Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Arts Center

DATE: 2010
LOCATION: Governors Island, New York City, New York, USA
OLD USE: Munition storage; Military offices
NEW USE: Art studio


History

The U.S. Army originally constructed Building 110 on Governors Island in 1870 to hold munitions at this strategic location off the southern end of Manhattan Island. During it’s time as an Army facility, Building 110 was eventually converted to house Army offices. The consolidation of the U.S. Military in 1966 saw the transfer of the base and Building 110 to the U.S. Coast Guard, who continued to use the building for office space. The base was shut down in 1995 and with it Building 110 was vacated.[1]

(Re)Developer

The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC) was created in 2003 when the United States sold Governors Island and its structures to the people of New York.[2] GIPEC is responsible for the planning, redevelopment, and operations of Governors Island which includes establishing the island as a location with great public open space, educational opportunities, and not-for-profit and commercial facilities.[3]

Founded in 1973, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) is the nonprofit dedicated to presenting, advocating, and providing for artists and the arts throughout Manhattan.[4]

Outcome

As part of its mission to open Governors Island to the public, GIPEC has partnered LMCC to convert Building 110 into an arts center. Opened in March 2010, 14,000 square feet of the building has been repurposed into large, divided studio spaces. LMCC manages the arts program which provides four-month residencies in the space. Artists take the morning ferry from Manhattan to Governors Island and take the last ferry (5pm) back home to the city. Building 110 is situated at the docks making it easily accessible to the artists as well as the visiting general public.

The arts center provides space to artists who have struggled to find adequate and cheap locations. The artists find Building 110 and its location perfect as they are able to get away from the busy city to concentrate on their work. The general public can observe their artwork as well as view them as they work during three weekends over the course of the summer. The adaptation of the building has also fostered a community for the artists who work the same “shifts” and share the large but partitioned space.[5] The building will continue to evolve as new groups of artists cycle through with changing residencies, adding a new outlook and sense of opportunity to Building 110.

[1]Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation
[2]Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation
[3]Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation
[4]Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC)
[5]The New York Times

Images courtesy of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.