Out in the Open

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:16

LMCC Open Studios offers free public programming

Lower Manhattan From High Line Open Studios in Chelsea to Bushwick Open Studios in Brooklyn, it's not unusual for artists, performance spaces and galleries throughout the five boroughs to invite audiences to take a glimpse at the creative process. Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Open Studio Weekend, held from Sept. 26-28, extends to five different downtown locations and invites the public to experience artists' work while they're still creating.

LMCC, an arts organization that offers resources for artists through residency programs and grants, will open up its arts studios on Governor's Island and at its headquarters near South Street Seaport, and stage programming at St. Cornelius Chapel on Governor's Island, Pier 42 on the East River Waterfront, and Battery Park, providing free public access to work in various mediums, from dance and choreography to photography, sculpture and written work.

"It's an opportunity to celebrate the work the artist is doing," said Kay Takeda, director of grants and services for LMCC. "To get up close and personal, and get [the artist] talking and see what they're thinking about in the context where they're working."

For artists, it's not only an opportunity to meet other members of their fields and explore the work of their peers, but also gauge how an audience interacts with their work while it's still in development.

Rachel Tess, a dancer and choreographer who's developing work in St. Cornelius Chapel, isn't a stranger to interactions with her audience. Her project, Souvenir, began in 2013. As part of her Master's thesis at the University of Dance in Stockholm, Sweden, she built a 22-foot by 11-foot, modular dance theater made from plywood, which can be taken apart and reassembled anywhere, "like an oversized Lego," Tess said. Dancing in such a space, where separation between the audience and the performers is slight, allowed for an intimacy with viewers.

Tess, who's staged hundreds of performances in Souvenir while in Stockholm, will perform her existing choreography in the much larger space at St. Cornelius, while also developing ideas for the construction of a larger, weatherproof mobile theater for bigger productions.

"Having the chance to rework these materials that have become so articulated through this one space, it's a lot of letting go for me," said Tess. "I have to really let go, not of my concept but preconceived notions of the materials. I know that through this, when I go back inside to work in Souvenir it's going to really feed and inform that process."

All events are free and open to the public. Some require RSVP. For a full schedule of events and to RSVP, visit lmcc.net/openstudios.



Open studios with 20 artists-in-residence who work in a range of visual arts, theater and design.


Choreographer Rashaun Mitchell presents his latest composition, before my eyes, which is slated to premiere in April of 2015 at New York Live Arts.

Dates: Sat., Sept. 27 and Sun., Sept. 28 at 4 p.m.

This weekend, the gallery at the center closes Trisha Brown: Embodied Practice and Site-Specificity, an exhibition that explores the work of the postmodernist dancer and choreographer, through photography, video, costume and set pieces.

Dates: Fri., Sept. 26, noon-5 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sun., Sept. 28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.


Rachel Tess discusses the development of her mobile dance theater, Souvenir, as she prepares to construct a larger, weatherproof theater. An exhibition of building sketches and other materials from the 2013 construction of Souvenir will be on display, and Tess workshops a previous composition in the chapel, which explores the relationship between the choreographer and the audience.

Exhibition Dates:

Fri., Sept. 26-Sun., Sept. 28 from noon-4 p.m.

Performance Dates:

Sat., Sept 27 and Sun., Sept. 28 at 4 p.m.

PIER 42 (East River Waterway, between Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges, with entrances on Montgomery and Cherry Streets, near FDR Drive)

Presented with Paths to Pier 42 and Arts East River Waterfront , this temporary public space houses frequent art installations and public events as it transitions into a permanent public park.


Created by architecture teams Combo Colab and Stereotank, DrumReef 42 is an installation built from recycled blue plastic barrels and designed to look like an island, complete with a sandbox and sun umbrellas. A drum workshop will take place on the installation.


Sat., Sept. 27 at 2:30 p.m.

BATTERY PARK (entrances along Broadway and State Street)

The weekend marks the last opportunity to see artist caraballo-farman's site-specific sculpture The Signs of Paradise, a fixture in Battery Park since June.


Fri., Sept. 26-Sun., Sept. 28 from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.


HIGHLIGHT: Dancer Netta Yerushalmy presents a scene from her upcoming show Helga and the Three Sailors, a piece that emphasizes personal history which will premiere at Danspace Project in November.

RSVP Required. Visit lmcc.net or http://www.tfaforms.com/342424