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: