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Trust for Governors Island Seeks Proposals for Year-Round Arts, Educational and Cultural Tenants


March 11, 2020. New York, NY. The Trust for Governors Island today issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) designed to strengthen Governors Island’s arts and culture offerings and transform the Island into a year-round cultural destination. The RFP invites artistic, cultural, environmental and educational organizations to submit proposals for use of two buildings in Nolan Park, a collection of 20 former military officer homes on a long-term basis. The RFP is part of the Trust’s broader efforts to breathe new life into several buildings within the Island’s Historic District with year-round tenants in the areas of arts and culture, commercial activity, and hospitality and amenities to support both expanded access and increasing visitorship.

“Arts and education have been central to Governors Island’s remarkable transformation over the past decade, and its history, architecture and ecology make it an inspiring place for learning and creativity,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “We’re thrilled to grow our community of year-round tenants by offering long-term spaces to arts and educational organizations in Nolan Park, an incredibly unique campus setting for both creating and experiencing cultural programming”

The buildings offered through the RFP are located within Nolan Park, a collection of 20 19th century homes five minutes from daily ferry service from Lower Manhattan and part of the Governors Island Historic District. 20 Nolan, a 1902 construction originally built as a single-family home, will be gut-renovated by the Trust and converted into two pre-built suites, each approximately 2,600 SF and will be move-in ready by 2022. Each suite will be offered to cultural organizations with ground-floor space for exhibitions and public programs, with additional upstairs space for offices, artist studios and classroom space. 9 Nolan, a 8,500 SF building built in1839 building that has been used as residences, a hospital and the headquarters for the Military Division of the Atlantic, is available for immediate occupancy and offered as-is. The building contains 13 dormitory-style studios with communal kitchens and facilities which can be converted into studio spaces for an artist residency program, or offices for cultural organizations. This RFP is the first offering of these unique spaces for year-round, long-term cultural use. Two additional RFPs for buildings within the Historic District will be released in the coming months.

Over time, the Trust intends to transform Nolan Park into a multi-tenant cultural campus. This RFP seeks to provide long-term homes for organizations in the arts and culture space, giving Governor Island a year-round presence in the field, as well as environmental organizations looking to take advantage of the Island’s New York Harbor location. The Trust will undertake necessary restoration of the buildings in order to make the RFP accessible to a broad range of organizations.

Responses to the RFP are due May 29, 2020. To view the RFP, click here.

Over the past decade, Governors Island has grown as a lively center for arts, culture, environmental research and recreation. Nolan Park has played a key role in this transformation as a seasonal hub for free cultural programming during the Island’s public season. In 2019, 30 organizations spanning the visual arts, performance, culture, environmental science and education presented exhibits, workshops, performances and talks, and hosted artists-in-residence in the historic houses of Nolan Park and Colonels Row. The Trust intends expand this successful seasonal programming model into year-round tenancies for cultural organizations across NYC and beyond.

Governors Island has undergone a tremendous transformation in recent years, including a $400 million investment in Island-wide infrastructure and the creation of a resilient 43-acre park. Successful respondents to this RFP will join the diverse roster of Governors Island tenants, including the Urban Assembly NY Harbor School, a public high school with over 500 students that offers career and technical education in marine and environmental careers; the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Arts Center, an artist residence program that functions as a public gallery space during the season and completed a 40,000 square foot renovation last September; and QC Terme, a destination day spa that is currently under construction.

In 2020, Governors Island will be open every day from May 1 through October 31. The Island is open from 10 AM to 6 PM on weekdays and from 10 AM to 7 PM on weekends, Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day.

About The Trust for Governors Island
The Trust for Governors Island is the nonprofit corporation created by the City of New York that is responsible for the redevelopment and operation of 150 acres of Governors Island. The Trust’s mission is to transform Governors Island into a vibrant resource for New York City, making this island at the center of New York Harbor a destination with extraordinary public open space, as well as educational, not-for-profit and commercial facilities.