Skip to main content
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, joined by New York Governor George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, announced the selection of a vibrant mix of institutions to be located on the World Trade Center Site. The LMDC Board, at its July 8, 2004 Board Meeting, will determine and offer planning grants to selected institutions. The Joyce International Dance Center, the Freedom Center, the Signature Theatre, and the Drawing Center have all been offered space on the site. In addition to their own programming, the institutions will host other events and organizations such as the Tribeca Film Festival and the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble. Performance spaces, screening rooms, galleries, education programs, and rehearsal spaces will also be made available for community and cultural uses. Over the next approximately six months, the four institutions will work closely with the LMDC to conduct a detailed feasibility analysis of their proposed programming, funding capacity, and space requirements. At the end of this period, LMDC will enter into a formal agreement with these organizations and potentially offer substantial challenge grants to assist with the costs of creating these facilities. Governor George E. Pataki said, "Cultural programming has always been an essential part of rebuilding Lower Manhattan and creating a fitting tribute to all the heroes we lost during the attacks. The addition of these world class cultural institutions at the World Trade Center Site will reaffirm life in the wake of tragedy. These institutions will create a cultural framework around the memorial drawing New Yorkers and visitors from around the world. The vibrant mixture of dance, theatre, and fine arts in one cultural complex will serve as a powerful cultural and economic engine for Lower Manhattan." Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, "The selection of these institutions is a great step in the revitalization of Lower Manhattan and a significant development in New York's cultural renaissance. Culture is one of New York City's most important industries for our economy, international identity, and future growth. In all five boroughs, New York City's cultural institutions are experiencing a remarkable period of renewal and transformation. And now, after a thorough review and selection process, the World Trade Center Site will be getting four dynamic institutions that reflect the excitement and diversity of New York City, and will energize the surrounding community culturally and economically. I would like to recognize Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin for her leadership on behalf of the City, and thank the LMDC for their work in this important effort that will restore Lower Manhattan as an international center for creativity and innovation." LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead said, "New York is blessed with the finest non-profit institutions in the world. Selecting from the most dynamic in the performing and fine arts to best fit into the available space at the World Trade Center and serve the future of Lower Manhattan has been a daunting task for everyone involved. We look forward to working with the finalists as they continue to develop their plans, and also hope that many other outstanding cultural institutions will be able to participate in the mix of activities in the years ahead.” LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe said, "The quality and diversity of the programming that will be at the World Trade Center site is a reflection of what we heard from the public concerning the future of the site and a testament to the process we have undertaken. The two-year public process has resulted in a dynamic mix of dramatic, fine, and performing arts institutions that will bring energy and new life to the site. Each of these institutions will be an asset to a community already rich in cultural and historic gems. These established institutions, complemented by a new institution born from the tragic events of September 11th, will serve as a life-affirming tribute to all who we lost that fateful day.” Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, "Today's announcement marks another critical moment in the rebirth of the Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority looks forward to working with our partners at the LMDC and these great institutions to make certain the World Trade Center site will be a center of culture and the arts for downtown, New York City, and the world. And as we continue to meet important milestones under Governor Pataki's leadership, such as the opening of the PATH station and upcoming groundbreaking for the Freedom Tower, we will never forget our heroes, and anticipate the day when we can honor their memory and deeds with a memorial for the ages." LMDC Vice President & Director for Memorial, Cultural & Civic Programs Anita Contini said, "All the organizations that were part of the ICI process contributed to an important dialogue about the role of arts and culture in rebuilding the WTC site. Each of them deserves our thanks. As the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan progresses, we look forward to continuing this dialogue with the remarkable institutions selected and with the public.” New York City Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Kate Levin said, "New Yorkers can be proud of this exciting combination of cultural venues in Lower Manhattan. Each organization has a distinct and exemplary mission, and together they have the potential to create lasting synergies. In addition to providing superlative programming, these cultural facilities will help transform the neighborhood, advance artistic exploration, and generate economic growth throughout the entire City.” New York State Council on the Arts Chairman Richard Schwartz added, "The World Trade Center site will be the home to appropriate and dignified organizations that will bring exciting entertainment and cultural activities to local and metropolitan area residents as well as visitors from all over the world." The LMDC sees great value in all the 15 short-listed institutions and will continue to explore, in concert with our state, city, and community partners, how the remaining institutions can be a part of the cultural development of Lower Manhattan outside of the World Trade Center site. At the June Board Meeting, the LMDC Board approved a feasibility and planning grant for the 92nd Street Y to explore off-site locations for a community center in Lower Manhattan. The LMDC has also committed to offer assistance to find Lower Manhattan locations for the Children's Museum of the Arts and a satellite of the New York Hall of Science. The process of determining the content and management of the Memorial Center is continuing as part of a separate process. Last week, the LMDC released the Memorial Center Advisory Committee Draft Recommendations. Those recommendations are available on the web at www.RenewNYC.com and are out for public comment until July 1, 2004. Institutions including the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Historical Society, the New York State Museum and Consortium, Project Rebirth, and Sound Portraits Productions/StoryCorps are involved in the planning for the Memorial Center. Sound Portraits Productions/Story Corps was recently awarded a grant by the LMDC for installation and operation of an oral history recording booth at or near the World Trade Center site. A foundation has been established to raise additional funds beyond the committed LMDC funds, for the memorial and cultural facilities on the World Trade Center site. Leadership for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation is expected to be announced in the upcoming weeks. Process: Beginning in early 2002, the LMDC held over a dozen large-scale public meetings on the future of the World Trade Center Site. The result of the public meetings and hundreds-of-thousands of public comments received via mail and email was clear, cultural facilities must be an integral part of rebuilding Lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center Site. In 2003, the LMDC embarked on a process to assess interest and select institutions for placement on the site. In April of 2003, a plan was announced to invite cultural institutions from around the world to submit proposals and in late June of 2003 the international Invitation to Cultural Institutions (ICI) was issued. Throughout the summer, the LMDC engaged in public outreach including a July public forum specifically on the ICI and a series of seven community workshops throughout Lower Manhattan. The public outreach sessions helped measure public priorities and reactions to different cultural programming and inform the selection process. By the close of the ICI process in September of 2003, 113 responses had been received. From October 2003 through January 2004, an evaluation committee made up of representatives from the LMDC, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and State Council on the Arts reviewed the 113 submissions and evaluated which responses would best fit the criteria for the World Trade Center site. The panel evaluated the responses based on a number of criteria including:
Additional consideration was given to public comments received during the ICI public forum held on July 28, 2003 and the comments at LMDC/City sponsored Neighborhood Workshops. Based on this work, the LMDC identified a short-list of institutions whose submissions were feasible and promising for developing the curatorial approach or content for the Memorial Center, and occupying a performing arts center and cultural buildings on the World Trade Center Site. These institutions were listed in a publicly released report. LMDC studied all possible combinations of the short-listed institutions to determine feasibility. LMDC also consulted with numerous experts to assist us in evaluating the theater proposals and in determining the flexibility of each program. The LMDC then convened meetings with the short-listed organizations. The LMDC, along with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts, met with the short-listed institutions and analyzed the refined proposals in relation to programming, costs, and management structure. The LMDC, working with its City and State partners, reached a consensus on the recommended set of institutions. The next step is to have the LMDC Board consider and vote upon the recommendations at the July 2004 Board Meeting where it will determine and offer planning grants. Summary of Selected Institutions: The International Dance Center: The Joyce Theater Foundation, Inc. project will include a 900-1000 seat proscenium theatre where it will present one- or two-week engagements by approximately 30 different dance companies from around the world each year. In addition to performances, The Joyce project will provide education programs for school groups, community workshops, open rehearsals, lecture/demonstrations, and other public programs. The Joyce will maintain its 472-seat theatre in Chelsea and the 74 seat theatre in SoHo. The Joyce Theater Foundation is an established presenter of international dance companies, having brought over 60 companies from 21 countries to the New York stage. Companies range from classical ballet to hip, hop, and have included Irish step dance, jazz, tap, ethnic folk and experimental contemporary dance. The Joyce also serves as an arts incubator, offering hundreds of artists a year access to its space for subsidized rehearsals and performance and providing technical, administrative and financial support for dance companies. Linda Shelton, Executive Director of the Joyce Theater Foundation said, "We at the Joyce Theater Foundation have had the dream of creating a 900-1,000 seat state-of-the-art, world-class theater for dance for New York City for several years. Dance companies, audiences, patrons, choreographers and dancers from around the world have supported this idea. We are thrilled to make this dream a reality for the dance world and for all of New York City. It is also exciting to be part of revitalizing the downtown through the arts. The Freedom Center: In the tradition of institutions like the United States Holocaust Museum and the National Constitution Center, the Freedom Center will be an educational resource for the city, the country and the world. The Freedom Center is a new organization created expressly for the World Trade Center Site that will include exhibitions centered on humankind's enduring quest for freedom. Over the past two years, the Freedom Center has reached out to an extraordinary roster of scholars, educators, museum directors, and cultural leaders who provided their input and expertise. Exhibitions, lectures, films and other programs will be developed in partnership with leading arts, cultural, media and academic institutions such as the Aspen Institute, NYU, WNYC Radio, and New Visions for Public Schools. The facility will include exhibit space, a multi-purpose presentation space, and classrooms. Fareed Zakaria, Editor of Newsweek International and member of the Freedom Center's Committee of Scholars and Advisors said, "Freedom is the most powerful idea in human history. It is the idea that human societies have been moving toward for hundreds of years, that more than any other concept has shaped the world we live in. And what better place for a Center dedicated to an exploration of that idea than New York City—the most open city in the most open society in the world" Signature Center: Signature Theatre Company is the only theatre in the world dedicated to producing season-long explorations of the work of a single Playwright-in-Residence. Signature's new home at the World Trade Center Site will be a three-theatre complex that will include a 499 seat theatre, a 299 seat theatre, and a flexible 99 to 199 seat theatre. These theatres will house three distinctive yet complimentary programs that will offer year-round programming showcasing the world's finest dramatists. The Master Playwrights Program will continue Signature's traditional residency program, where an established playwright is invited to join the company and collaboratively produce a full season of their work. An Emerging Playwrights Program will bring early to mid-career writers to Signature for a three-year rotating residency and will produce one premiere play from each of the three participants annually. Additionally, a World Premiere Program will allow Signature and its audience to maintain constant contact with alumni of both residency programs by producing three to four premiere plays from former Playwrights-in-Residence each season. The facility's public space will also offer a forum for lunchtime and evening activities such as staged readings, lectures, and other activities that provide insight into the theatre's work and which incorporate the Lower Manhattan community into the daily life of the center. James Houghton, Founding Artist Director of the Signature said, "It is a tremendous honor for Signature Theatre Company to be a part of the revitalization of this vastly important site. This new cultural complex will allow Signature to expand its artistic scope by welcoming theatre artists from all over the world and to build a thriving theatrical community center year-round. We are thrilled to be included in the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's plans for the World Trade Center site and are extremely grateful to Governor Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg, and the board and staff of the LMDC for their confidence and support.” The Drawing Center: The Drawing Center, currently situated in Lower Manhattan's SoHo, is the only fine arts institution in the country to focus solely on the exhibition of drawings. It was established 27 years ago to demonstrate the significance and diversity of drawings throughout history, to provide opportunities for emerging and under-recognized artists, and to stimulate public dialogue on issues of art and culture. The Drawing Center offers exhibition programs, scholarly publications, public forums, and artists' services. It has longstanding relationships with such established museums as MoMA, The Met, The Whitney, Tate, and The Pompidou Center, and will continue to partner with these and other internationally renowned institutions. A new initiative that has been developed for the WTC site is to present major works by historical figures alongside drawings, illuminating the dynamics of the creative process. Past exhibitions have presented drawings by acknowledged masters like Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso, and James Ensor, major contemporary artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Ellsworth Kelly, and local and international emerging artists. The Drawing Center offers daytime and nighttime public events, including artist talks, panel discussions, and schools and internship programs. Catherine de Zegher, Executive Director and George Negroponte, President of the Drawing Center said, "We feel an enormous responsibility and excitement about our inclusion at the World Trade Center site. The selection process has been rigorous and visionary. We are honored to be chosen and look forward to collaborating with all the other fine institutions and with the community at large."
Additional information on the selected institutions is available on the attached fact-sheets and on the LMDC's website at www.RenewNYC.com.