Art is Happening on Governors Island

By Peggy Roalf   Friday May 24, 2013

The unofficial start of summertime in New York is now—and for my money, the best one-day destination this weekend is Governors Island. Yesterday I beat the downpour for a preview of LMCCs Building 110 Swing Space studios, which will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday.

Jeanne Verdoux, a French artist living in Brooklyn, met me at the ferry in Lower Manhattan for the ride over. Views from the upper deck are spectacular, adding to the holiday appeal: A 360o panorama encompassing Manhattan, Jersey City, Bayonne, and Brooklyn. And the scene at Soissons Landing was a hive (below), with dozens of workers installing a new landscape designed by the Dutch landscape architectural firm West 8.

Dodging backhoes and gravel trucks, we made our way to Building 110 (below, center), home of LMCCs visual and performing arts studios since 2010. Jeanne, who was an artist-in-residence last year, extended her stay as the On-Site Assistant, where she continues work on Mrs. Bones & Friends, a multi-disciplinary project that includes drawing, sculpture, photography, and animation.


Mrs. Bones… includes a retinue of characters and their belongings that Jeanne formed out of small objects found on the island. Last year, she said, it was kind of disappointing that construction crews had swept away most of the flotsam and jetsum while working on the landscaping. Hurricane Sandy, however disastrous in the region, delivered a windfall of materials that found their way into her studio.

In addition to animal heads and bones (yep, lots of dead stuff), numerous small items such as springs, ball point pen ends, and generally unidentifiable plastic bits have been transformed into unique and expressive individuals. These characters travel with Jeanne around the island where she creates tableaux to photograph and then animate. (Visit Mrs. Bones & Friends.)


After presenting the work she’s done since last year around this time, Jeanne (above) gave me a tour of the studios, where several artists were getting ready for weekend visitors. Among them were Ezra Wube, a Brooklyn artist originally from Ethiopia, Elisabeth Smolarz, a Polish artist working in Brooklyn, and Jade Yumang, a Brooklyn artist born in the Phillipines. Then I caught the 2 pm ferry back to Manhattan just in time to miss the deluge.

The Governors Island Trust operates free ferry service from lower Manhattan and Brooklyn:
From Manhattan: Ferries leave from the Battery Maritime Building, on the corner of South and Whitehall Streets. Ferries leave at 10 AM, 11 AM and then every half hour.
From Brooklyn: Ferries leave from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 at the foot of Atlantic Avenue beginning at 11 AM. Ferries run every 20 minutes.

LMCC Visual and Performing Arts Open Studios at Building 110, Saturday and Sunday, noon-5 pm. Information. All photos: Peggy Roalf.

This just in from the Trust for Governors Island

This Weekend, Get a Behind-the-Scenes Sneak Peek of Governors Island’s New Park and Public Spaces.

Come out to the Island on Saturday and Sunday and join a behind-the-scenes hard-hat tour! As a special treat, Sunday's tour will be led by none other than President of The Trust for Governors Island, Leslie Koch!

See the Park in Progress with a Behind-the-Scenes Hard-Hat Tour
Saturday, May 25, 11:30 am - 12:15 pm
Sunday, May 26, 3 pm - 3:45 pm

Join The Trust for Governors Island or members of the West 8 design team for a sneak peak of the construction of the 30 acres of new park and public spaces at the center of the Island. This tour takes visitors through the park construction site.  Space on the tours is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tours begin and end at Liggett Arch. Hard-hats and vests will be provided and closed-toe footwear is required. Children over the age of 7 are welcome on tours.

For our full schedule this weekend, visit our website. (

See you on the Island!