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Queens Council on the Arts Opens Location in Astoria's 'Cultural Campus'

ASTORIA — When it comes to having like-minded neighbors, the Queens Council on the Arts is now in good company.

The organization opened the doors of its new Astoria location on Monday, moving from its longtime Woodhaven headquarters to a storefront space at 37-11 35th Ave. in the heart of a blossoming arts corridor.

Museum of the Moving Image is just across the street, while Kaufman Astoria Studios, the Astoria Performing Arts Center and the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts are all nearby.

"Brooklyn might have BAM, but Queens has 35th Avenue in Astoria," City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said at a celebration of QCA's new space on Monday.

"It couldn't be more perfectly situated [than] in this cultural campus."

Executive director Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer said QCA — which supports local artists and arts groups with grants and professional development workshops — had been looking to move somewhere accessible and convenient for its many members, which are scattered all over Queens.

"We took a survey, and our artists told us they wanted something a block and a half, no more, from public transportation, in an area that was vibrant, with an arts scene that‘s growing — and that's Astoria," Krakauer said.

"When this space became available, we jumped."

The newly renovated office is a former garage owned by Kaufman Astoria Studios, and it has a street entrance on 37th Street.

"This is more accessible, so we can come here more often," said QCA member Nivedita ShivRaj, a musician and singer based in Flushing. She said QCA's old location at One Forest Park in Woodhaven was just too far for her to visit.

"We would always see if we could just talk to them over the phone or email them instead of having to go in person," she said.

In addition to giving out grants each year to support Queens artists and arts organizations, QCA runs a regular host of programs and workshops. Including seminars for artists on how to develop their professional websites or High School to Art School, which guides local teenagers through the process of applying to the country's top arts colleges.