Long Island City Art Studios 5

June 01, 2007

Last fall, with the Hewitt Building about to be demolished so the college could begin construction of its new academic building, Cooper Union art students needed a new place to work. After an exhaustive search for a facility with the space and light that Cooper Union required, the college found a large commercial space with room for 80 studios and a classroom in Long Island City.

The raw space was transformed to accommodate the School of Art’s academic needs, with studios created for advanced student work. The studios have an interesting configuration, based on a proposal developed by Saskia Bos, dean of the School of Art, with the faculty. “It is amazing how well the space turned out, especially for drawing and painting. We have a beautiful album with photographs of the open house,” Bos says. The space had to be flexible for a number of reasons, including presentation needs and to avoid a grid of cubicles. It was also important to allow natural light to flow through, not only for the production but also for the experience of the work.

A public presentation during an open house in May demonstrated the success the students were having in their new studios. “The temporary space has proven to be a wonderful opportunity for advanced students to work more independently and create an environment that closely reflects their needs in the future as practicing studio artists,” says Professor Day Gleeson. The classroom that was created for critique and presentation can alternate between a white cube and a black box. There’s enough space for 15–18 students to critique work together. The facility includes a small computer room, a video tower with projector and a small shop with tools to construct frames.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.