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Flushing Town Hall deal ties to boro

"What we're looking to do is to help the Smithsonian expand its reach into Queens by really bringing their extraordinary resources and treasures to our community," said Siefter, who joined Town Hall five months ago. "We will also be developing exhibits that may be shown in the Smithsonian in Washington."

Flushing Town Hall, at 137-35 Northern Blvd., formally became an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute in late January, Siefter said, making it the first Queens partner of the national gallery.

Joanne Flores, of the Smithsonian, said there are six other affiliates in New York state and 140 others in 39 states across the country.

What stood out about the Flushing Town Hall, she said, was "their commitment to serving their community and serving the artist and their multidisciplinary approach to the arts."

Flushing Town Hall hosts exhibitions and live performances. It will be the first Smithsonian affiliate to combine both forms of the arts, Siefter said.

"We are the only (affiliate) that is a center for both the visual and performing arts," Siefter said. "That's been a focus my first few months here, to develop an artistic agenda so that what we do in the theater speaks to what we do in the galleries."

For its first official exhibit as an affiliate, the Town Hall will host a show titled "Red, Hot and Blue" in May, celebrating 100 years of the American musical.

The exhibit will include a gala concert featuring Broadway stars, an ongoing cabaret, a film series of movie musicals and a tap festival on July 4.

This will not be the first time the Smithsonian has collaborated with Town Hall in hosting a show. Twice before he started, Siefter said the institute assisted his organization in assembling an exhibition.

"It was very clear that when I came to Town Hall ... that a partnership with the Smithsonian would just be ideal," he said.

Becoming an affiliate means Town Hall can borrow artifacts, share expertise as well as partner with the institute to develop exhibits that may be shown nationally.

"It's one of the world's foremost centers for arts, artifacts and information relating to art history," Siefter said. "We're thrilled to have the capacity to borrow from those collections. It gives us access to Smithsonian expertise on so many levels."

Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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