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Chelsea Factory, a New Center for Arts and Collaboration, to Open in NYC

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Chelsea Factory will house two new, modular, fully flexible performance, rehearsal, exhibition and meeting spaces with total seating capacity of over 350.

Chelsea Factory, a New Center for Arts and Collaboration, to Open in NYC

Chelsea Factory, a newly renovated arts and community center, opens this fall in New York City to provide low-cost access to rehearsal, performance and collaboration space for New York-based artists and community groups. Located at 547 West 26th Street in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, this nearly 14,000-square foot, landmarked building that was originally erected in 1914 previously served as the home for critically acclaimed dance company Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz. For the first time in its history, this unique and storied space is now available for broad, public use by artists and the community.

Designed as a five-year pop-up initiative to quickly respond to post-pandemic recovery needs, Chelsea Factory will house two new, modular, fully flexible performance, rehearsal, exhibition and meeting spaces with total seating capacity of over 350. Chelsea Factory will host artists and community groups focused on arts, food, fashion, spoken word, audio/podcasts, civic services and tech. It will also present vibrant performances and programs curated in partnership with diverse and dynamic New York cultural organizations. Chelsea Factory's mission and programming emphasize supporting and creating opportunity for historically excluded talent.

The first cohort of 2021-2022 resident artists will include composer Troy Anthony; dancer/choreographer Hope Boykin; contemporary performance company GALLIM; and filmmaker Luis G. Santos, among others. Performance and programmatic partnerships with prolific organizations such as Harlem Stage, National Black Theater, and The Joyce Theater will begin January 2022. Community partnerships will range from social dance gatherings and volunteer activations to vintage clothing markets and accessible arts education. Initial education partners include Opening Act and Studio School for Design.

Chelsea Factory is inspired by the entrepreneurial vision of Jim Herbert, who serves as its Founder and Board Chair, and who is also the Founder, Chairman and Co-CEO of First Republic Bank. This innovative venture combines philanthropic seed capital, corporate partnerships and private rental income in order to provide space and support for artists and the community to reimagine the future and revitalize following the pandemic. Founding support is provided by Herbert and the First Republic Foundation, with additional support from Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust.

"Over the past two years, many artists have left New York City, and many cultural and community venues closed their doors. We founded Chelsea Factory to be an entrepreneurial approach to accelerate post-pandemic recovery for these groups. Without reliance on box office or individual patron programs, artists and partners can pursue ambitious ideas with financial and creative freedom," said Chelsea Factory Founder and Board Chair Jim Herbert, who is also the Founder, Chairman and Co-CEO of First Republic Bank.

Chelsea Factory's residency program provides financial support, peer working groups, access to a robust community of artists and potential supporters, purpose-built studio space, live streaming, technical equipment and support. Chelsea Factory has engaged an in-house filmmaker, in partnership with the Ghetto Film School, to create digital content for each artist. By welcoming artists at inflection points in their careers, Chelsea Factory aims to facilitate transformative experiences that will become meaningful milestones for many professional trajectories.

Chelsea Factory will open under the leadership of Executive Director Lauren Kiel, who previously served as the Executive Director of The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, and Managing Director Donald Borror, who previously served as the Executive Director of Dorrance Dance.

"Each Chelsea Factory partnership begins with the question, 'What do you need, and how can we uniquely help?'" Executive Director Lauren Kiel and Managing Director Donald Borror said. "We are not committed to a specific aesthetic vision or rigid programming model. Our limited five-year operating horizon allows us to focus on supporting our artistic partners - swiftly and nimbly -- while relieving us from the constraints of typical institution-building."

Chelsea Factory residencies will begin in late November and public performances begin January 2022. Private rental bookings are currently available. For additional information, visit www.chelseafactory.org or email info@chelseafactory.org.


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