The Irish Arts Center announces the opening of a new building with “Where Are We Now?” by Camille O’Sullivan


Irish Arts Center announced the opening of its new building with “Where Are We Now?” by Camille O’Sullivan. December 4, 2021.

Photo by Mac Smith

The Irish Arts Center (IAC), founded in 1972, is based in New York City and is known for presenting dynamic, inspiring and collaborative experiences of the evolving arts and culture of Ireland and Irish America in a warm Irish hospitality environment. The new center will open in its much-heralded new home, a 21,700-square-foot arts center at 726 11e Avenue, with a monumental inaugural season of programming. The programming season will run from December 4, 2021 to December 2022.

Irish Arts Center Executive Director Aidan Connolly spoke about the new building saying so eagerly needed a place to come together with inspiration and hope. But this is only the beginning. Our opening season is a statement of promise and possibility. We invite artists and audiences from all walks of life to discover each other in this welcoming new home.

Photo by Mac Smith

The new building was designed by New York architects Davis Brody Bond, known for his work on the National September 11 Museum and the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center. Davis Brody Bond designed the building with consultation and support from the Office of Public Works of Ireland, the new Irish Arts Center is a historic collaboration between Irish and New Yorkers, signifying a new era in the cultural life of Irish diaspora worldwide, and providing an important new canvas for the development and presentation of the performing arts in New York City.

The Irish Arts Center has operated for decades in the New York Off-Off Broadway theatrical landscape from the humble three-story building at 553 West 51st Originally Hell’s Kitchen Street. As part of the development of the district, the organization was offered in 2006 the opportunity to potentially acquire the Cybert Tire site, on a municipal property at 11e Avenue, adjacent to the current home of the Irish Arts Center. From there, the Irish Arts Center embarked on an ambitious transformation into a vital and inclusive multidisciplinary institution deeply integrated into the cultural ecosystems of Ireland and New York.

In 2020, when construction was underway, COVID-19 hit and construction on the long-awaited monument’s new facility was forced to halt along with the rest of the world. Fortunately, with the support of its board of directors, staff and project team, government partners and community of stakeholders, the Irish Arts Center weathered the tumultuous time of the pandemic and the shutdown which followed construction and the arts in New York, with grace and squeak. The Centre’s staff, teachers and artists quickly adapted its program of approximately 40 courses per season and multidisciplinary to an online format like many other institutions.

Online courses and programs have provided modes of engagement and joy at home, and have commissioned a groundbreaking series of new works — Grásta: Grace in Uncertainty — to be experienced virtually, reaching over 400,000 people in 49 states and 123 countries. The building was able to resume construction in July 2020 and the building was completed within its budget of $ 60 million, ensuring the successful opening of a magnificent new cultural facility for New Yorkers as the the cultural soul of Ireland and New York is restored and alive with the retreat of the pandemic.

Irish Arts Center

The first event of the inaugural season is “Where Are We Now? »By Camille O’Sullivan. Which will run from December 4, 2021 to December 31, 2021. The building will officially open its doors on December 8. trip to mark this extraordinary moment.

Backed by a world-class ensemble of musicians, including longtime collaborator Feargal Murray on piano, Camille’s rhapsodic renditions of an eclectic assemblage of songs from iconic New York and Irish songwriters demand – as we turn the page of a new chapter – Where are we now?

For more information on the Irish Arts Center and its upcoming season, visit their website here.


William E. Bennett