Arts Center to open on Governors Island

Interior of upcoming Governors Island Arts Center – Photo by Zachary Tyler Newton

BY GABE HERMAN | The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council announced that it is launching an arts center on Governors Island, which will open in September 2019.

The Arts Center at Governors Island will be the first permanent arts space on Governors Island. It will be in a building dating back to the 1870s that was originally an ordnance warehouse and later used for military office space.

The 40,000-square-foot building will include artist studios, galleries, performance and rehearsal spaces, and a cafe.

The Arts Center at Governors Island will be located in this former 1870s ordnance warehouse. (Courtesy LMCC)

The renovation is being led by LMCC and the Trust for Governors Island. All events and programming will be free and open to the public.

“We are thrilled to create a space on Governors Island that fosters curiosity and engagement with artists’ research, development and presentation,” said Lili Chopra, LMCC’s executive director of artist programs. “As artists seek serene spaces to work and share practices with audiences, LMCC’s Arts Center meets this need in a compelling way. The newly renovated Arts Center is designed for larger exhibitions and more public programs, enabling greater depth and insight into the artistic and creative process.”

The Arts Center will include artist residency programs, with the first season focusing on themes of ecology, sustainability and resilience.

The interior of the new Arts Center, which is 40,000 square feet. (Courtesy LMCC)

One exhibition will be “Michael Wang: Extinct in New York,” which will explore plant species that are no longer in New York City due to climate change and urbanization.

Moroccan artist Yto Barrada will examine environmental threats to Tangier Island, Virginia, as well as Governors Island’s military past and the colonial history of Tangier, Morocco. His work will look at “the various ways humans have dealt with the threat of an impending end of the world,” according to an LMCC description.

“We are unlocking the potential of Governors Island by investing in arts, culture and education,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “The public programing and free workspaces at LMCC’s Arts Center will provide an affordable place for artists to work while continuing to grow Governors Island as a creative hub for New Yorkers from across the five boroughs.”

More information on the Art Center’s inaugural season of programming will be announced in June.

Governors Island’s public season runs from May 1 through Oct. 31. This year’s inaugural season of the Arts Center will be from September through the end of October. In 2020, the Arts Center will be open for the full season from May through October.