A new artistic initiative by SITU and Design Trust for Public Space builds an architectural ensemble of rooms for public cultural places | News

Brooklyn-based architectural design practice SITU and the Design Trust for Public Space announced the launch of Turnout NYC, a community-driven initiative that aims to transform underutilized spaces into vibrant, accessible places for arts and culture. , while highlighting the underrepresented city of New York. based artists.

The venture, supported by a $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation, aims to help small arts organizations produce public programs despite the ongoing effects of the pandemic. It will establish flexible and semi-permanent outdoor performance halls, one in each borough, in collaboration with cultural partners within each community. Scheduled to launch this summer, Turnout NYC will host 150-200 events, featuring up to 1,500 performers throughout the season.

“Before the pandemic, people living in vulnerable areas already had limited access to cultural opportunities. Today, those rare opportunities are more at risk of disappearing,” said Matthew Clarke, executive director of Design Trust for Public Space. “Building on Design Trust’s experience in activating and transforming underutilized public spaces in all five boroughs, Turnout NYC will create a replicable strategy for local interventions that promote equitable access to the arts.”

The program will support equitable access to the arts and provide infrastructure for artists, especially Black, Latinx, Asain, Indigenous, and other historically marginalized peoples. With guidance from an advisory board of New York City cultural leaders, including Queens Theater Executive Director Taryn Sacramone, National Black Theater CEO Sade Lythcott, Lucy Sexton of the New Yorkers for Culture and Arts, Ted Berger and other New York-based creators, Turnout NYC has partnered with community cultural partners based in neighborhoods across the five boroughs.

In the opening season, partners include Brownsville Community Justice Center in Brooklyn, Point CDC in the Bronx, Alice Austen House in Staten Island, Uptown Grand Central in Manhattan, and Queensboro Dance Festival in Queens. With these partners, the Turnout NYC team held a series of community workshops, site visits, and meetings to understand each site’s needs and priorities. In doing so, SITU has developed a kit of parts designed to be easily reconfigurable for a wide variety of programs and adaptable to a range of site conditions.

The four main elements include a modular stage, location marker, bench, and ramp, each of which has the ability to store secondary location-building components such as folding furniture and signage within them. When not in use for a Turnout NYC event, the kit is designed to be left outside as plaza furniture and used by members of the local community. After this inaugural summer season, the kit will be used as a place-making tool all year round.

“This initiative demonstrates how, by being flexible and creative in how we think about traditional performance venues, we can design our public spaces in a way that enriches the artistic and cultural life of New York, in every neighborhood,” said Basar. Girit, founding partner of SITU.

Turnout NYC’s lineup will be continually announced and updated on the program’s website here.

About Gertrude H. Kerr

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