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LIC SculptureCenter to Get Outdoor Exhibit Space in Makeover

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | July 30, 2012 11:01am

LONG ISLAND CITY — The historic building that houses the Long Island City SculptureCenter, one of the leading cultural institutions in the burgeoning neighborhood, will soon be undergoing an overhaul.

The two-story center at 44-19 Purves St. will get a new lobby space, an outdoor exhibition courtyard and an elevator to lower level galleries, the center representatives said. It will also expand its bookshop.

“Most likely we’ll be breaking ground in the first half of 2013,” said Frederick Janka, associate director at SculptureCenter, which is among a host of cultural institutions in the nabe including MoMA PS1, Socrates Sculpture Park and The Noguchi Museum.

A New York-based architect, Andrew Berman, is designing the new project, which after completion will “enhance the visitors experience,” Janka said.

One of the biggest changes will be the creation of an outdoor exhibition center.

“By creating the courtyard it’s going to really feel like an outside gallery,” Janka noted.

The historic facade of the center, which shows exhibits by both emerging and established artists, will also be restored “to make a stronger street presence,” Janka said.

According to Janka, the building was originally built for the subway system as a repair shop in the second half of the 19th century. Later, it became a hoist and crane shop.

It’s not certain when the renovation of the center will be completed.

SculptureCenter, founded by artists in 1928, was first located in the East Village, and later moved to the Upper East Side.

It’s been in the current location since 2002 and underwent an extensive overhaul when it first moved in.