The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) announced it will officially open its new Watershed to the public on July 4 inside a former copper pipe factory at Boston Shipyard and Marina on Marginal Street.
While the official opening will be July 4 for the free art exhibit space along the Eastie waterfront, Eastie residents and ICA members will be able to preview the Watershed before it opens to the public on June 30 and again from July 1 through the 3 from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
According to Jill Medvedow and Ellen Matilda Poss, the two directors of the ICA, the 15,000-square-foot, raw, industrial space will be unlike anything in Boston and will expand the ICA’s artistic and educational programming on both sides of the Boston Harbor. Award-winning firm Anmahian Winton Architects has restored the historic building for new use and has created a unique space for immersive artworks engaged with the site. An introductory gallery will focus on the historic shipyard, while a waterside plaza will serve as a casual gathering space.
The ICA’s Seaport location and the new Watershed will connect the two historically isolated neighborhoods through a ferry services provided by Boston Harbor Cruises.The ferry service will allow visitors to the both the ICA and Watershed travel six minutes via water between both museums. The ferry will be free to ICA members, included with regular museum admission, and free to visitors age 17 and under.
“The ICA is committed to ensuring that art and artists’ voices are central to civic life,” said Medvedow. “Our new Watershed will create immersive encounters with the art and issues of our time, be a center for social experiences and community-based education, and catalyze explorations of the environment, equity, and social justice. We are honored to become part of the cultural and natural landscape of East Boston.”
The inaugural exhibition for the Watershed will be by internationally renowned artist Diana Thater. Thater’s exhibition will center on the San Francisco native’s artwork Delphine. In this monumental work, underwater film and video footage of swimming dolphins spills across the floor, ceiling, and walls, creating an immersive underwater environment. As viewers interact with Delphine, they become performers within the artwork, their own silhouettes moving and spinning alongside the dolphins’.
In addition to Delphine, the Watershed will feature a recent sculptural video installation, A Runaway World, focused on the lives and worlds of species on the verge of extinction and the illicit economies that threaten their survival. Produced in Kenya in 2016 and 2017, A Runaway World is staged within a unique architectural environment of free-standing screen structures designed by the artist.
The Watershed will be open through October 8 in its inaugural year. Next year and moving forward, it will open to the public seasonally, from late May to early October.
The ICA is partnering with the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, East Boston Social Centers, Maverick Landing Community Services, and Zumix to develop programming for their communities at both the ICA and the Watershed.