Governors’ Island Public Art Commissioning ProgramNew York, NY
The Trust for Governors Island’s Art Program commissions site-specific installations that respond to Governors Island’s unique location and history, new landscapes and democratic culture. Since 2006, The Trust Island has led with the arts to create vibrancy and activity, with an open invitation for cultural programming. The Art Program represents the first time ever that The Trust is commissioning artists and siting long term and permanent artworks on the Island. These commissions set the stage for the Island’s next chapter as a year round creative place, enabled by a $260 million public investment in new infrastructure and public space to support expanded activity and tenancy. The Program is a multi-faceted collaboration between The Trust, landscape architect Adriaan Geuze of West 8, Consulting Curator Tom Eccles, noted artists and ultimately the public.
On June 9th, The Trust for Governors Island imploded a derelict building on the non-historic southern end of the Island. Not only was it a symbol of the tremendous change on the Island since 2006 and the power of creative placemaking, it was also INCREDIBLY COOL to watch. We made sure the public, and the communities of artists who support Governors Island, could participate in this historical moment with us by identifying locations around the Harbor to watch in person, and livestreaming the event on the internet.
The day of the implosion was also the second day of FIGMENT on Governors Island, a free, annual celebration of participatory art and culture. For one weekend each summer, FIGMENT transforms Governors Island into a large-scale collaborative artwork where lines between artist, art and observer are intentionally and delightfully blurred. The producers and artists involved in FIGMENT, took a moment out of their busy preparations to host an implosion-watching breakfast party to celebrate the change they have been a part of since launching the festival in 2007.
Finally, this past weekend brought the 1920’s roaring back to Governors Island with the Jazz Age Lawn Party [link: http://www.dreamlandorchestra.com/calendar.php]. Visitors dressed to the nines and danced their hearts out to big band jazz, transforming an otherwise sleepy grove among empty historic houses, into a Gatsby-esque celebration of beauty, music and movement.
What role does creative destruction play in placemaking? How do we decide what to keep and what to discard? How do we retain the memories of place as physical changes take hold?