Queens Museum’s Spooktacular raises money for educational programs

Artist/educator Gregory Corbino helped transform the Queens Museum for Spooktacular, with the theme Boneyard Boogie.
Artist/educator Gregory Corbino helped transform the Queens Museum for Spooktacular, with the theme Boneyard Boogie. Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz-Gordon

The winter winds are whipping and the temperatures are bone-chilling.

But it will feel like Halloween this Saturday at the Queens Museum’s annual Spooktacular event, a fundraiser for its education programs.

This year’s theme, Boneyard Boogie, has transformed the museum’s second floor into a Day-Glo wonder of pink skulls, glitter-smothered backdrops and lively skeletal animals.

It’s all family-friendly and the handiwork of artist/educator Gregory Corbino.

“We make this spooky but not scary,” said Corbino. “I work with elementary school kids, so I have a pretty good sense of what they are excited about.”

That means a life-size tick-tac-toe board where kids can move large colorful skulls across the board and a tower game with pieces shaped like vertebrae.

Visitors can participate in scavenger hunts, make some of their own art, get their faces painted and enjoy live music.

“We found it was a really great idea to do it in January when people and families are looking to do something in the cold winter months,” said Sydney Gilbert, the museum’s development manager.

The first Spooktacular was held in 2010 and has followed every year since with themes that include the enchanted forest, a circus, Boo! York City and Monster Metropolis.

Gilbert said the money raised helps keep the museum’s free education programs running, including the open family workshops, public school tours and art sessions for both children and adults on the autism spectrum.

She estimates about 35,000 school children tour the museum each year and about 6,500 people participate in the family workshops.

“Education is integral, it’s at the center of everything we do,” she said.

Gilbert credited Corbino for his imaginative work which has “elevated” the scenery and atmosphere.

Each year, the staff brainstorms on a theme. After the holiday season, Corbino heads over to Materials for the Arts, a Queens warehouse filled with donated surplus supplies.

He picks up fabric, foam core, plywood, paint, glitter and other tools of the trade for free. This year, he only had to spend $200 on additional materials.

“I built a giant platform heel,” Corbino said. “It’s 7-feet tall with a 12-foot rainbow coming out of it. The most fun for me is the challenge of filling these galleries.”

If you go: The Queens Museum’s Spooktacular is Jan. 26 from 2-4 p.m., Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, queensmuseum.org, $25

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