Tag Archives: QMA

Queens Museum of Art to change name, expand

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of Grimshaw and the Queens Museum of Art

The Queens Museum of Art (QMA) is getting a major makeover. This fall, the international art space will double in size and shorten its name.

“This is a time of tremendous change for the Queens Museum,” said executive director Tom Finkelpearl.

Come October, the institution will total 105,000-square-feet. It will have new galleries, artist studios, flexible public and special event spaces, classrooms, a new café, back-of-house facilities and improved visitor amenities. Instead of QMA, it will be known simply as the Queens Museum.

Additionally, the west façade facing Grand Central Parkway has been completely redesigned with a new entrance and drop-off plaza, as well as a tremendous glass wall easily visible from the roadway. This entrance also features a multicolored lighting system and will present commissioned art projects.

The $68 million project also includes another new entrance and expanded outdoor space on the side of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which will include a skylight atrium.

“All of this will allow people to still be in the museum, while outside in the park,” said David Strauss, director of external affairs.

Finkelpearl noted that despite the significant changes coming to the museum, what will remain constant is their dedication to “openness and engagement.”

“We designed a dynamic space that reflects our overall philosophy and allows us to broaden our current slate of public programs, introduce innovative initiatives, and create wonderful opportunities for new participants and longtime visitors to enjoy our unique brand of museum experience,” he said.

At a legislative breakfast on Friday, March 22, members of the museum hosted dozens of elected officials and community leaders from around the borough, hoping to galvanize their participation and support for the new project. The expansion thus far is supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Borough President Helen Marshall’s office, the state, City Council and donations from private individuals and corporations.

“It’s up to the business community to step up and help support these institutions,” said Strauss. “[We want them to] understand that a true public-private partnership makes progress like ours possible and successful.”

Congressmember Joseph Crowley recalled growing up in the borough, always enjoying the surrounding park and all that it has to offer.

“This museum is a jewel of many jewels here,” he said.

City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, longtime supporter of the museum, acknowledged the institution’s attempts to think outside the box, bringing new and innovative programs with its expansion.

“You can’t have community without culture,” she said, getting teary-eyed. “We’ve been able to strike up new walls, and put in embracing walls [for all of Queens].”

Following the completion of Phase 1, work for Phase 2 will begin, projected to be done within 12 to 18 months.

“The Metropolitan Museum of Art better watch out,” said Marshall.



Go underwater this Halloween at the Queens Museum of Art

| MKirk@queenscourier.com


The Queens Museum of Art (QMA) will be celebrating its third annual Halloween event by going under the sea as a part of its “Boo! An Underwater Halloween Spooktacular,” scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 20 at 2 p.m.

In the spirit of its current exhibition, Caribbean: Crossroads of the World, QMA enlisted the talents of artist and puppeteer Jenny Romaine to transform the second floor of the museum into a Halloween-themed marine world for the entire family.

“She’s going to create a magical underwater experience,” said Debra Wimpfheimer, director of Strategic Partnerships at QMA.

Wimpfheimer went on to explain that Romaine will use cloth she’s made with her performance collective, Great Small Works, to create the effect of water. This sea of fabrics will be teeming with life, and accompanying Romaine will be a group of what she calls “animators” who will be controlling puppets, some of them as large as 12 feet tall.

Guests will be invited to dive into an array of activities inspired by QMA’s Caribbean: Crossroads of the World exhibit. Because the exhibit features many masks and sculptures, kids will have the opportunity to make their own sea monster masks and candy sculptures inspired by works in the show. They can even get a head start on the mask-making by printing out the materials from the Caribbean: Crossroads of the World event page at QMA’s website. Other activities include a Starfish Tarot Card reading, Shipwreck Treasure Hunt, Phosphorescent Photo Booth and Underwater Costume Parade, among others. The event will be catered by Dee’s Brick Oven Pizza.

Wimpfheimer said the Halloween Spooktacular has drawn approximately 200 attendees in the past and QMA is expecting a similar turnout for this year.

Tickets are $75 for up to six family members including two adults plus three raffle tickets and $35 for one adult and one child plus one raffle ticket. Both packages also include a one-year family membership to QMA. Raffle prizes include a $50 gift certificate to AMC Theaters, a Young Chef’s Academy Chef’s Club membership plus three 90-minute cooking classes (for children 4 to 18) and one free week at QMA’s Big Time Summer Art Thing for Kids day camp, among others. To purchase tickets and for more information, call 718-592-9700, Ext. 141 or visit www.queensmuseum.org.

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