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Queens Chronicle

New Honors For QMA As Expansion Plans Unfold

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Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2008 12:00 am

The Queens Museum of Art, still awaiting its makeover that begins in the spring, has been named cultural organization of the month for March by NYC & Company.

NYC & Company is the official marketing and tourism agency for the city of New York. “Step into the museum and you can be transported to the far corners of the world or to the corners of all five boroughs. From Tiffany glass to the magnificent model of every block and building throughout the city, the Queens Museum of Art will captivate the imagination of every visitor,” said Barbara Lorber, executive vice president of the NYC group.

During March, visitors will receive free admission for two and a 10 percent discount in the Museum Shop when they mention cultural organization of the month at the QMA.

The museum features contemporary art and is home to the Panorama of the City of New York, a remnant of the 1964-65 World’s Fair, that is the largest architectural scale model in the world. It shows each of the city’s 89,000 structures.

NYC & Company also points to the facility itself, which started out as the New York City Building for the 1939 World’s Fair and later became the first home of the United Nations, where the General Assembly voted to make Israel a country.

Museum spokesman David Strauss said the facility plans to honor that memory and other historical moments that took place in the building later this year. “We will commemorate each one either through plaques or art installations,” he said.

Tom Finkelpearl, executive director of the QMA, was thrilled with the honor from the city. “The Queens Museum of Art is steeped in the vivacity and diversity that make our borough and all of New York City unique,” he said. “Our events and exhibition programming thrive in this atmosphere.”

The museum has been waiting for years to expand, but its plans had to be put on hold until the adjacent ice skating rink moved to its new facility on the other side of the park.

Building of the ice rink-swimming pool was halted for over a year due to lack of funds, but was recently completed. The pool will open on Friday.

The old facility, known as the World’s Fair Ice Rink, will finish its season in April and reopen next fall in the new facility.

After the ice rink closes this spring, construction is expected to begin on the $37 million museum expansion. The reconfigured museum will have 105,000 square feet of space with new galleries, performance spaces, educational studios, a cafe, a dramatic winter garden and storage areas.

The building’s exterior will be significantly changed too, including a new entrance on the Grand Central Parkway side of the building. The new design features a glass wall with the name of the museum etched in different languages. More glass will be utilized on the Unisphere side of the building. Three middle bays will be opened, making it more accessible to the public.

The project is expected to take two years. During construction, most parts of the museum will remain open, except at the end when it will have to be closed for final work and installation of the art.

March events at the QMA include a Persian Arts Festival on March 15 from 5-9 p.m. The current exhibit titled “New York States of Mind” will be on display through March 23.

For information, call (718) 592-9700.

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