Artists and audiences alike will soon have more space at the SculptureCenter in Long Island City.
On Tuesday, April 2, Sascha Bauer, chair of the center’s board of trustees; Mary Ceruti, executive director and chief curator; Borough President Helen Marshall, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and Kate Levin, commissioner for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, broke ground on the expansion that will include a 2,000-square-foot addition to the structure that has been standing since 1908.
(THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano)
“We’re really proud to be a part of this really great community in Long Island City and I think this expansion furthers our commitment to the neighborhood,” said Ceruti. “We’re really here for the long haul.”
The front half of the outdoor lot, which the center already uses for outdoor exhibitions, will become a one-story building that will house an entrance lobby providing guests with ticketing, orientation and different visitor services such as restrooms, a seating area and coatroom.
“It will allow us to better serve our audiences and improve the visitors’ flow,” said Ceruti. “It will create a more visible street presence for us.”
Along with the lobby, the finished facility will include an elevator and stairway to the lower level galleries, a 1,500-square-foot enclosed courtyard to be used for outdoor exhibitions and events, some upgrades to electrical and mechanical systems and improvements in office and storage space.
“When the work is completed, the new space will provide the SculptureCenter the opportunity to expand their audience and serve more artists,” said Marshall.
The expansion project was designed by Andrew Berman Architect who has designed projects for The New York Public Library and MoMA PS1. The addition will maintain the steel and brick structure of the present building, yet will create a street presence “through the introduction of a limited vocabulary of new materials including plywood and Corten steel.”
The project is expected to be completed by fall of 2014 with exhibitions still remaining open throughout the construction period, with some changes in the schedule.
In addition, the “Building SculptureCenter Campaign” will provide $4.5 million in building funds and $1.5 million in working capital and term endowment to “position the organization to play a defining role in the neighborhood and contemporary art field far into the 21st century.”
The SculptureCenter moved to the former trolley repair shop in 2002 and has since then presented works by over 700 artists.