Path from ICA to East Boston


Jill Medvedow, Ellen Matilda Poss Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA), announced today that the museum has signed a letter of understanding to expand its artistic programming across Boston Harbor to the Boston Shipyard and Marina, located in East Boston. Pending permitting and final design, the new space is projected to open in summer 2018 and will be called the Watershed. The ICA will present artworks and public programs seasonally in the newly renovated 15,000 square-foot space while continuing year-round programming in its Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed facility in Boston’s Seaport District.  

“Our location on Boston Harbor places us in a unique position to activate the waterfront. With this project, the ICA will make a cross-harbor connection that is central to our notion of art, civic life, and urban vitality,” said Medvedow. “The Watershed represents an exciting and creative mode of growth for the museum. It takes art beyond our walls, building upon a decade-long history of public art projects that bring together landscape and contemporary art, as well as ongoing partnerships with East Boston youth communities.” 

The Watershed will be a raw, industrial space for art unlike any other in Boston. In addition to a flexible space for exhibitions, programming, and workshops, the Watershed will house an orientation gallery introducing visitors to the historic shipyard complemented by a waterside plaza that will serve as a gathering place with stunning harbor views. Admission to the Watershed will be free for all.

“Boston’s waterfront and harbor are one of the most unique aspects of our City, and I’m pleased the ICA is supporting our creative community in this welcoming East Boston space,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “The Watershed will offer Boston a new, engaging space for art and discovery, and I welcome their investment in Boston’s diverse artists, residents, and visitors.”

“We are thrilled to be working with the ICA on this ambitious and visionary endeavor that will connect the two neighborhoods we call home – East Boston and South Boston – through art and across the Harbor,” said Tom Glynn, Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), which owns the property. “The Watershed will connect communities with Boston’s dynamic working waterfront and shine a light on its vital role in our city’s history and future.”

At the Watershed, the ICA will welcome visitors to experience immersive artworks by artists engaged with the issues of our times. The new facility is a central component of ICA’s recently completed five-year strategic plan, A Radical Welcome, designed to advance the leading center for the vibrant intersection of contemporary art and civic life in Boston. For more on the ICA’s strategic plan, visit

Award-winning firm Anmahian Winton Architects (AW) has been engaged to execute the renovation of the facility. The design will embrace the history of the building’s original design and use. Transportation from the ICA to the Watershed will be available by boat from docks adjacent to the ICA, and on the MBTA Blue Line.

Including the renovation and programming over the next five years, the project is expected to cost approximately $10 million.