Irish Arts Center Gets $11M Grant for New Hell's Kitchen Facility

By Serena Solomon on August 6, 2011 9:19am 

Keltic Dreams perform at Irish Arts Center 10th Annual Dance Festival at Riverside Park South.
Keltic Dreams perform at Irish Arts Center 10th Annual Dance Festival at Riverside Park South.
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Darial Sneed

MIDTOWN — The City Council is giving the Irish Arts Center an $11 million grant to build a new facility, and the organization is now on the hunt for a location in Hell's Kitchen.

With the grant, which Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced last Thursday, the center is hoping to move from 533 W. 51st St., near 11th Avenue, to another spot within Hell’s Kitchen, according to the Irish Arts Center’s spokeswoman Rachel W. Gilkey.

“We are gratified by the city’s support of our capital plan, which will ensure our growth and sustainability and allow us to continue to bring the best of Irish arts and culture to New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds in the years ahead,” said Aidan Connolly, the center's executive director.

The Irish have long played a significant role in the city's history and the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 5.3 percent of New Yorkers have an Irish heritage, according to a 2007-2009 survey.

The new facility will have a gallery and a performance and studio space where adults and children can take music, dance and language classes to learn more about Irish heritage.

“The Center has done an amazing job of educating the public on the ever-evolving construction of Irish-American identity," said Quinn, who is of Irish descent.

"With this new facility, we will be able to ensure the continued preservation of Irish arts, culture, and history for future generations.” 

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