Tag Archives: Department of Cultural Affairs

Community expresses mixed feelings on city-commissioned sculpture in LIC


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But for one community in Long Island City, a bright pink statue that would stand more than 8 feet tall just might not fit their vision of beauty.

At the recent Community Board 2 meeting, the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs presented the newest project for the Percent for Art program that is being commissioned for Jackson Avenue and 43rd Avenue.

Since 1982, the city’s Percent for Art law has required that one percent of the budget for eligible city-funded construction projects be spent on public artwork.

For this commission, a panel convened by the agency selected Brooklyn-artist Ohad Meromi and at the Dec. 4 board meeting, the community got a preview of what is being proposed for the Long Island City site.

Meromi’s proposed sculpture is an 8.5-foot-tall, bright pink piece called “The Sunbather” which is shaped as a human figure. About $515,000 of city tax dollars will go toward the construction of the piece, made of bronze.

Although Meromi said he is “excited for the opportunity” to sculpt the piece, community board members and residents at the meeting brought up issues such as the community at large not having had the opportunity to give their input on the sculpture earlier and also the color just being a little too much.

“I personally do like the art,” said Moitri Chowdhury Savard, a community board member. “But I think the bright pink color and the size of it has been brought up by many residents of the community as too much for the area. I think it might be a little too much for a lot of the residents there.”

Resident Christian Amez, also a member of the organization Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, said he also wished the community could have been more well-represented earlier in the process. They also would have liked it if a local artist could have been chosen.

According to Sarah Reisman, director for Percent for Art, the agency presented a rough draft of a rendering to the community board’s land use committee first, and members of the board were invited.

Reisman also added that about 40 artists, including local Long Island City artists, were presented to a panel that later picked finalists. After finalists presented proposals, Meromi, who has presented pieces at the SculptureCenter and MoMA PS1, was chosen.

The sculpture’s size and color are still not finalized, but a permanent piece by Meromi is expected to be located at the site.

“I really thought the site could use color,” Meromi said about the color selection of the sculpture. “I think pink is bold and the site could use something bold.”

Now the agency will take the comments from residents and the community board comments and go back to the renderings of the sculpture. Then, the agency will present a conceptual design to the public design commission at City Hall.

“We want to know what you think, take it to consideration and take it to the design commission,” Reisman said. “We’re here to listen.”

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Queens Museum President Tom Finkelpearl named cultural affairs commissioner


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@BilldeBlasio

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio formally announced Queens Museum head Tom Finkelpearl as the next commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) Monday.

Finkelpearl, who has been the president of the Queens Museum for 12 years, recently oversaw its $68 million transformation and revitalization. He also simplified its name from the Queens Museum of Art.

“New York City is one of the most eclectic and culturally rich cities in the world, and that’s something that should be shared by all New Yorkers and tourists alike,” Finkelpearl said. “Our work is part of what distinguishes New York City as a cultural epicenter, and I look forward to working to fortify the already diverse offerings of the city’s arts and cultural life.”

Finkelpearl has more than 30 years of experience in museum management and arts education. Before heading the Queens Museum, Finkelpearl was deputy director of the contemporary art center PS1 and assisted with its merger with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2000, as it became MoMA PS1. Finkelpearl graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University and received his Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College.

Finkelpearl will be tasked with expanding access to culture and the arts in the city in his new position.

“With Tom at the helm of DCLA, I’m confident that New York City will not only continue to thrive as a global cultural hub, but also make the arts more accessible to New Yorkers in every neighborhood,” de Blasio said.

 

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Museum of the Moving Image completes expansion with Kaufman Courtyard dedication


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

The final piece of the Museum of the Moving Image’s expansion and renovation project is in place.

On June 18, local officials, museum representatives and members of the community gathered for a dedication ceremony for the museum’s recently completed outdoor courtyard. It will be named after museum trustee George Kaufman, who is also chair of Kaufman Astoria Studios and the Kaufman Organization, a real estate company.

“My vision for the neighborhood was to create a vibrant, full-service production center and have the studio become the catalyst for neighborhood growth,” said Kaufman. “Today, that vision has become a reality.

The 10,370-square-foot Kaufman Courtyard is the final part of the $2.5 million project designed by Leeser Architecture. The landscaped courtyard garden will include space for an outdoor cafe and offer open-air screenings, exhibitions and special events. The new area will also have a drop-off zone for school buses, a dedicated entrance for school groups and extra room for students to gather during their visits.

The Department of Cultural Affairs, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and the City of New York provided $1.25 million in funding, while Kaufman donated $1 million for the project. The remaining funds came from private contributions.

“From the beginning, I believed these enhancements would heighten the Museum of the Moving Image’s prominence as a world-renowned cultural institution,” said Van Bramer. “Not only will millions of visitors from around the world get to enjoy this newly designed open-air courtyard, but so will local residents who share this neighborhood with one of our city’s greatest cultural institutions.”


(Photo courtesy the Museum of the Moving Image)

 

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“Our Town” grant guidelines announced


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder has announced that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently released its “Our Town” grant guidelines and is now accepting applications for its creative neighborhood placemaking initiative.

The “Our Town” grant encourages community arts engagement and connects neighborhoods through local involvement in which communities working together assist in cultural planning, public space design and other creative activities.

“National Endowment for the Arts Grant Program provides the perfect opportunity for artists to connect with their local neighbors and enrich our community through their talents and creative imaginations,” said Goldfeder. “It is imperative that we continue to support our artists and organizations by providing funding to build the arts and develop creative and unique communities and projects.”

Presently, Our Town has provided $11.57 million to fund 131 projects throughout the country dispersed among each individual state. Last year, 41 of the 80 distributed grants supported projects in communities with populations under 50,000. Grant awards range from $25,000 to $200,000. This year’s application deadline is January 14, 2013 at 11:59 .pm.

In 2011, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs was awarded $200,000 from the Our Town grant to support Space for Art, a community arts engagement program that places artists in residence at senior centers across New York City. Space for Art was developed as part of Age-Friendly NYC, a citywide effort to make New York more livable for its rapidly growing senior population.

“It’s easy to make cuts to art programs and eliminate funding to local art organizations during these challenging economic times, but I commend the NEA for their continued commitment to these great grant programs,” said Goldfeder. “I urge all eligible applicants to take advantage of the National Endowment for the Arts Grant Program.”

For more information about this year’s Our Town application, guidelines are available at arts.gov/grants/apply/OurTown/index.html or contact Goldfeder’s Office at 718- 945-9550 or goldfederp@assembly.state.ny.us.