Heckscher Museum Closer To $10M Expansion
The Heckscher Museum of Art, one of two Huntington arts organizations awarded state grants last week, has announced plans to put finishing touches on plans for an expansion.
The New York Regional Development Council’s Empire State Development agency awarded the Heckscher Museum of Art $800,000 toward a $10-million capital project, allowing the museum to expand and add two wings to the existing structure by 2020.
According to Nina Muller, director of external affairs, the museum has raised roughly $4 million so far and is looking to fundraise an addition $5 million to allow for the 35,000 square-foot expansion.
Specifically, the 4,000 square-foot North Wing expansion will house several exhibition galleries, including a learning center with classrooms, a technology hub, and an exhibition gallery for the display of children’s art. The South Wing expansion will offer 1,600 square feet of “flexible” auditorium space to host lectures, concerts and performances, workshops, and other educational and civic programs.
“It’s so important for us [to receive this grant] because we are very limited with space in the museum and it’s been very challenging for us to have classes while visitors are present in the museum,” Muller said, adding the museum currently only has 3,800 square feet of exhibition space.
Plans for the grand opening, Muller said, have been in the works since the 1970s and all of the necessary site plan approvals have already been “secured” from the appropriate town departments.
The original expansion plan, designed in 1975 by architect Michael Breuer, was stalled by financial issues. It was overhauled and the current expansion concept, designed by Centerbrook Architects, will stay true to the 1920s beaux-arts style architecture of the 9,800 square-foot building.
The other organization to receive a grant was the Huntington Arts Council, which received $74,000 toward funding for SparkBoom, an artistic initiative geared toward young adults of the “Gen Y” generation ages 18-34. The funding will help take SparkBoom into its second year of programming and community outreach, and programs will run from April through September.
“Our first year was very successful and we look forward to growing the program to some other regions both locally and throughout Long Island,” Executive Director Diana Cherryholmes said.
The event-driven organization has partnered with various community hubs in its first year and is geared toward helping young aspiring artists “get noticed” and “get hired” so that they continue their work both locally and elsewhere.