DCLA officials joined Queens elected and cultural leaders Aug. 21 at the Queens Museum, which received the $8.5 million for the creation of a 15,000 square foot children’s museum focused on arts and culture, a major component of the museum’s ambitious expansion project, which is now fully funded.
“Queens is one of the most diverse communities in the world, and the amazing cultural institutions that call this borough home reflect the energy and vibrancy of its residents and neighborhoods,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “This major investment in the Queens Museum will create a family-centered, arts-focused children’s museum within their facility, a major new amenity for this remarkable community hub that residents already look to for social and cultural engagement.”
The expansion project is funded with $4 million from Mayor Eric Adams, $3 million from Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and $1.5 million from the City Council, which brings the total city investment in this phase of the Museum’s expansion project to nearly $40 million.
“In these challenging times, our public officials — including Mayor Adams, Commissioner Cumbo, Speaker Adams, Borough President Richards — have made culture a priority and I celebrate the incredible investment they have made this year in the cultural infrastructure of New York and of Queens,” Queens Museum President and Executive Director Sally Tallant said. “This year Queens Museum has been awarded a total of $8.5 million to conclude a project that will provide dignified offices for our staff, a World’s Fair Archive and Study Center and the borough’s first children’s museum focused on arts and culture. This project will bring many exciting opportunities for the Queens Museum, our visitors and the many families that utilize Flushing Meadows Corona Park.”
The children’s museum includes areas for classrooms and workshops, an art storage vault, offices, exhibition prep spaces and a World’s Fair archive and study center.
“The new children’s museum will be a place where our families can go to grow, learn, bond and connect,” Richards said. “It will be a place that celebrates our diversity and gets kids excited about our different cultures and fosters all forms of expression, and I can’t wait to bring my son there. I’m proud to have contributed millions of dollars in capital funding toward this project, and I look forward to continuing to work with the city to ensure our cultural institutions across Queens are fully funded and supported.”
The project will also include a new public elevator large enough for families with strollers, full renovation of the Museum’s auditorium, and upgrades to the building’s mechanical systems.
“Our arts and cultural institutions are integral to a healthy society and economy and they deserve our full support,” Speaker Adrienne Adams said. “In this year’s budget, the Council was proud to allocate millions of dollars in funding to arts and cultural institutions in Queens and across the city.”
The Queens Museum’s new children’s museum space is a direct beneficiary of this funding and a prime example of what’s possible when we invest in the arts. Our arts and cultural institutions are what makes our city great, and the Council is committed to supporting them now and in the years to come.”
As part of an ongoing five-borough tour, DCLA also highlighted new capital investments for cultural groups across Queens, including the Poppenhusen Institute, Chocolate Factory Theater, Flushing Town Hall, Museum of the Moving Image, New York Hall of Science, Queens Botanical Garden, Queens Theatre, UnionDocs, and Edge School of the Arts Dance Legacy.
“I was once a dancer attending Edge School of the Arts and a Girl Scout that slept at the New York Hall of Science, now I am Co-Chair of the Queens Delegation,” Councilwoman Nantasha Williams said. “It is great to see how investments in our cultural institutions were a priority for all my colleagues in the delegation. This improvement to the Queens Museum and to the Edge School of the Arts Dance Legacy in my district are down payments in the lives of the next generation. I am living proof that these programs have resounding impacts on the future of our youth and overall community,”
Queens Theatre executive director Taryn Sacramone said the investment would further her institution’s mission.
“The capital funds we received will support a transformational renovation of our largest performance space – the Claire Shulman Theater,” she said. “We are proud for the opportunity to prioritize accessibility, flexibility and endurability in the process, so that we can better serve audiences and artists. Our building was initially constructed as the Theaterama for the 1964-1965 World’s Fair. As we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Fair this year, we’ll be focused on the future.”
In the Fiscal Year 2024 budget adopted this year, the City contributed over $222 million to nearly 80 cultural capital projects across the five boroughs, including $117 million from the Mayor, $79.3 million from the City Council, and $26.5 million from the five borough presidents.
“By investing in art and culture, we’re investing in our communities,” Mayor Adams said in a statement. “And with this additional funding of $8.5 million, we’re ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to enriching experiences at state-of-the-art facilities that celebrate the incredible diversity of our city. Queens Museum’s new children’s space will help our youngest residents tap into their creativity and connect with the vibrant cultures around them. We’re proud to continue our support of cultural capital projects throughout Queens and the five boroughs.”