Queens Council on the Arts Readies for Move to Astoria

By Jeanmarie Evelly on January 3, 2013 1:04pm 

ASTORIA — The area will be getting a new artsy neighbor in the coming months: the Queens Council on the Arts is moving from its longtime Woodhaven headquarters to a newly renovated space on 35th Avenue.

Renovations at the new location have been under way since last spring, and the nonprofit group is hoping the site will be ready to open some time in February, said managing director Lynn Lobell.

The space, at 37-11 35th Avenue, is part of the Kaufman Astoria Studios complex and will have direct street access through an entrance on 37th Street.

"We're going to have the storefront space that we always wanted," said Lobell, adding that the group had been searching for a new site for the last decade. "We're transforming it in to a space that artists can call their home."

Lobell said the council has long wanted to move to a more convenient and easily accessible location. Its current offices are in a 2-story old golf house owned by the city's Parks Department at One Forest Park in Woodhaven.

"It’s a 15- to 20-minute walk from the J train," she said. "We always had issues with people getting here."

The Astoria site is close to the M and R trains at Steinway Street or the N and Q via the 36 Avenue stop. The location is also double the size of its current headquarters, Lobell said, allowing them ample room to host art workshops, meetings and other community events.

The Queens Council on the Arts was formed in 1966 as an umbrella organization to support and fund the borough's many arts and music groups. It hosts cultural events, provides art education and professional development services as well as grants for individual local artists.

Lobell said the group will host an open house and art activities when it opens the Astoria site.

"We're looking forward to meeting new people," she said.

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