Governor Cuomo has announced a $2 million grant to support the expansion of the Irish Arts Center into a new, state-of-the-art facility and performance space at 726 11th Avenue in Manhattan.
The new building will serve as a national home for Irish and Irish American arts and heritage, offering educational, cultural, and community programming and providing a global platform for new and established artists to showcase their work. The Center has now raised more than $56 million for this new facility; construction is expected to begin by the end of 2017.
"The story of New York is the story of immigrants and the contributions of the Irish are woven into the very fabric of this great state," Governor Cuomo said.
“The New Irish Arts Center will allow New Yorkers and visitors alike to appreciate the rich legacy of the Irish in America, learn more about a people and culture that have changed the course of a country and continue to do so today, and attract new visitors and economic activity to the region.”
Founded in 1972, the Irish Arts Center builds, shares, and preserves the rich culture and history of Ireland and Irish America, and offers a dynamic platform for Irish artistic contributions past and present. For over forty years, the Irish Arts Center has operated in an aging three-story tenement building with limited capacity and accessibility; the New Irish Arts Center will more than triple its current capacity to more than 120,000 patrons each year.
Aidan Connolly, Executive Director of the Irish Arts Center said “Irish Arts Center is proud to accept this transformative economic development grant from Governor Cuomo. The New Irish Arts Center will be a place for people of all backgrounds from all over the Empire State to come together in celebration of the excellence and dynamism of Irish arts and culture, and share our common heritage and humanity.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said “This new Center is a celebration of the enduring contributions of the Irish in America and Empire State Development is proud to be a part of its rich and dynamic growth. With modern facilities and increased capacity for vibrant, engaging programming, the New Irish Arts Center will bring together artists and audiences and provide a communal space to enjoy Irish culture.”
In 2016, the New Irish Arts Center project was awarded $2 million through Round VI of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative; with the announcement of this week’s approved incentive proposal, the new facility will create 56 new permanent jobs, retain 16 jobs, and generate more than 150 construction jobs. The new LEED Silver building will connect with the existing Irish Arts Center at 553 W. 51st Street, which will be renovated to preserve the existing Irish Arts Center.
The New Irish Arts Center will feature:
- A state of the art, flexible contemporary performance space for theatre, dance, live music, installations, interdisciplinary work, residencies, and special events
- A second, more intimate performance space – the historic Irish Arts Center Theatre – optimized for live music, literature, film, talks, large classes and special events
- Industry-standard back of house and support facilities to allow artists to achieve their vision
- Classrooms and studio space for community education programs in Irish music, dance, language, history, and the humanities, and for master classes and workshops by visiting and resident artists
- Technology capability to project Irish Arts Center performances and education programs on the digital platform through podcasts, online classes, event streaming and other emerging forms of interactive learning.
The Irish Arts Center is a New York-based arts and cultural center dedicated to projecting a dynamic image of Ireland and Irish America for the 21st century, building community with artists and audiences of all backgrounds, forging and strengthening cross-cultural partnerships, and preserving the evolving stories and traditions of Irish culture for generations to come. Our multi-disciplinary programming is centered around three core areas: performance – including live music, dance, theatre, film, literature, and the humanities; exhibition – including visual arts presentations and cultural exhibitions that tell the evolving Irish story; and education – with dozens of classes per week in Irish language, history, music, and dance.
Located in New York City, a global capital of arts and culture, Irish Arts Center serves as a dynamic platform for top emerging and established artists. Irish Arts Center is currently developing plans to construct a new facility to serve our multi-disciplinary program and will be the strongest possible gateway for artists to reach into our cultural community and nourish their work, to connect with our partner institutions who help them innovate, and to become visible in the New York City media market which enhances their ability to achieve US and further international success.