The Trust for Governors Island's Art CommisionsGI Program

Governors Island Corporation, d.b.a. The Trust for Governors Island (The Trust)

Funding Received: 2013
New York, NY
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
January 21, 2014

Two new chairs waiting for visitors in front of Mark Handforth’s  “Yankee Hanger” in Governors Island’s new park; courtesy Tim Schenck Photography

As busy as the Island can be during the summer, the winter is another matter. During the winter, Governors Island is closed to the general public. Year-round tenants, like the Harbor School and LMCC Artists’ Studios, still come every day, as do the Island’s caretakers and planners at The Trust for Governors Island and the National Parks Service. And of course so do the many trades working to upgrade our infrastructure and build out the The Hills, which the next phase of the Park and Public Space Master Plan. While this “downtime” is good for the new plants and trees, we really look forward to welcoming more people to the Island in each spring. We are especially eager to see how visitors will relate to Susan Philipsz and Mark Handforth’s new work throughout the landscape.

Recent Wins
The Trust recently announced that Governors Island will be open to the public seven days a week from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September. Since 2006, the Island has worked to increase public access, and this dramatic increase is a major milestone. Full-week access means more opportunities for more New Yorkers to experience the Island’s new parks and public art.

Recent press in the The Downtown Express was very positive about the expansion of public access this summer to seven days a week. Popular local blog Brooklyn Based named Governors Island as one of the new places that Brooklyn will be “buzzing” about in 2014. And the Buffalo, New York concrete fabricator who produced the three miles of pre-cast in the new park was proudly featured in a lengthy article in Architect’s Newspaper’s Fabrikator column.

How do other people—their very presence and then their behavior—change the meaning and experience of art? Last month, we contemplated the challenge of creating site-specific art in a context that doesn’t yet exist. Now that we are done with at least the first phase, we find ourselves thinking about the next step of bringing people to the finished site to experience that art in place. Right now, “Saffron Star” sits on a patch of grass between the South Battery and the Buttermilk Channel, and the rare passer-bye sees it as a sentry or guard. But in the summer, we can see it transforming into a welcoming beacon as thousands of visitors on ferries pass close by on their way to the Island’s Yankee Pier.