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Old Jamaica Ice House Transforms Into Cool Studio Space

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | October 4, 2013 6:58am
 A new art space recently opened on Jamaica Avenue.
Old Jamaica Ice House Transforms Into Film Studio
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QUEENS — It's gone from ice house to art house.

An old ice factory in Jamaica is hoping to heat up the local arts scene — transforming into a film production studio and work space for artists.

The NY Ice House Studio, on Jamaica Avenue and 183rd Street, has already attracted big names, including abstract painter Dorothea Rockburne, who worked there earlier this year, the owner said. Episodes of “The Good Wife,” on CBS, have also been shot there.

The 26,000-square-foot space was used to make ice for decades. When Leonid Turchinsky, 60, a musician-turned-businessman, bought the building in the 1980s, he used it to make furniture.

But Turchinsky, a cellist and bass player, who once performed at the Odessa Opera House and at the Long Island Philharmonic, said he had always hoped to return to his artistic roots.

“I wanted to bring art to this area,” he said. “And I realized this space would be great for art studios.”

He decided to turn the space, which has 50-foot high ceilings, into a movie production studio, the only one of its kind in the area.

“It can be used for rehearsals, dance, opera, concerts or as a work space for artists,” he said. “I want it to be an art incubator.”

Earlier this year, Dorothea Rockburne worked there for five months on her 16x41-foot canvas “Folded Sky, Homage to Colin Powell,” which will be installed at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston this year. The painting was done to honor Powell, whose family came from Jamaica, and depicts the sky at the time of Powell’s birth.

Turchinsky said his goal is also to keep his prices affordable to help small movie companies which don’t have many resources.

Recently, he said, scenes for "Fidelio," a movie about Stanley Kubrick, which was also partially filmed in Forest Hills, were shot there, he said.

The space, which is a New York State Qualified Production Facility, which makes it easier for movie companies to obtain film production credit, includes three stages, two soundproof rooms and a 24 feet high cyclorama, Turchinsky said.