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Photo by Jenna Bagcal/QNS
41-23 Bell Blvd.

An empty storefront at 41-23 Bell Blvd. will soon transform into a “creator’s environment” for the people of Bayside.

That is the vision that BaysideLiveTV founder and resident Gregg Sullivan has for the Bayside Center for the Arts, who announced on Facebook that preparations for the nonprofit-run center were underway. The center is slated to combine “artistic creativity and community integration,” and has the approval of Community Board 11, Sullivan told QNS.

In the front of the roughly 3,000-square-foot building, will be a place for visual artists like painters and photographers to showcase their work in a gallery setting. In addition, the front would also serve as a meeting space where the public, including the community board and other local organizations, could convene.

He said that the second half would serve as an intimate, 70-seat performing arts center, where the center could put on plays, musical performances and seminars similar to the well-known TED Talks on YouTube. Sullivan added that the building’s second half could also be used for aspiring producers and YouTubers to create high-quality video content.

Sullivan said that the center would bring a huge boost to the economy and aid the falling retail market in the area that took a hit when MovieWorld in Douglaston closed in July. In addition, he said it would bring a renewed sense of pride to Bayside and help with the neighborhood’s branding.

He held a town hall meeting to gauge what residents wanted and needed in the neighborhood and recalled them asking to “make Bayside relevant again.” What he realized is that residents had been desperately craving a place for the community to gather that wasn’t just one of the myriad bars and eateries that line the boulevard.

Sullivan said that the Bayside Council for the Arts will be responsible for vetting and choosing the acts, performers and artists who will utilize the space. In two weeks, he confirmed that the center is hosting its first art show, with more details to come as the date of the show approaches.

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