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LIC art studio fluxed out of space

The Flux Factory, located at 38-38 43rd St., is in the process of looking for new space to house work by several dozen local artists as the MTA plans to take over the building in February for the $13 billion East Side Access project. The new link will connect the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal and bring an estimated 160,000 LIRR riders per day to the East Side of Manhattan upon completion in 2013. The factory will continue to pay rent on a month-to-month basis but will probably be forced to leave the premises in early summer, said Morgan Meis, co-founder and president of Flux Factory."This will be a loss for people around here," he said. "I don't want to presume we are the most important thing to the arts scene in the area, but I know some people who bought apartments nearby because we were a neighborhood resource."The factory began in 1994 as a collective living space at an old spice factory in Williamsburg before moving to its current Long Island City locale in 2002. The site acts as a laboratory space where artists can collaborate with one another and display their work. The building has a darkroom, computer center, performance space, musical recording space and publishing equipment as well as hosting a weekly Thursday night dinner where artists can present finished pieces and works in progress.An MTA spokesman said the agency is still negotiating compensation for acquiring Flux's property and that no time line is in place for completely taking over the building. The agency has put the factory into contact with real estate agents who will assist in finding a new location, he said.But Meis said he has been disappointed with the MTA's dealings with the factory."I'm not impressed with the MTA in terms of their communication," he said. "There were lots of ways they could have made it easier for us by sitting down with us and letting us know what the timing will be like and being engaged with us about what we need moving forward. But they have acted indifferently about the impact of this on us. Just getting information out of them is a huge process. You have to squeeze it out of them."The MTA spokesman said the agency held a public hearing in February 2007 to speak with businesses or residents who would be affected by East Side Access. But Meis said he was concerned that the factory might have difficulty retaining its current users if it is forced to move."We signed a 10-year-lease with a five-year option to have stability in this location," he said. "It took a while for people to find out where we were."He said the factory would display its projects at various borough locations during the next few years if it cannot immediately find a new space.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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