Letter: Magazzino Status

While we appreciated the article by Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong (Magazzino, or Museo?, March 9), the statement we provided was not printed in its entirety. Our statement reads as follows:

We appreciate the support of the local community for Magazzino and welcome the initiative by the Philipstown Board Committee to amend the zoning. This would allow Magazzino Italian Art to obtain an assembly status and to admit visitors without a prior reservation.

Because our statement was not fully reported, we would like to clarify. We never implied that Magazzino is a “museum,” nor that we would like to obtain museum status. We have always clearly stated that Magazzino is an “art warehouse space” where individuals may visit and the admission is free.

In fact, we cannot legally be identified as a museum because we are not a nonprofit. Rather, we are a private initiative that seeks ways to give back to the community, both culturally and financially. Thus, we have elected to pay all the taxes required by federal, state and local laws, rather than have the option to avoid these taxes by becoming a nonprofit museum.

Magazzino Italian Art (Photo by Marco Anelli)

We welcome the town initiative to amend the zoning, which will allow Magazzino to have assembly status under the New York State Building Code.

In addition, we look forward to this amendment that will allow Magazzino to be an “assembly space” and as a result be able to admit visitors without a reservation. However, this amendment should allow Magazzino to remain a private initiative and not be required to become a museum.

We would like to make it perfectly clear to the Town Board and to the community that we have never been underhanded in any way and that we have never and still do not wish to become a museum.

We thank you, The Current, the Town Board, the Village of Cold Spring and all the residents for all their support and enthusiasm regarding Magazzino.

Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu, Garrison

Editor’s note: Thank you for this clarification. We omitted the term “assembly status” because we did not have time before deadline to research its meaning and provide context. Being open to the public at large (i.e., more than 50 people at a time) — known generally as having an “assembly occupancy” — has certain legal requirements, such as signs that point to exits and give occupancy limits. Magazzino would likely be rezoned by Philipstown as a “cultural facility,” a classification that includes museums. The Route 9 building is assessed at $970,000 on the 2017 rolls, meaning Olspan LLC pays about $35,000 in annual property taxes to the Haldane school district, town and county.

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