“Nine years after moving into its waterfront building, the Institute of Contemporary Art is hoping to expand into an adjacent office tower and increase its gallery space by a third.
At the heart of a proposal before the Boston Redevelopment Authority is the museum’s effort to take up two floors worth of space in a 17-story tower being developed across the street by the Fallon Co., probably linked by a sky bridge. The expansion would increase the museum’s usable footprint by 19,000 square feet.” —Boston Globe
The Globe today reports that the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston intends to expand its facility on the harbor, which opened nine years ago to a lot of fanfare on the Fan Pier. The new building was part of a construction and renovation boom in the Boston museum world with mega-projects at the Museum of Fine Arts and Gardner Museum, all of which raised the city’s profile as an arts destination and tourist magnet. This latest development should not go unnoticed in Lowell, which wants to compete in the region for attention in the visual arts and as a cultural attraction in general, mixing a vibrant arts scene with nationally significant history and world culture experiences. In the past 20 years, individual artists have come to the city as “cultural immigrants” in the words of Maxine Farkas–by the hundreds–to work in studios and sometimes to live here. Galleries are opening downtown as a natural outcome. As a community, Lowell has to think about how to take its cultural game up a notch in response to the way artists have voted with their feet for Lowell by coming here, whether painters and sculptors or musicians, actors, dancers, designers, photographers, filmmakers, and writers. And the same goes for acknowledging the commitment of the managers of arts and humanities programs and venues, board members, donors, and volunteers who help keep the many cultural activities going. All these folks need to know that the community is working in their interest and appreciates their faith and commitment. Boston is moving forward–adding museum space, new music festivals, massively fascinating public art on its Greenway, and more.