Governors Island Residency Initiative in Response to COVID-19

Sherwin Banfield, GI COVID-19 Response Residency 2020. Photo by Salome Mindiashvili
Sherwin Banfield, GI COVID-19 Response Residency 2020. Photo by Salome Mindiashvili

About the Initiative

In 2020, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) spearheaded a new initiative with the Trust for Governors Island (TGI) and numerous Island-based organizations in response to the COVID-19 crisis and its devastating impacts across the NYC cultural landscape. Under the Governors Island Residency Initiative, participating organizations repositioned indoor spaces on the Island historically used for exhibitions and public programming as residencies or work spaces for artists and other members of the City’s cultural community in 2020. 

The Governors Island Residency Initiative endeavors to support artists, writers, cultural workers, creative practitioners living and working across New York City's five boroughs.

The Trust, LMCC, and participating organizations provided eligible individuals free, temporary space to work on the Island.

These spaces are programmed on a seasonal basis by a diverse group of New York-based cultural and educational institutions whose programs range from arts and culture to climate science and environmental sustainability.

As part of this initiative, beginning July 23, 2020, LMCC launched a separate open call application for available spaces at the Arts Center at Governors Island.

Participating organizations include:

About the LMCC Open Call

LMCC transitioned a significant portion of the Arts Center at Governors Island's facilities to accommodate between 12–15 artists and/or small arts groups as a part of this open call. Please note that this open call is meant specifically to apply for a work space based at LMCC’s Arts Center and not any of the other affiliated organizations’ houses on the Island. 

The application for LMCC's Governors Island Residency Initiative in Response to COVID-19 has closed for 2020.

For other upcoming opportunities for artists, click here to learn more about our Manhattan Arts Grants programs and our Professional Development Fundraising Fundamentals workshops.

2021 Governors Island Residency Initiative Program Participants

Abigail Donahue | Design Arts - Manhattan
Alexa Hoyer | Visual Arts - Brooklyn
Andres Santiago Pina | Theatre - Manhattan
Anthony Huffman | Literature/Writing - Brooklyn
Betsy Kenyon | Visual Arts - Manhattan
Dena Igusti | Literature/Writing - Jamaica
Hsuan Yu Pan | Film - Woodside
Hyewon Park | Visual Arts - Brooklyn
Isaac Roller | Comics/Graphic Literature - Manhattan
Janelle Lawrence | Performance Art - Manhattan
Josef Pinlac | Multidisciplinary - Elmhurst
Katy McCarthy | Multidisciplinary - Brooklyn
KC Trommer | Literature/Writing - Jackson Heights
Kelly Marshall | Visual Arts - Manhattan
Kosuke Kawahara | Visual Arts - Brooklyn
Madeleine Fia Matsson | Visual Arts - Brooklyn
Mingna Li | Multidisciplinary - Brooklyn
Nozomi Rose | Visual Arts - Manhattan
Rhonda Weppler | Visual Arts - Manhattan
Ryan D. Matthews | Literature/Writing - Brooklyn
Selwyn V. Garraway | Visual Arts - Manhattan
Yin Ming Wong | Visual Arts - Brooklyn

2020 Governors Island Residency Initiative Program Participants

Sherwin Banfield, Visual Arts | Queens
Juan Hinojosa, Visual Arts | Queens
Kate Hughes, Literature/Writing | Brooklyn
Ann Kim, Visual Arts | New York
Eleanor Kipping, Multidisciplinary | Brooklyn
Daniel Kukla, Visual Arts | Brooklyn
Erica Molesworth, Visual Arts | Brooklyn
Lovie Pignata, Visual Arts | Bronx
Tony Sjöman, Visual Arts | New York
Ian Tousius, Visual Arts | Brooklyn
André Zachery, Multidisciplinary | Brooklyn

Applicants to this Open Call at LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island should understand that the available spaces will likely vary in size, available amenities, and degrees of accessibility. The selection committee will work with selected participants to address unique needs specific to each artist.

Residency participants will be provided the following basic amenities:

  • Access to free, temporary, daytime work space in LMCC’s Arts Center (please note that there is NO weekend access at this time)
  • Basic work tables and chairs
  • Basic overhead lighting
  • Electricity
  • Wi-Fi
  • A/C

Please note:

  • There is NO stipend offered as part of the opportunity
  • Studios facilities do not offer access to medium- or technique-specific amenities such as a woodshop, print or media lab, or a dance floor
  • Artists must provide their own supplies and tools; restrictions apply
  • Participants will be required to observe mandatory health and safety guidelines in light of the COVID-19 public health pandemic

To be eligible, applicants must be able to answer "yes" to all of the following prompts:

  • I am a practicing artist and/or creative practitioner able to demonstrate a sustained commitment to my work, career, and a public audience;
  • I can demonstrate a temporary loss of studio or a general need for space due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • I am 21 years of age or older;
  • I have been living and working in one of the five boroughs of New York City for the past one (1) year;
  • I am not an LMCC artist currently being supported by its residency programs (specifically Workspace and Arts Center Residency);
  • I am not affiliated as a full-time employee, board member, director, officer, or immediate family member of any of the participating organizations.

LMCC strives to ensure that artists and cultural practitioners of different disciplines, racial identities, gender expressions, sexual orientations, disability statuses and socioeconomic positions across the five boroughs have access to this opportunity and are being represented. To this end, people who are of color, indigenous, disabled, LGBTQIAP+ and from diverse economic backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply.

All applications will be reviewed for eligibility and completeness, then entered into a random drawing process for remote interviews with LMCC staff. Interviews will gauge feasibility and appropriateness of the applicant’s practice and proposed scope of work.

LMCC, the Trust for Governors Island, and participating organizations will commit to upholding a shared set of values that guide outreach to and selection of residency participants. The preliminary guiding principles are as follows, which will continue to be updated to reflect the participating organizations’ values and priorities: 

  • Serving artists and cultural workers most in need of space in the wake of COVID-19;
  • Ensuring the opportunity is available and accessible to a diverse range of individuals of varying disciplines, practices and demographic and socio-economic backgrounds;
  • Prioritizing artists and cultural workers whose practices give back to, or aim to make positive change within, the NYC cultural community and/or the City at large;
  • Prioritizing artists and cultural workers whose practices address important socio-political issues, including but not limited to public health, gender discrimination, immigration, racial equity, climate change and environmental justice;
  • Providing space to artists and cultural workers whose practices will benefit from working on Governors Island as a public space serving diverse audiences.

July 23, 2020, 10:00AM EST – Application for LMCC’s Open Call goes live

August 6, 2020, 11:59PM EST – Application deadline

August 10–August 24, 2020 – Selections by lottery and subsequent one-on-one interviews (conducted remotely)

August 30, 2020 – All applicants notified of status

Residencies begin on a rolling basis in early September through early December 2020.

If you have any questions about the application and/or the program, please contact with the subject heading, “RE: GI COVID-19 Response Cultural Residency.” 

Please note that LMCC Staff are presently working remotely and at a reduced schedule, hence there may be delays in responding to inquiries.