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A permanent home in Long Island City for the Chocolate Factory Theater

Tess Dworman in Sam Kim’s work “Fear in Porcelain” at the Chocolate Factory Theater.

A new home for a cultural staple

The popular experimental performing arts space known as The Chocolate Factory Theater is putting down roots in Long Island City permanently. The company purchased, without debt, a home in the area. They got some financial help from the NYC government. They could afford a facility located at 38-29 24th Street that spans 7,500 square feet. The place cost $3.8 million and is close by to other cultural landmarks. For example, the Museum of Moving Image and the MoMa PS1. Furthermore, the new place is near to the current location of the theater.

The artistic director of the organization, Brian Rogers, declared the financial assistance came from the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Cultural Affairs through several allocations. Strong players in this operation were the City Council’s majority leader Jimmy Van Bramer, the Queens borough president Melinda Katz and Helen M. Marshall, a former president of the borough who sadly passed away last March.

Brian Rogers, along with Sheila Lewandowsky (the organization’s executive director) released a statement. There, they highlighter how important the community surrounding the theater is for its existence. Artists, audiences, neighbors, elected officials, friends and small-business owners were all instrumental into making the Chocolate Factory what it is today. Furthermore, they both greatly appreciate the opportunity to create a permanent home. Particularly, in such a challenging city and in the neighborhood they love and are used to. In addition, they are very grateful to be able to support the work of artists for years to come. It is a dream come true for both Rogers and Lewandowsky.

Caring for the arts

The search for a new and permanent home began more than five years ago. They decided to move after a study came to the conclusion that the theater would close once the lease expired in 2019. Up until this lease expires and the theater moves to its new home, performances will continue to be staged in the current location. This is at 5-49 49th Avenue. This will continue through the 2017 and the 2018 seasons. Along with the Chocolate Factory, other art organization based in Long Island City is Silvercup Studios.

For Ms. Katz, it is fundamental to protect cultural institutions in order to make the arts more accessible for all New Yorkers. This new facility is just one in a list of many new growths experienced by the borough and its inhabitants. [The New York Times]