New York – The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and Louis Armstrong House Museum (LAHM) today announced that the City has allocated $1.9 million in new capital funding for LAHM to support the renovation of Selma’s House, an integral part of the expanding Louis Armstrong cultural center campus in Corona. This brings total City investment in the renovation of Selma’s House to $3.53 million. Now fully funded, the project will enable the restoration and renovation of the historic house of long-time neighbor and close friend of Louis and Lucille Armstrong—Selma Heraldo--located next to the Louis Armstrong House, a National and NYC Landmark.
Ms. Heraldo left the home, where she was born and lived in for her entire life, to the Queens College Special Projects Fund for use as a part of the expanding complex focused on the musical and humanitarian contributions of the legendary Louis Armstrong. The funding was allocated by Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council member Francisco Moya.
“Louis Armstrong was one of the greatest artists in any medium of his era, and one of the greatest musicians of all time. During the many years he made his home in Corona, Queens, Louis and his wife Lucille Armstrong’s open and inviting community spirit was known throughout the neighborhood,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “With this funding for the renovation of ‘Selma’s House,’ the City is helping to build a new cultural campus in the heart of Queens. On behalf of the de Blasio Administration, I look forward to supporting this terrific organization as it grows and keeps Armstrong’s legacy of creativity and community alive and well.”
“Louis Armstrong once said, ‘We’ll be around when the others will be forgotten’ and thanks to New York City, Pop’s beloved neighborhood in Corona will be a vibrant community center that will continue to attract visitors from all over the world to be delighted and inspired by his musical genius and humanitarian legacy,” said B.J. Adler, Interim Director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum. “The expanding Armstrong campus in Corona that inspired What a Wonderful World will remain the warm and welcoming community center it has been since the historic house museum opened in the Fall of 2003, as well as one of the brightest stars in the constellation of African American Heritage sites in the world.”
The renovation of Selma’s House will maintain the historic character of the property and will add office and storage space to the campus, include a professional catering kitchen for events and earned revenue, and add space to the existing Louis Armstrong garden, a summer concert venue. The renovated home will also add to the interpretive story of the Armstrong legacy by providing a historically accurate vision of what the Armstrong home might have looked like when it was purchased in 1943 by Lucille Armstrong, but before the extensive renovations that were undertaken by Mrs. Armstrong in later years to the historic Armstrong home, now a historic house museum.
The Louis Armstrong House Museum Education Center, also supported by City and State Capital Funding, is currently under construction across the street from the Museum and Selma’s House. The LEED certified Gold Building Education Center, a major component of the LAHM campus expansion, will include:
- a new state-of-the-art home for the Louis Armstrong Research Collections (currently
housed on the campus of Queens College);
- a 68-seat Jazz Room (featuring the City-funded baby grand piano) for live music
performances, lectures and film screenings, community education programs and meetings;
- an exhibition space for permanent and rotating exhibitions curated from the Research
- the Museum Welcome Center;
- the Louis Armstrong Gift Shop; and
- storage space in the lower level.
Together, these new facilities provide an opportunity to unite the historic houses with the research collections in a dynamic educational and cultural campus. Expanded house tours to introduce more visitors and schoolchildren to Armstrong’s inspiring life, jazz concerts in the garden, lectures and programs in the Education Center, expanded education programs for school children, archives stored in state-of-the-art conditions and available digitally, and year-round concert schedule will be part of the expanded programming made possible by the expansion of the Armstrong Corona campus.
About NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is dedicated to supporting and strengthening New York City’s vibrant cultural life. DCLA works to promote and advocate for quality arts programming and to articulate the contribution made by the cultural community to the City’s vitality. The Department represents and serves nonprofit cultural organizations involved in the visual, literary, and performing arts; public-oriented science and humanities institutions including zoos, botanical gardens, and historic and preservation societies; and creative artists at all skill levels who live and work within the City’s five boroughs. DCLA also provides donated materials for arts programs offered by the public schools and cultural and social service groups, and commissions permanent works of public art at City-funded construction projects throughout the five boroughs. For more information visit http://www.nyc.gov/culture.
About Louis Armstrong House Museum
The Louis Armstrong House Museum sustains and promotes the cultural, historical and humanitarian legacy of Louis Armstrong by preserving and interpreting Armstrong’s home, collecting and sharing archival materials that document Armstrong’s life and legacy, and presenting public programs, which educate and inspire community members, musicians, devoted fans, curious visitors, and future generations. What was once Louis and Lucille’s private home is now a National Historic and New York City Landmark. With the construction of a new Education Center and the renovation of Armstrong lifelong friend Selma Heraldo’s home, the Corona Armstrong campus is becoming an international African-American heritage destination offering year-round exhibits, concerts, lectures, an array of education programs, and film screenings. LAHM also administers the world’s largest publicly held archives devoted to a jazz musician. The Museum is a cultural center of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College. For more information visit www.louisarmstronghouse.org.