Brooklyn Boro

Governors Island welcomes 4 new tenants

Billion Oyster Project, Shandaken Projects, the Institute for Public Architecture, and Beam Center to join community of year-round tenants

February 4, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
Governors Island. Photo by Trey Pentecost
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Four new tenants, including the Billion Oyster Project, will be taking space in three buildings in the historic and picturesque Nolan Park area of Governors Island on a year-round basis, according to the Trust for Governors Island. 

The Nolan Park area, characterized by charming yellow-colored homes that once housed military families, now houses arts and cultural workspaces, offices and shops on a seasonal basis. The area is a well-known attraction for tourists visiting the island during the warm-weather months.  

“Over time, the Trust envisions expanding this successful seasonal model and shifting Nolan Park towards a year-round, multi-tenant campus for cultural research, presentation and public engagement,” the Trust for Governors Island said in a statement.

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The Billion Oyster Project (BOP), whose mission is to restore New York Harbor’s oyster population and biodiversity, is an existing tenant on the island and a close partner of the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, the first year-round tenant on the island. The BOP is slated to utilize one of two suites in 20 Nolan Park as a mix of offices, meeting rooms, a public exhibition space, a classroom, public programming and workshop space. 

The site will be BOP’s primary location and headquarters and will serve as an expansion of their work on Governors Island over the past 10 years. The organization is also active in other parts of Brooklyn — last year, it opened “Oyster Research Stations” at Domino Park, lowering 1,000 juvenile oysters onto the reefs. In the past, the group also has hosted a “Billion Oyster Party” in Red Hook, with more than 40 oyster farmers shucking and serving their delicacies.

The other three tenants taking up new space at Nolan Park are:

  •  Beam Center, a non-profit organization that empowers youth through ambitious, collaborative project-making in school partnerships, overnight summer experiences and employment programs. Beam Center will build a maker space and workshop in Building 107 where students, teachers and visitors to Governors Island will engage in daily hands-on projects in traditional and advanced tools, technologies and crafts. 
  •  The Institute for Public Architecture (IPA), which uses design to challenge social and physical inequities in our cities. In Building 9, the IPA will offer overnight short-term accommodations and studio workspace for architects, planners, scholars and design students, including an eight-week summer fellowship program with stipend and a five- to 10-month independent study program.
  •  Shandaken Projects, an arts organization that has hosted an artists’ residency program on Governors Island since 2018 and at Storm King Arts Center since 2015. It will use its space in Building 9 to operate a printmaking workspace in collaboration with the Hunter College MFA program that will be open to other Governors Island-based arts and cultural organizations. 

Clare Newman, president and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island, said,  “Already home to a successful hub of artistic and cultural activity during the summer months, the addition of Beam Center, Billion Oyster Project, IPA and Shandaken Projects to the Island’s growing community of year-round tenants represent an exciting milestone for our vision to anchor arts and culture in the Island’s continued growth and restore our treasured historic buildings.”

“Billion Oyster Project has been working with The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School and other tenants on Governors Island for almost a decade. We are thrilled to join this fantastic group to continue building a vibrant and restorative community on the Island in the center of New York Harbor,” said Pete Malinowski, executive director of Billion Oyster Project.


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