The Watershed:An Example of How New Ideas and Partnerships Can Move Innovative Projects Forward

Mayor Martin J. Walsh,City of Boston  Jill Medvedow, Ellen Matilda Poss  Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

East Boston has long championed the arts, public parks, and the waterfront. In summer 2018, the Institute of Contemporary Art will become part of this vibrant landscape with the opening of the Watershed, a new seasonal space for art in the Boston Shipyard and Marina. The City, the Shipyard, and the ICA eagerly await the opening of this unprecedented new space.

Housed in a former copper pipe factory owned by Massport, the Watershed will be a raw, industrial space for art unlike any other in Boston and a model for adaptive reuse of an existing building, currently in disrepair. Visitors will experience immersive projects by artists engaged with the site’s significance and waterfront location as well as the important issues of today. In addition to a flexible space for art and programs, the Watershed will house an introductory gallery focused on the historic shipyard and a waterside plaza that will serve as a gathering place.

The City of Boston shares with the ICA a commitment to the shared experiences of art.  The Watershed helps advance visionary ideas for art and culture in Boston, adding additional space for visual arts to the East Boston neighborhood and, with free admission, it will be open and accessible to everyone. As the City is envisioning with Boston Creates, the ICA is a prime example of how new ideas and bold partnerships can help move innovative projects forward.

Once open, the Watershed and the ICA will be connected across the harbor by boat, creating a new and unique opportunity for residents and visitors to enjoy and partake in our city’s natural and cultural resources. A close walk from Maverick Square and Piers Park, the Watershed is easily accessible to pedestrians and the East Boston community.

The ICA has two longstanding partnerships in East Boston—with Zumix and East Boston High School. We will continue to work with these organizations, as well as new partners, to ensure the Watershed is meaningful, relevant, and accessible to East Boston’s residents, visitors, schools, and communities.

We are just at the start of this exciting new endeavor. The ICA will host its first public event in East Boston this July 2017—a Play Date where families can enjoy free arts programming on the waterfront. We invite you to join us this summer, next summer, and moving forward.

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