Long Island City Partnership wants everyone to experience all the splendor Queens has to offer – including the beauty available in the borough’s museums.
The partnership organized a conference on October 19 at the Museum of the Moving Image, during which representatives from prominent Queens art institutions discussed the role of museums and galleries in the borough and the issues they are currently facing.
The panel of experts consisted of Peter Katz, chief operating officer of the Museum of Modern Art P.S. 1, Amy Hau, administrative director of the Noguchi Museum and the chair of LIC Cultural Alliance, Carl Goodman, the executive director of the Museum of the Moving Image, and Tom Finkelperl, the executive director of Queens Museum.
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who is the chair of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee, also spoke at the conference.
Among the topics discussed were the benefits of cooperation among the museums, the importance of social networking and ways to keep tourists’ attention in Queens rather than Manhattan.
“We have to do a better job at the airports and on the 7 train making sure that people know where our cultural institutions, galleries and artists are, and directing them here,” said Van Bramer. “We don’t want people staying in LIC just to go into Manhattan.”
Recent exhibits were delved into as well, such as a new LIC exhibit at the Noguchi Museum and a unique 9/11 exhibit at MoMA.
The experts also conversed about the issue of transportation to and between their institutions and the successes of recent and planned restorations.
“The main thing we are doing is the expansion, and we are going to have a fantastic, glittering new facility in a couple of years,” said Finkelperl. “[Everybody] drives by the Queens Museum on the Grand Central many times during the week, and no one notices we are there, because we are hidden behind trees and it is a very old building. That is 250,000 people a day passing the museum that need to see it. We will have a glittering new façade with a terrific lighting system, so even if you don’t get off the expressway, you will see it and it will be in your subconscious.” As an indication of the vast potential in LIC, Van Bramer also highlighted the drastic improvements the arts have already made in the neighborhood.
“You don’t have to look any further than [LIC] to recognize the power of culture and the arts in driving a neighborhood to a place that it hadn’t been before,” said the councilmember, who admits he barely recognizes the neighborhood he grew up in. “Kaufman and [the Museum of the Moving Image] spurred a renaissance here that continues to this day.”