Photo by Florian Holzherr
About the Watershed
Located in the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina in East Boston, the ICA Watershed transforms a 15,000-square-foot, formerly condemned space into a new civic and cultural asset. Award-winning firm Anmahian Winton Architects designed the renovation of the derelict former copper pipe facility, conserving its industrial feel while restoring the building for new use.
The Watershed presents one exhibition each summer. Past projects include Diana Thater, a light and moving-image installation, in 2018; John Akomfrah: Purple, an immersive, six-channel video installation, in 2019; a monumental sculpture by Firelei Báez in 2021; and Revival: Materials and Monumental Forms, an exhibition of large-scale installations by six international artists who reclaim and reuse industrial and everyday materials, in 2022.
During the pandemic, the Watershed was used as a food distribution site to address a direct need within the East Boston community. In partnership with community organizations in East Boston and the museum’s caterer, The Catered Affair, boxes of much-needed fresh produce and dairy were delivered to East Boston families weekly since spring of 2020.
The Watershed also houses an orientation gallery introducing visitors to the historic shipyard, a waterside gathering place with stunning harbor views, and a flexible space for exhibitions, programming, and workshops. Past offerings in this space include exhibitions of photography by ICA Teens such as A Community in Focus: East Boston, as well as participatory projects such as Aquí y Allá, a series of programs and activities on food, home, and community co-hosted by artist Evelyn Rydz and Eastie Farm’s Kannan Thiruvengadam in 2019, and a project exploring the history of indigo by Stephen Hamilton in 2021.
The Watershed represents an exciting and creative mode of growth for the museum. With this project, the ICA has made a cross-harbor connection that is central to our vision of art, civic life, and urban vitality. It takes art beyond our walls, building upon a decade-long history of public art projects that bring together landscape, history, and contemporary art. The new facility is a central component of the ICA’s strategic plan, A Radical Welcome, designed to deepen the vibrant intersection of contemporary art and civic life in Boston.
- The Watershed is fully wheelchair and stroller accessible. Visitors who use wheelchairs may park or be dropped off directly in front of the building. Wheelchairs and gallery stools are available upon request.
- Water Shuttle: a step on and three steps down are required to board; wheelchairs and strollers may be brought on board if they are collapsible and light enough for crew to handle. Note that the Water Shuttle docks are reached by ramps with rungs and can be steep, depending on the tide, and are not wheelchair accessible.
- Service animals are welcome.
- Large-format texts are available; please ask a staff member for assistance.
- Self-serve visitor lockers are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Anything we missed? Please contact the ICA at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-478-3103 with any additional accessibility-related inquiries.
The ICA wishes to extend its enormous gratitude to the organizations that have partnered with us to codevelop unique art experiences that respond to community needs and interests: the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina, Donald McKay K-8 School, East Boston High School, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, East Boston Social Centers, Eastie Farm, the Massachusetts Port Authority, Maverick Landing Community Services, Piers Park Sailing Center Samuel Adams Elementary School, and Zumix.
East Boston has lots of restaurants to explore. Check out our neighbors in East Boston!
256 Marginal Street, Building 16
Hand pies, American, and weekend brunch
Tawakal Halal Cafe
389 Maverick Street
86 Cottage Street
Hong Kong Harbor
5 Maverick Square
Taco Mex Restaurant
65 Maverick Square
Maverick House Tavern
154 Maverick Street
Pub fare, Gastropub
La Sultana Bakery
40 Maverick Square
Colombian, pastries, desserts
Mexicali Sushi Bar
199 Sumner Street
Sushi, quick bites
D’Parma Italian Cuisine
182 Sumner Street
53 Chelsea Street
Eagle Hill Café
65 Meridian Street
150 Meridian Street
Pazza on Porter
107 Porter Street
188 Border Street
The Pizza Shuttle
239 Meridian Street
Kelley Square Pub
84 Bennington Street
Pub fare, sandwiches, pizza
339 Meridian Street
297 Chelsea Street
Latin American, BBQ
347 Chelsea Street
Day Square, 409 Chelsea Street
Explore East Boston arts
There’s lots of art to see in East Boston! Check out these local organizations:
Atlantic Works Gallery
Catch new exhibitions monthly at this warehouse gallery space less than a mile from the Watershed, open Friday and Saturday afternoons or for Third Thursday receptions from 6 to 9 PM.
East Boston Artists Group
Artists working in a range of media; stop by their biannual open studios near Maverick Square.
Harbor Arts + the Shipyard Gallery
The art you see around the Shipyard is the doing of the community nonprofit HarborArts.
Radio, youth programs, and free Sunday evening concerts in Piers Park.
Free admission to the ICA Watershed is made possible by the generosity of Alan and Vivien Hassenfeld and the Hassenfeld Family Foundation.
The ICA Watershed is supported by Vertex.