New arts center on Governors Island offers more exhibits and public performances near Manhattan

Exhibit attendees pass by one of the Michael Wang’s piece, Extinct in New York, at the LMCC’s Art Center at Governors Island preview show. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech).

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s (LMCC) Arts Center at Governors Island is now open to the public. 

The nonprofit, along with the Trust for Governors Island, spent $12 million to renovate the island’s 1870s munitions warehouse to create dedicated space for exhibitions, public performances along with visual and performing art spaces. About $8 million of those funds came from city funding, according to a statement from LMCC. 

“We invite the public into LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island to reflect on the world we inhabit. How we can better care for ourselves, those around us and the planet as a whole?” said Lili Chopra, executive director of artistic programs at LMCC. 

The 40,000 square foot center features an upper and lower gallery along with open plan studios which will showcase work with focuses on ecology, sustainability and resilience related to Governors Island and the city. 

The Upper Gallery of the Arts Center currently features the work of Yto Barrada and guest artist Bettina. ( Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech).

The Center’s inaugural exhibits are a piece about individual and collective reactions to disaster called The Power of Two Suns by Yto Barrada and guest artist Bettina in the Arts Center’s Upper Gallery. In the Lower Gallery, artist Michael Wang exhibits Extinct in New York,  a collection of greenhouses filled with plants that no longer grow in the city due to urbanization. 

The Arts Center also has 17 artists in residents, who began their year-long stays the Arts Center’s official opening, Sept. 19. The first cohort consists of Yto Barrada, Colleen Billing, Baris Gokturk, Maya Jeffereis, Amy Koshbin, Hilary Lorenz, Brendan Kiely, Jillian MacDonald, Ander Mikalson, Lize Mogel, Aviva Rahmani, Leah Raintree, Aida Šehović, Aaron Suggs, Asiya Wadud, Michael Wang and Hypocrit Theater Company. 

Throughout Governors Island’s public season, May 1 through Oct. 1, the Arts Center will also host cultural programming. 

The galleries are open and free to the public from Thursday through Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. until Oct. 31.

Some New Yorkers were allowed to preview the Art Center’s current exhibits at a premiere party on Sept. 12. ( Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)


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