Appelbaum and Orange Arrows and Coincidences

This picture is from the August 31st meeting hosted by EA consultant Danny Rosenthal and EA Chief Program Officer Lynn Appelbaum. See those big orange arrows we drew in? They are pointing to some painters tape that was on the wall of the painting studio when the meeting was held there. We recently discovered that the tape (which is still there by the way) is 9.5 feet from the floor. Coincidentally(?), 9.5 is the same height of the ceilings for the new art “studios” which will be housed on the “ground” floor of the building after the planned renovations are completed.

You can’t quite see the ceilings of the current painting studio in this picture, they’re too far up. But they are over 14 feet high. How do we know all this? We measured. We got tired of waiting for Lynn and Danny to keep their promise to provide us with the exact information they claimed they didn’t have at the August 31st meeting. Lynn assured students then that the new space dedicated to the art school would be almost as big as the current one. Students responded that referring to the overall space was too vague, without specific details it was like comparing apples to oranges. Lynn reiterated that the new space was almost as large as the current one and apologized for not bringing the specs or exact details with her. She promised that within two weeks she would send an email to students that would describe precisely how the new studios compared to the current ones in terms of square footage, ceiling height, and window size as well as provide information about the “modern fire codes” which she and Danny claimed precluded the possibility of EA continuing welding classes after the renovations. Two weeks and one day later students received an email from Lynn which did not live up to her promises: 

*Instead of providing a studio by studio comparison for square footage, Lynn repeated what she had said at the meeting — that the overall square footage currently dedicated to the Art School and its gallery is 4900 square feet and that the post-renovations square footage dedicated to the Art School and its gallery would be 4000 square feet.

*Instead of telling us what the current studio ceiling heights are, studio by studio, and how each new studio compared (as she had promised to do on August 31st), Lynn merely stated that the new studios would have ceiling heights of 9 1/2 feet. And, yes, we too find it suspicious that on August 31st neither she nor Danny knew that the painters tape on the wall was the height of the new ceilings.

*Instead of telling us how big the current windows in each studio are and how big (or small) the windows in the new studios will be, Lynn only referred to “new windows” in the new studios.

*Instead of providing any details about the fire codes which she had claimed made it impossible for EA to include a welding studio in the new art school space, Lynn simply offered another — equally vague – explanation for the elimination of the welding studio, that “…following consultation with building and insurance experts, we came to the conclusion that housing a welding studio in a community center that serves many different populations poses too great a safety risk.” As for the darkroom, she repeated her rationale from the August meeting — that because the darkroom needs to have a large sink and enlargers it, “unlike the other studios, cannot be used flexibly to accommodate multiple art disciplines” and therefore EA can’t find space for the (currently less than 400 square feet) it takes up.

Despite repeated requests for more information since that meeting and since Lynn’s self-imposed September 14th deadline, more than a month has passed without students getting the promised information. So oc2sas decided to try and find out on our own. Here’s what we came up with so far which is tough to do since, unlike Danny and Lynn, we don’t have any access to the architects’ plans or specs.

 Current Art School Space on 5th Floor of 197 E. Broadway* (Click room names for photos and more info) 

Studios and Other Rooms/Spaces

Dimensions Total Sq. Ft.

Ceiling Height

Painting Studio 35 x 28 980  ~14.75
Sculpture Studio 34 x 25.5 947  ~14
Ceramics Studio 31 x 20.5 635.5  ~14
Welding Studio 21 x 46 966  ~14
Darkroom 15.5 x 19.5 (302.25) + 5 x 12 (60) + 5 x 7 (35) 397.25 ~14
Library ~16.5 x 15 247.5 ~14 
Interior halls/locker areas/”lobby” 43 x 5 (215) + 56 x 6 (336) + 15 x 25 (375) 926 NA
Offices ~9 x 28 252  NA
TOTALS   5351.25  

*All measurements for current studios in feet and rounded/estimated downward if precise numbers not available. Additional square footage of 5th floor (bathrooms, closets, storage areas in some studios, director’s office space, office space east of library, and children’s classroom) not included in totals. First floor gallery spaces not included in totals.

 Placement/Size of Windows for Current Art School Space on 5th Floor of 197 E. Broadway*


Window Shape/Size # of

Distance to base of windows

Painting Studio Rectangular (34″w x 54″h) 4.5 34″ from floor
Painting Studio Half Moon (78″w  x 45″h at highest point) 2 37″ from ceiling
Sculpture Studio Rectangle (34″w x 54″h) 10.5 34″ from floor 
Sculpture Studio Half Moon (78″w  x 45″h at highest point)  5 37″ from ceiling 
Ceramics Studio Rectangle (34″w x 54″h) 34″ from floor
Ceramics Studio Half Moon (78″w  x 45″h at highest point)  2 37″ from ceiling 
TOTALS   30  

*No, we didn’t risk breaking our necks to figure this out. We measured the bricks (2.5 inches high) and then counted and multiplied (just like for square footage we measured floor tiles). So this is a guesstimate but we believe it’s a fairly accurate one.

Planned Post-Renovations Art School Space on “Ground” Floor of 197 E. Broadway


Dimensions Total Sq. Footage Ceiling Height

# Windows, Placement, Dimensions

Art Room #1 Awaiting info since Aug. 31* Awaiting info since Aug. 31* 9′ 5″ Awaiting info since Aug. 31*
Art Room #2 Awaiting info since Aug. 31* Awaiting info since Aug. 31* 9′ 5″ Awaiting info since Aug. 31*
Art Room #3 Awaiting info since Aug. 31* Awaiting info since Aug. 31* 9′ 5″ Awaiting info since Aug. 31*
Darkroom (eliminated) N/A N/A N/A N/A
Welding Studio (eliminated) N/A N/A N/A N/A
Library (unclear if eliminated) Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Offices Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Galleries Awaiting info since Aug. 31* Awaiting info since Aug. 31* Unknown N/A
TOTALS Awaiting info since Aug. 31* “4000” (as per Lynn Appelbaum on 9/15)   Awaiting info since Aug. 31*

*At the August 31st information meeting, Lynn Appelbaum promised she would email comparative information on square footage, ceiling height, and window size of both the current and future spaces to art students by September 14th. On September 16th she sent an email that specified the overall sizes of the current and “renovated” art school and the ceiling heights in the renovated space. Despite repeated requests she has yet to provide any of the other promised information.

So, clearly we don’t have the necessary tools to complete this chart — however Lynn and Danny and any other member of the EA Administration certainly does. Why won’t they give us this promised information? The only reason we can come up with is showing us the information will only lend credence to our accusations that they have been disingenuous about the planned renovations.  The current and planned spaces for the Art School are not almost the same, they are radically different. EA’s claim that the Art School has to move in order to make room for expanded programs for children and seniors and a new health and wellness center is nonsense.  The renovation plans call to convert most of the fifth floor to a euphemistically called “multipurpose” room. EA has admitted that this space will sometimes be rented out for weddings and other special events and that it will also hold Board of Trustee and other VIP functions. We understand the need to have a nice space for fundraising purposes, but EA can build a perfectly fine space for that on the ground floor without adversely affecting the Art School.

And that’s why oc2sas exists — we are working hard to persuade the Board of Directors that they need to reconsider their renovation plans, not just to preserve the Art School, but also to preserve the integrity and reputation of the larger institution. 

Here are two simple things you can do to help:
1) Sign the petition (see the tab above).
2) Call  EA President & CEO, Robin Bernstein (212-780-2300) and EA Board of Trustees President, Russell Makowsky (212-715-0300, x130).  Tell them that YOU care about the Art School remaining exactly how it is. Tell them they can build a “multipurpose” room on the ground floor without adversely impacting seniors, children, the gym, OR the Art School.


Posted on October 17, 2011, in How You Can Help, News, Questions and Answers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: