Photo by Florian Holzherr
In summer 2018, the ICA opened the ICA Watershed in East Boston. Located in the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina, the ICA Watershed transformed a 15,000-square-foot, formerly condemned space into a vast and welcoming space to see and experience large-scale art.
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 an exhibition of photography by ICA teens and an installation exploring the impacts of climate change.
Admission to the Watershed is always free, and ferry transportation between the Watershed and the ICA is included in ICA admission.
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; for its inaugural year, artist Diana Thater illuminated the Watershed with colored light and moving-image projections that reflect on the fragility of the natural world. In addition to a flexible space for exhibitions, programming, and workshops, the Watershed will house 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, Sociedad Latina at Mario Umana Academy, and Zumix.
Explore East Boston arts
There’s lots of art to see in East Boston! Check out these local organizations:
Free admission to the Watershed is made possible by the generosity of Alan and Vivien Hassenfeld and the Hassenfeld Family Foundation.
The ICA Watershed is supported by Fund for the Arts, a public art program of the New England Foundation for the Arts.