Photo by Florian Holzherr
The ICA Watershed, opened in the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina in summer 2018, transformed a 15,000-square-foot, formerly condemned space into a vast and welcoming venue to see and experience large-scale art in East Boston.
Admission to the Watershed is always free, and Water Shuttle transportation between the Watershed and the ICA is included in ICA admission.
In its second season, the Watershed will present the U.S. premiere of the immersive video installation Purple by acclaimed artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah. Combining hundreds of hours of archival footage with newly shot film and a hypnotic sound score, Purple addresses themes related to the implications of climate change across the planet and its effects on human communities, biodiversity, and the wilderness. Symphonic in scale, Purple resonates deeply with the Watershed’s industrial building, its location within the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina, and its proximity to the current and historical maritime industries of East Boston.
The Watershed also features a gallery dedicated to the rich history of the shipyard and East Boston more broadly, with an overview of the area’s development into the vibrant community it is today. The Harbor Room, a space for gathering and education projects, leads to an outdoor patio overlooking Boston Harbor and the skyline. In 2019 this community area will feature Aquí y allá: juntos a la mesa (Here and There: Together at the Table), a project by artist Evelyn Rydz in collaboration with Kannan Thiruvengadam of Eastie Farm, as well as A Community in Focus: East Boston, an exhibition of photography by ICA teens.
Season schedule + hours
A seasonal space, the Watershed is open May 26 through September 2:
Tue + Wed: 11 AM–5 PM
Thu + Fri: 11 AM–9 PM
Sat + Sun: 11 AM–5 PM
Don’t miss special community days Memorial Day and Labor Day, when admission will be free at the ICA as well.
East Boston residents and ICA members are invited to special preview days May 23–25.
Admission + Water Shuttle reservations
Admission to the Watershed is free for all.
Purchase an ICA admission ticket, or become an ICA member, and enjoy complimentary Water Shuttle service to and from the Seaport. Regular admission and water shuttle tickets can be reserved online in advance. Advance reservations are recommended; limited tickets are also available day-of at the Box Office at the ICA main building or at the Watershed on a first-come, first-served basis for both ICA Members and visitors. Reminder for ICA members: although you always ride free, you still need to reserve a timed Water Shuttle ticket online or at the Box Office before boarding!
Visiting with kids?
Youth 17 and under are always admitted free to the ICA – but be sure to reserve a Water Shuttle ticket for each passenger. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult when using the Water Shuttle.
Starting in East Boston?
ICA admission is required to board the Water Shuttle. Admission and Water Shuttle tickets can be reserved at the Watershed.
Note: Admission + Water Shuttle reservations are final sale and cannot be refunded or exchanged. Special offers may not include Water Shuttle service to the ICA Watershed.
Members get first dibs!
ICA members always get first chance to reserve Water Shuttle tickets:
- To visit through July 4: tickets available May 7 for members and May 14 for general public
- To visit July 5 through September 2: tickets available June 18 for members and June 25 for general public
Ticket release dates subject to change.
The Watershed is located within the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina in East Boston at 256 Marginal Street.
ICA Water Shuttle Service
Transportation between the ICA and the Watershed is available by Water Shuttle. (Space is limited; availability is first come, first served. See “Admission and Water Shuttle Reservations” above for more information). Water Shuttle service is provided through Boston Harbor Cruises. Note: 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. Boston Harbor Cruises crew is available for assistance.
Private Water Taxi
Call Boston Harbor Cruises to book a private water taxi at 617-227-4320. ICA Visitors get $2 off per ticket (one-way) with proof of ICA admission. The closest stop to the ICA is Stop 9 at Fan Pier; the closest stop to the Watershed is Stop 68 at the Shipyard.
Visitors can also reach the Watershed by public transportation – the building is 0.5 miles from Maverick Station on the Blue Line.
- Accessible parking is available at the Watershed; there is no public parking.
ICA to the ICA Watershed
Board at Fan Pier, just outside the ICA. Please arrive at least 5 minutes before departure.
Purchase your ticket in advance online and head straight to the boat!
Download printable schedule
|TUE – WED||THU – FRI||SAT – SUN|
|11 AM||11 AM||11 AM|
|11:30 AM||11:30 AM|
|12 PM||12 PM||12 PM|
|12:30 PM||12:30 PM|
|1 PM||1 PM||1 PM|
|1:30 PM||1:30 PM|
|2 PM||2 PM||2 PM|
|2:30 PM||2:30 PM|
|3 PM||3 PM|
|3:30 PM||3:30 PM|
|4 PM||4 PM||
|5 PM*||5 PM||5 PM*|
* First-come, first-served ferries for visitors returning to East Boston
ICA Watershed to the ICA
Board at Piers Park Sailing Center
Note that the dock is 0.2 miles from the Watershed. See additional accessibility information below.
|TUE – WED||THU – FRI||SAT – SUN|
|11:30 AM||11:30 AM||11:30 AM|
|12 PM||12 PM|
|12:30 PM||12:30 PM||12:30 PM|
|1 PM||1 PM|
|1:30 PM||1:30 PM||1:30 PM|
|2 PM||2 PM|
|2:30 PM||2:30 PM|
|3 PM||3 PM|
|3:30 PM||3:30 PM||
|4:30 PM||4:30 PM||4:30 PM|
|5 PM||5 PM*|
|5:30 PM*||5:30 PM*||5:30 PM*|
* First-come, first-served ferries for visitors returning to the Seaport
- The Watershed is fully wheelchair and stroller accessible. Visitors who use wheelchairs may be dropped off or park directly in front of the building. Wheelchairs and gallery stools are also 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. Boston Harbor Cruises crew is available for assistance. The Piers Park dock is 0.2 miles from the ICA Watershed.
- Note: Purple is a 62-minute film installation with minimal dialogue; a transcript of the film is available at the Watershed. Sign language interpretation is available where necessitated by programming; please contact the Box Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-478-3103 in advance to request.
- 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.
Please contact the ICA at email@example.com or 617-478-3103 with any additional accessibility-related inquiries.
Click the link below for more information and to schedule a tour or group visit at the ICA Watershed.
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.
Each summer, the ICA will invite one artist to create a site-specific work or installation. In addition to a flexible space for exhibitions, programming, and workshops, the Watershed also houses an orientation gallery introducing visitors to the historic shipyard and a waterside gathering place with stunning harbor views.
The Watershed represents an exciting and creative mode of growth for the museum. With this project, the ICA will make 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 recently completed five-year strategic plan, A Radical Welcome, designed to deepen the vibrant intersection of contemporary art and civic life in Boston.
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, the Massachusetts Port Authority, Maverick Landing Community Services, Piers Park Sailing Center Samuel Adams Elementary School, and Zumix.
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.
Do I need a ticket to ride the Water Shuttle from East Boston to the ICA?
You don’t need to reserve a timed ticket, but you do need to check in at the Watershed and get a wristband to board the Water Shuttle. Access is first come, first served.
Do boats ever get canceled for weather?
The Water Shuttle runs rain or shine. Under very stormy conditions, Boston Harbor Cruises determines if cancellations are necessary. Refunds will be distributed only if Boston Harbor Cruises needs to stop service; refunds will be distributed day of cancellation by the ICA’s Visitor Services Associates at the Watershed Welcome Desk and at the Holly and David Bruce Visitor Desk in the Seaport location.
I’d like to see Purple in its entirety. How should I schedule my visit?
Below is a schedule of start times for Purple for those who would like to see the work in its entirety (encouraged). The ICA Water Shuttle is just a six-minute ride, but we would recommend leaving the ICA at least 30 minutes before the desired start time to allow time to get to the Watershed from the dock (a 0.2 mile distance) and to settle in.
Start times Tue, Wed, Sat + Sun:
|11:15 AM||2:21 PM|
|12:17 PM||3:23 PM|
|1:19 PM||4:25 PM *|
Plus Thu + Fri, when the Watershed is open until 9:
|5:27 PM||7:31 PM|
|6:29 PM||8:33 PM *|
* Incomplete screenings
Free admission to the ICA Watershed is made possible by the generosity of Alan and Vivien Hassenfeld and the Hassenfeld Family Foundation.
The Boston Foundation welcomes you to the ICA Watershed.
The ICA Watershed is supported by Fund for the Arts, a public art program of the New England Foundation for the Arts.