Whitney Museum Gives Its Pop-Up Studio to Socrates Sculpture Park

The Whitney's educational studio space, designed by LOT-EK. Courtesy of LOT-EK.

New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art is donating its freestanding educational studio to the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens.

The 472-square-foot studio was created from six stacked shipping containers by architectural firm LOT-EK, and hosts classes, studio demonstrations, and art-making workshops for a wide swath of New York City’s population including students, seniors, families, and the disabled. It has been housed in the museum’s sunken sculpture court for the past two years, and will be lifted out by crane next month.

“Rarely does a win-win situation arise that offers such a remarkable opportunity to re-purpose architecture,” said John Hatfield, the park’s executive director, in a press release. “We look forward to working with our partners at NYC Parks to explore ways that it may be reused and adapted to benefit the community here in Long Island City.”

Until definitive plans for its reuse are developed, the park will keep the structure in a temporary storage facility. It will be Socrates’ first indoor space, and will build upon the institution’s tradition of running a free arts education program. The studio may also be utilized as a gallery, visitor area, or administrative space.

Ada Tolla, LOT-EK’s founder and principle architect, expressed in a press release her happiness with the studio’s “second life,” saying that the firm is “very excited to work with Socrates to determine how this flexible space could best work for them.”

In a statement, Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s director, called the gift “a wonderful example of creative and multi-layered recycling. LOT-EK’s project began with discarded materials and is now being re-purposed for use at a once abandoned landfill that has itself been recycled into a leading NYC cultural destination.”

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