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Governors Island ushers in fall with free art and culture

Fall won’t officially start until two weeks later, but Governors Island is getting a head start — with art.

The Trust for Governors Island is holding its inaugural Fall Arts Week. The six-day affair will include exhibitions, open studios, events and activities by a diverse group of arts and cultural organizations that currently call the island home.

From Wed., Sept 8, to Mon., Sept. 13, works from dozens of artists will be displayed throughout the island and concentrated in the historic houses of Nolan Park and Colonels Row. Visitors can move from house to house and interact directly with both art and artists. The works draw from a compelling mix of visual art pieces, new media, soundscapes, sculpture, conceptual art, outsider art and more, in a unique setting.

The interdisciplinary selection of artwork explores themes of identity, memory, family, gender equity, colonialism, environmental interactions and crises, the U.S. prison system, the intersection of arts and technology, “double consciousness” and more.

Some recent art on Governors Island. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Participating organizations will also hold free community-building activities, performances, meet-the-artist events and workshops throughout the week.

Fall Arts Week will help expand public access to many arts and cultural programs on the island, with several participating organizations opening on weekdays for the first time this season. In addition, select organizations that have been focusing on providing residency space for artists during the 2021 season will open their studios to the public during this time.

Organizations participating in Fall Arts Week, all of whom have a seasonal or full-time presence on Governors Island, include ArtCrawl Harlem, BronxArtSpace, Escaping Time: Art from U.S. Prisons, Flux Factory, Harvestworks, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, NARS Foundation, N.Y.U. Gallatin, Swale, Triangle Arts, West Harlem Art Fund, Works on Water and more to be announced.

Art recently on view on Governors Island. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Each public season, the Trust for Governors Island invites dozens of arts, cultural, environmental and educational organizations to propose seasonal public programs, including exhibitions, residencies, workshops, performances and more. Collaboration is encouraged between participating organizations and space is provided to presenters free of charge, giving organizations and artists opportunities to showcase and develop work in a setting unlike anywhere else in the world.

For more information and the full schedule, visit

In accordance with the Key to NYC executive order, indoor public programs and galleries on Governors Island require proof of COVID-19 vaccination — a photo or hard copy of a C.D.C. vaccination card, the NYC COVID Safe app, the Excelsior Pass or another official vaccine record for approved vaccines.

Children younger than 12 years old (not currently eligible for vaccination) must be accompanied by a vaccinated person. Face coverings continue to be required in all indoor spaces on Governors Island.

Governors Island opened to the public in 2005, becoming a popular destination and cultural resource for New York City. Beginning in 2013, the Trust for Governors Island has commissioned significant permanent and temporary artworks on the island by artists such as Rachel Whiteread, Susan Philipsz, David Brooks, Jacob Hashimoto, Shantell Martin and Duke Riley.

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