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The Queens Museum Expands and Upgrades

On Tuesday, the Queens Museum of Art broke ground on an expansion project that will double its size. The $65 million expansion project comes from a combination of public and private funds, with $48 million coming from the city. The groundbreaking was festive, attended by Queens artists, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a host of cultural representatives from the borough.

To the tune of cumbia music, the crowd that gathered for the groundbreaking was overwhelmingly festive. Tom Finkelpearl, the museum's executive director is looking forward to continuing the museum's tradition of connecting with the community through art.

"Museums have to work really hard to open their doors, and we're doing it physically—in terms of visibility from the Grand Central [Parkway]—but also socially and psychologically," he said.

As far as offerings, Finkelpearl says that the museum has plans to do a project with the Andy Warhol Museum, but he emphasizes that he won't forget the neighborhood.

"We'll give Queens artists the same space that we'll give Andy Warhol," he said. "That's what's so exciting about this expansion."

The expansion is set to open in 2013.

Check out renderings of the expansion and photos from the groundbreaking below.

The sign at the entrance to the Queens Museum, paired with renderings of the expansion project.
The sign at the entrance to the Queens Museum, paired with renderings of the expansion project. ( Julia Furlan )
Museum director Tom Finkelpearl addresses students from P.S. 144 in Forest Hills, Queens. "It's one thing to build a building, but you have to make it worth it with the programs," he said.
Museum director Tom Finkelpearl addresses students from P.S. 144 in Forest Hills, Queens. "It's one thing to build a building, but you have to make it worth it with the programs," he said. ( Julia Furlan )
Students at P.S. 144 have an arts-integrated curriculum. "If we had 30 dollars for every time we came here in the last five  years," one student said, "we'd be millionaires."
Students at P.S. 144 have an arts-integrated curriculum. "If we had 30 dollars for every time we came here in the last five years," one student said, "we'd be millionaires." ( Julia Furlan )
Artists Shaun Leonardo and Judith Sloan. "I grew up in this neighborhood, so the Queens Museum was the first museum I ever visited," Leonardo said. "I have an emotional connection to this place."
Artists Shaun Leonardo and Judith Sloan. "I grew up in this neighborhood, so the Queens Museum was the first museum I ever visited," Leonardo said. "I have an emotional connection to this place." ( Julia Furlan )

Sean Hannon is working on the expansion: "You can see the steel starting to glint a little bit, a lot of demo is done, so it's a slow process." he said. "Now stuff is going to start showing up, so yeah, it's kind of exciting."

( Julia Furlan )
The building will have new classrooms, galleries and public meeting spaces along with an atrium.
The building will have new classrooms, galleries and public meeting spaces along with an atrium. ( Courtesy of the Queens Museum of Art )
The 50,000 square foot expansion is set to open in 2013.
The 50,000 square foot expansion is set to open in 2013. ( Julia Furlan )
A rendering of the expansion of the Queens Museum of Art. The building was originally built for the 1939 World's Fair.
A rendering of the expansion of the Queens Museum of Art. The building was originally built for the 1939 World's Fair. ( Courtesy of the Queens Museum of Art )
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