News
Artists

With public programming derailed, Governors Island buildings will be opened to New York artists

Groups invite cultural practitioners to apply for residencies stretching over the next three months

The LMCC Arts Center at Governors Island Timothy Schenck

With indoor programming on Governors Island derailed by the coronavirus, its governing trust and a group of New York cultural institutions announced today that they are offering free residencies to around 115 artists and other cultural workers in the unused spaces they oversee there.

The Trust for Governors Island, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) and 18 cultural groups said the indoor spaces, normally used for events like exhibitions, an art fair and other public programming, would be repurposed as studios or other places for individuals’ creativity from August through October. All participating organisations will manage their own selection processes and oversee their own residency programs in the spaces, including the LMCC, which will launch an open call application process on Thursday through LMCC.net. The trust will also guide applicants at its website.

The program is open to artists, writers and other cultural practitioners living and working across New York’s five boroughs. The groups say they are seeking out a diverse array of individuals who address important issues, including public health, gender discrimination, immigration, racial equity, climate change and environmental justice.

Those chosen to participate will work in the LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island and more than 20 historic houses in the island’s Nolan Park and Colonels Row districts that are overseen by nonprofits. All have gone unused since the pandemic took hold.

The organisations note that many artists and other creative practitioners in New York have been grappling with a decline in income or with unemployment related to economic paralysis resulting from the pandemic. Many are unable to get access to or afford a dedicated space in which to work or rehearse.

“Right now, creative solutions are needed to help the artistic community get back to work after months of disruption and shutdown,” Clare Newman, president and chief executive of the Trust for Governors Island, said in a statement. “By partnering with the island’s vibrant community of cultural organisations and LMCC, we can make better use of available space on the island, while helping to support the artists that have played such an important role in shaping our history, values and identity.”

In addition to the trust and LMCC, the participating organisations include 4heads, American Indian Community House, ArtCrawl Harlem, the Beam Center, BronxArtSpace, the Climate Museum, Endangered Language Alliance, Harvestworks, the NARS Foundation, the New Art Dealers Alliance, the NY Virtual Volcano Observatory, NYC Audubon, the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Shandaken Projects, Swale, the Triangle Arts Association, the West Harlem Art Fund and Works on Water.

Once the artists are in place, the organisations will unite to share resources and organise virtual gatherings, the trust and the arts groups say.