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Chelsea Factory
Photograph: Courtesy of Chelsea Factory

Chelsea Factory, a massive new cultural center, just opened in Manhattan

The landmarked building will provide NY-based artists with low-cost access to rehearsal and performance spaces.

Written by
Anna Rahmanan
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Chelsea Factory is a new 14,000-square-foot cultural center in a landmarked building at 547 West 26th Street that aims to help artists during the pandemic and beyond.

The exciting new destination will specifically provide New York-based artists and community groups with low-cost access to rehearsal, performance and collaborations spaces. 

The initiative is actually a five-year pop-up housed in the same space—albeit, renovated—that was once home to dance company Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and was used by famous photographer Annie Liebovitz.

"Over the past two years, many artists have left New York City, and many cultural and community venues closed their doors. We founded Chelsea Factory to be an entrepreneurial approach to accelerate post-pandemic recovery for these groups," said Chelsea Factory founder and board chair Jim Herbert in an official statement about the opening. "Without reliance on box office or individual patron programs, artists and partners can pursue ambitious ideas with financial and creative freedom."

Community groups spanning a variety of disciplines—from tech to arts, food, audio, fashion and more—are invited to use the destination's two new, modular, fully flexible performance and exhibit spaces, which seat a total of 350 people.

Among the resident artists picked for the debut residency program, which has already begun, are choreographers, playwrights, writers, composers, directors and screenwriters. All participants will be receiving a stipend of $10,000 in addition to access to studio space and production support for their projects.

Financially, the venture is funded via philanthropic seed capital, corporate partnerships and private rental income. 

Public performances are scheduled to kick off in January of next year. 

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