! Alert

Governors Island is open for passive recreation. Ferry ticket reservations and face coverings are required. Read our COVID-19 Response.

Governors Island is open for passive recreation. Ferry ticket reservations and face coverings are required. Read our COVID-19 Response.

Indoor Public Programs

Please note that due to the effects of COVID-19, Governors Island’s public season opening has been delayed and access to the Island is limited to essential staff only. We are not currently issuing 2020 permits at this time. See more information on our COVID-19 response here

Governors Island offers a unique opportunity for organizations to reach new audiences in an unforgettable setting. The Trust for Governors Island provides space to arts, cultural and educational organizations for hosting independent exhibitions, performances, installations, screenings, workshops and more. While proposals of all kinds are welcome, the Trust is particularly committed to hosting indoor programs and projects that engage meaningfully with the Island’s unique conditions.

Sample Programs that would require an Indoor Permit:
  • Arts and cultural programming, such as installations, exhibitions, screenings and performances
  • Educational programming, including talks, workshops and other activities that are open to the public

Available Spaces

To propose a public program on Governors Island, please click the button below. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at programming@govisland.org.

As part of the proposal process, you will be asked to upload a brief Statement of Intent describing your program in greater detail and its connection to Governors Island. The questions are provided below for reference:

  1. Please describe your program, project or event in detail.
  2. Why Governors Island? What relationship does your program have to the Island and its ongoing programming in the areas of arts and culture, environmental education and outdoor recreation? How would you propose working in/responding to a historic house as an exhibition/programming space?
  3. Do you plan to collaborate with any of the other organizations or programs already on the Island?
  4. Who is the intended audience, and how do you plan to market your program? Please note any past projects that give context to what you want to do on Governors Island and describe your experience organizing, producing and promoting similar programs.
  5. Please include any relevant images, drawings, sketches, site plans or diagrams that further describe your program.
  6. Please provide background on your organization, staffing and capacity to operate your program on Governors Island.

  • Fit or alignment with the Trust for Governors Island’s vision to infuse the Island with dynamic arts and cultural programming, as well as educational opportunities in the arts, sciences and the environment
  • Engagement with the Island as a site, including its history, environment, architecture and relationship to the rest of New York City
  • Applicant’s track-record of producing and organizing other exceptional programs or events
  • Emphasis on public participation across diverse audiences
  • Production plan and feasibility of the program based on the Island’s operational capacities and infrastructure

    Indoor programs hosted on Governors Island are contained within the Island’s historic houses in Nolan Park and Colonels Row. Originally built to house military officers and their families during the Island’s history as a base for the U.S. Army, and later, the Coast Guard, these homes dating from the late nineteenth century provide multiple rooms of various sizes, often across two floors, that can be used for installations, exhibitions, artist studios, intimate performance venues or spaces for small workshops and educational programs. Most of the houses are two-family structures with separate entrances that can accommodate two different organizations working alongside one another.

    During the Island’s core public programming hours of 11 AM-5 PM on weekends, organizations working in the houses are required to present continuous, free public programming on the first floor with a staff person present at all times. The second floor (where applicable) may be used as additional public programming space and/or studio, research and work space that is not always open to the public.

    The Nolan Park and Colonels Row houses are historic in character with many original details. They have working (but limited) electricity, however there is currently no running water or working restrooms. Restroom trailers and drinking fountains are located within a 5 minute walk from the houses. Presenting programs in these grand, formerly domestic spaces requires embracing an untraditional exhibition environment.

    • Before submitting your proposal, please review the Island’s rules and regulations.
    • Programming organizations will be required to secure and provide proof of insurance coverage that meets the Trust’s minimum requirements, including commercial general liability insurance and other relevant coverage.
    • Only vehicles that are carrying supplies and materials for load-in and load-out will be allowed to drive onto the Island before 10 AM. Vehicles for personal use are not allowed at any time. Registering vehicles for ferry access requires at least 48 hours’ notice. The full Island vehicle policy will be provided as part of your permit agreement.
    • Please note that we ask all indoor programs to be open and staffed at least from 11 AM-5 PM on both Saturday and Sunday, though public hours on weekdays are welcome and encouraged whenever the Island is open to the public.
    • The Trust does not charge site fees for organizations hosting indoor programs that are free and open to the public. However, please note that a security deposit, fully reimbursable after the program ends, will be required. Security deposits are to cover any accidental damage to the Island’s historic buildings or natural turf lawns. Special events during the run of the program may require additional services. In these cases, the organization producing the program will be responsible for these costs.
    • An accepted proposal does not guarantee that you will be able to hold a program or event on Governors Island. Programs are not confirmed until a signed agreement has been received and approved by both parties.

      Apply For Permit

      If you are not yet a registered user, you will be prompted to sign up before you can fill out the application.

      Register & Apply For Permit Login To Your Account


      Have more questions before applying? Read through these FAQs, or check out our Rules and Regulations.

      Proposals for 2020 indoor programs must be received by November 29, 2019 and will be responded to by the end of 2019. Proposals received after that date will be reviewed on a rolling basis if space allows. Please allow up to three weeks for a response.

      If you need to get in touch with us, you can reach out to the Programming team at programming@govisland.org.

      For accepted indoor program proposals, the Trust will find an appropriate site based on the proposed program and production setup. All indoor exhibition sites through this process will be located within the historic former homes in Nolan Park and Colonels Row.

      Organizations hosting indoor programs that are free and open to the public are eligible to have site fees waived. A security deposit, fully reimbursable after the program ends, will be required for any accidental damage to the Island’s historic buildings or surrounding landscapes. 

      Special events during the run of the program may require additional services. In these cases, the organization producing the program will be responsible for these costs.

      The Trust welcomes inquiries from individual artists interested in showing work on Governors Island. However, only artists working directly with presenting organizations can apply through this proposal process (if you are an artist partnering with an organization to produce a project, the organization should apply on behalf of the team). For information regarding our commissions program, please contact commissions@govisland.org.

      Governors Island has tents of varying sizes available for programs to rent for a fee at the responsibility of the organizer, and more information on tent specifications can be provided upon request. Governors Island does not own or rent stages, generators or A/V equipment.

      Governors Island has free, public Wi-Fi in many outdoor areas on the Island. Programming organizations may be able to purchase dedicated Wi-Fi service with additional bandwidth from the Island’s wireless provider, or may install wireless hotspots.

      The Trust discourages the sale of commercial products within indoor programming spaces. The sale of educational materials, such as books or printed materials related to the proposed program, may be permitted upon approval by the Trust. Please note that food or beverage sales are not allowed in the historic houses.

      Sales of any type should be noted in your proposal to the Trust. If you’re interested in selling art at your program or event, please get in touch with us directly at programming@govisland.org.

      Non-profit organizations are allowed to solicit donations, but only in the designated space reserved for your program. Funds must go back into supporting the program.

      Program organizers are responsible for securing a permit from the New York State Liquor Authority to serve alcohol for any planned special events during the run of the program. The Trust must receive a copy of the liquor permit and approve all logistical plans for the area where alcohol will be served.

      Please note that visitors are not permitted to bring their own alcohol to Governors Island and that alcohol is only permitted in areas designated by the Trust and only served to those over 21 years of age. 

      Programs in the historic houses in Nolan Park and Colonels Row are required to be open to the public with free programming on weekends from 11 AM-5 PM. Additional public hours on weekdays are strongly encouraged. Organizations are required to have a staff person on site whenever the program is open to the public.