern Finland from 2004 to 2007. He also worked in the Department of Art History at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, teaching courses in modern and contemporary art, aesthetics, museology, and critical theory.
At the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Dr. Sirén has initiated and co-organized several major exhibitions, including Monet and the Impressionist Revolution, 1860–1910, which became the most visited Albright-Knox exhibition in recent history. More recently, he has organized Picasso: The Artist and His Models, which is on view at the museum through February 2017.
Dr. Sirén has demonstrated experience in community growth and development. He served on Helsinki’s Tourism Advancement Group as a representative of the cultural and museum field, helping to strengthen the tourism industry in the city while identifying strategic principles for future development. Because of his work on that task force, he is keenly aware of the issues and challenges surrounding cultural tourism.
Dr. Sirén is a passionate advocate for the active role of the museum and the arts, particularly when related to the growth of communities. He has spearheaded a community-wide public art program, the Albright-Knox Public Art Initiative, which is a partnership with the County of Erie and the City of Buffalo. In 2015, Dr. Sirén launched the AK Innovation Lab, a unique, active space for the development of new thinking and ideas for museums and communities.
In October 2015, he announced AK360, a major new initiative to revitalize and grow the Albright-Knox’s Elmwood Avenue campus, poising the museum to take a leading role in a resurgent Western New York. He oversaw the hiring of the renowned international architects OMA/Shohei Shigematsu as the museum’s architectural partner for the AK360 project. In the summer of 2016, Dr. Sirén launched the AK360 Capital Campaign. The campaign was energized by an anchor challenge gift of $42.5 million, the largest in the museum’s history. In just eleven short weeks, Sirén had raised more than $100 million, rallying the unprecedented support of individual donors, corporations, and foundations from across the region. A design for an enhanced, expanded Albright-Knox will be announced in the spring of 2017.