The Bronx Museum of the Arts has announced plans to opening a satellite facility in Lower Manhattan, as part of its Artists in the Marketplace (AIM) program. The new annex will be located at 80 White Street, a landmarked building in eastern Tribeca. The AIM program offers guidance to emerging New York City-based artists related to professional development, as well as assistance in designing and producing exhibitions.
The loft building at 80 White Street is already a nexus of the Lower Manhattan art scene, serving as the headquarters of Artists Space, a nonprofit gallery that helped spark Downtown’s reputation as a mecca for painters and sculptors in the 1970s.
Erected in the late 1860s as a warehouse for a local carpet dealer, the building for much of the 20th century recently housed General Tools, an equipment manufacturer that made its reputation in the 1920s by inventing the egg slicer, before branching out into items like clothesline pulleys and screen-door hardware.
In 2014, General Tools chairman Gerald Weinstein (grandson of the firm’s founder) sold the company to private equity firm Highroad Capital Partners, but he didn’t sell the building, Instead, in 2016, he redeveloped it from a warehouse into high end offices and apartments.
The 4,500-square-foot, second floor space that the Bronx Museum will occupy at 80 White Street is being donated by Mr. Weinstein, his brother, Martin Weinstein, and the latter’s wife, Teresa Liszka. This appears to be an act of philanthropy close to the family’s collective heart: Martin Weinstein and Ms. Liszka are both working artists, while Gerald Weinstein describes himself as, “a documentary photographer of urban and industrial landscapes, specializing in archaeology and historic preservation.”
In some ways, this donation can be seen as the culmination of a decades-long history: In 1980, Martin Weinstein and Ms. Liszka also founded a non-profit organization to support the arts in Lower Manhattan. The group’s name, Art in General, was a punning reference to the fact that it was originally located within the General Hardware building. (That organization has since moved to Brooklyn.)
The facility 80 White Street will host a continuing series of exhibitions, performances, lectures, and workshops at which the public will be invited to interact with artists.
Deborah Cullen, executive director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts, said, “room for artists to work, think, and experiment is vital. This new program at 80 White Street will afford exactly this opportunity. It’s an opportunity for us to bring the best of the Bronx into another space.”