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A First Look Inside The New ICA Watershed In East Boston

A visitor to the ICA Watershed watches "Delphine" by artist Diana Thater. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
A visitor to the ICA Watershed watches "Delphine" by artist Diana Thater. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

A preview inside the Institute of Contemporary Art's new East Boston location, the ICA Watershed, reveals an expansive, open exhibition space that keeps some of the rugged character of the building's past — a condemned sheet metal facility on the Boston Harbor Shipyard. The ICA will open the Watershed's door to the public on July 4, with an exhibition of a video installation by artist Diana Thater.

On Friday afternoon, the ICA opened the doors of the Watershed for a press preview and ribbon-cutting with area officials.

The 15,000-square-foot space is meant to expand the ICA's presence from the Seaport to East Boston, connecting two neighborhoods that have historically been isolated from the core of the city.

"The Watershed will deepen all of the work that the arts can do to bring us together," said ICA Director Jill Medvedow, "to spark the conscience, to feed the soul and to do it in a way that really doesn't exist in Boston, which is a big open flexible industrial space — that is free."

Medvedow said the ICA would work to become part of the heavily immigrant and Latino East Boston neighborhood, not just inhabit it. Signs next to the Thater's installation were written in English and Spanish, and Medvedow said the ICA would be holding regular tours of the new space in Spanish. Neighborhood community groups, like East Boston Social Services and the non-profit Zumix will collaborate with the ICA to produce programming.

The museum will include free ferry rides to the Watershed with admission to its main location at the Seaport. This season, the new space will be open from July 4 to October, but in future years, the ICA plans to open the Watershed seasonally, from late May to early October.

Here's your first look inside the new building:

"Untitled Videowall (Butterflies)" by artist Diana Thater at the inaugural exhibition of the ICA Watershed in East Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
"Untitled Videowall (Butterflies)" by artist Diana Thater at the inaugural exhibition of the ICA Watershed in East Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
"As Radical As Reality" by artist Diana Thater at the ICA Watershed in East Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
"As Radical As Reality" by artist Diana Thater at the ICA Watershed in East Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Artist Diana Thater, surrounded by her work, at the inaugural exhibition of the ICA Watershed in East Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Artist Diana Thater, surrounded by her work, at the inaugural exhibition of the ICA Watershed in East Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Installation View, Diana Thater, the ICA Watershed, 2018. (Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York/London/Hong Kong. Photo by Liza Voll | Photography © Diana Thater)
Installation View, Diana Thater, the ICA Watershed, 2018. (Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York/London/Hong Kong. Photo by Liza Voll | Photography © Diana Thater)
Installation View, Diana Thater, the ICA Watershed, 2018. (Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York/London/Hong Kong. Photo by Liza Voll | Photography © Diana Thater)
Installation View, Diana Thater, the ICA Watershed, 2018. (Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York/London/Hong Kong. Photo by Liza Voll | Photography © Diana Thater)
Installation View, Shipyard Gallery, the ICA Watershed, 2018. (Courtesy Liza Voll Photography)
Installation View, Shipyard Gallery, the ICA Watershed, 2018. (Courtesy Liza Voll Photography)
Visitors to the inaugural exhibition of the ICA Watershed pose for a photo in front of a wall of photographs of East Boston by teens from the ICA's digital photography program. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Visitors to the inaugural exhibition of the ICA Watershed pose for a photo in front of a wall of photographs of East Boston by teens from the ICA's digital photography program. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
The ICA Watershed has taken over a large building in the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina in East Boston. The building was once a copper pipe and sheet metal facility. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
The ICA Watershed has taken over a large building in the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina in East Boston. The building was once a copper pipe and sheet metal facility. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

 

Maria Garcia Twitter Senior Editor, The ARTery
Maria Garcia is the senior editor of The ARTery, WBUR's Arts and Culture Team.

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