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Astoria's Museum of the Moving Image Gets New Outdoor Space

 The new courtyard and garden will have an outdoor café for open-air film screenings and exhibits.
Museum of the Moving Image Opens New Courtyard
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ASTORIA — The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens opened its new outdoor courtyard on Tuesday, the final step in the museum's massive renovation and expansion project that started in 2008.

The new 10,370-square-foot landscaped courtyard and garden will be used as a outdoor cafe and will host open-air film screenings, exhibits and special events, according to a press release. The space, which is only open to museum visitors, will also serve as a dedicated entrance for visiting school groups and will have a bus drop-off area.

"The Museum of the Moving Image courtyard completion marks another wonderful moment in the history of this innovative institution," Kate Levin, commissioner for the city's Department of Cultural Affairs, said in a statement.

"This latest space will attract even more visitors to experience all that this dynamic museum has to offer."

The courtyard, which was dedicated Tuesday, was named after museum trustee George S. Kaufman, a philanthropist and real estate developer who owns the nearby Kaufman Astoria Studios.

Both the Museum of the Moving Image and Kaufman Astoria Studios are part of a growing cultural area along Astoria's 35th Avenue.

Neighboring arts organizations include the Queens Council on the Arts, the Astoria Performing Arts Center and the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts high school.

"My vision for the neighborhood was to create a vibrant, full-service production center and have the studio become the catalyst for neighborhood growth," Kaufman said at Tuesday's ribbon-cutting, according to a press release.

"Today, that vision has become a reality."

The George S. Kaufman Courtyard was paid for by donations, including $1 million from Kaufman, along with funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

The courtyard, at 36-01 35th Ave., will open to guests on June 22 from 1 to 6 p.m. as part  of the Queens Council on the Arts' "Queens Art Express" Block Party. Admission to the museum will be free during those hours.