Future Culture

Connecting Staten Island’s Waterfront

Staten Island’s waterfront, home to hundreds of artists and arts organizations in the Naturally Occurring Cultural District of St. George, Tompkinsville, and Stapleton, hosts multiple development projects currently underway. This diverse downtown community faces difficult challenges in planning for cohesive, quality public space. (Some of these are documented in this 2014 study completed in partnership with Cornell University’s Graduate Planning Studio and the Design Trust for Public Space.)
 
We believe that arts and cultural activities play an important role in equitable development. As the local arts council, Staten Island Arts supports an array of activities that serve as dynamic drivers for community change.
 
In 2014 Staten Island Arts applied to an open call by the Design Trust for Public Space to create Future Culture, a project to foster our unique cultural communities and ensure their role in the future character of the North Shore’s developing waterfront. Those who work in the creative and cultural sectors are often cited for making a location desirable, and Staten Island Arts wants to make sure the existing cultural and artistic assets are supported during this time of change—and after too!
 
Design Trust awarded Fellowships to a team of professionals, including Staten Island artist Lisa Dahl, to work with the community in developing and communicating a vision for arts and cultural involvement in the public realm of the rapidly changing waterfront. The Fellows’ work, based on intensive local engagement (detailed below), will lead to actionable design, planning, and policy recommendations to share with arts and cultural practitioners, key public officials, and private stakeholders by early 2017. We aim to pilot these recommendations through public art installations—to be chosen through an open call in 2017—for activating public space along the waterfront.
 
If you’re interested in being involved in the project, contact Staten Island Participatory Art Fellow Lisa Dahl at futureculture@designtrust.org or Equitable Public Space Fellow Jourdan Sayers at (212) 695-2432 x7.
 
We will be involving community members in a number of ways, including:
 
• An open-house info session on October 26, 4-7PM at Staten Island Arts’ Culture Lounge.
 
• “Office hours” with Lisa Dahl are on Tuesdays 9:30-11am, and by appointment. Office hours are open to anyone who would like to share ideas and learn more about the project. Sign up by emailing Lisa at futureculture@designtrust.org.
 
• A working group to guide the recommendations. The group will meet weekly in November and December and represent the diverse cultural communities of the North Shore.
 
• Meetings with public and private stakeholders.
 
• Presentations or activities at community events — invite us at futureculture@designtrust.org!
 
For more information about the Future Culture project and team, see Design Trust’s website.