Chelsea Factory, a new art and collaboration center, opens in NYC

Chelsea Factory, a newly renovated arts and community center, opens this fall in New York City to provide affordable access to New York-based artists and community groups to rehearsal, performance, and collaboration spaces. Originally constructed in 1914, this 14,000-square-foot listed building at 547 West 26th Street in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan was previously the home of the critically acclaimed dance company Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and world-famous photographer Annie Liebovitz. For the first time in its history, this unique and historic space is now available for broad public use by artists and the community.

The Chelsea Factory was designed as a five-year pop-up initiative to respond quickly to post-pandemic recovery needs, hosting artists and community groups focusing on the arts, food, fashion, spoken word, audio / podcasts, citizen services and technology. It will also feature dynamic performances and programs curated in collaboration with diverse and dynamic New York cultural organizations. The Chelsea Factory mission and program emphasize supporting and creating opportunities for historically excluded talent.

The first cohort of 2021-2022 resident artists includes the composer Troy Anthony; Dancer / choreographer Hope Boykin; contemporary performance company GALLIM; and filmmaker Luis G. Santos, among others. Performance and programmatic partnerships with productive organizations such as Harlem Stage, National Black Theater, and The Joyce Theater will begin in January 2022. Community partnerships range from social dance events and volunteer activities to vintage clothing markets and accessible arts education. Initial training partners include Opening Act and Studio School for Design.

Chelsea Factory is inspired by the business vision of Jim Herbert, who serves as the founder and chairman of the board, and is also the founder, chairman and co-CEO of First Republic Bank. This innovative company combines philanthropic seed capital, corporate partnerships and private rental income to provide space and support for artists and the community to rethink the future and revitalize it after the pandemic. Incorporation support is provided by Herbert and the First Republic Foundation, with additional support from affiliates and the Vornado Realty Trust.

“In the past two years, many artists have left New York City and many cultural and community institutions have closed their doors. We started Chelsea Factory as a business approach to accelerate these post-pandemic groups individual funding programs, artists and partners can pursue ambitious ideas with financial and creative freedom, “said Jim Herbert, founder and chairman of the board of Chelsea Factory who is also founder, chairman of the board and is Co-CEO of First Republic Bank.

The Chelsea Factory residency program offers financial support, peer working groups, access to a strong community of artists and potential supporters, purpose-built studio space, live streaming, tech equipment and assistance. Chelsea Factory, in partnership with Ghetto Film School, hired an in-house filmmaker to create digital content for each artist. By welcoming artists at turning points in their careers, Chelsea Factory aims to enable transformative experiences that will become meaningful milestones for many careers.

Chelsea Factory will open under the leadership of Executive Director Lauren Kiel, who previously served as Executive Director of the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, and Managing Director Donald Borror, who previously served as Executive Director of Dorrance Dance .

“Every partnership with Chelsea Factory starts with the question, ‘What do you need and how can we help in a unique way?'” Said Executive Director Lauren Kiel and Managing Director Donald Borror. “We are not committed to any particular aesthetic vision or a rigid program model. Our limited operating horizon of five years enables us to concentrate on supporting our artistic partners quickly and nimbly and at the same time freeing ourselves from the constraints of typical institution building.”

The Chelsea Factory residences begin in late November and public performances begin in January 2022. Private rental bookings are currently available. For more information, visit or send an email to [email protected]

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