Being an artist at the World Trade Center
World Views artists-in-residence remember their time in the towers


Gelatin - The B-Thing Stephen Vitiello speaker installation
Gelatin - The B-Thing


Starting in 1996, an artist named Carl Scorza submitted a proposal to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) to use vacant office space as temporary artist studios. "Then as now the financial district wasn't that strong," recalls Carl. "We presented the idea to Jenny Dixon at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and she in turn asked Cherrie Nanninga, head of real state development at the World Trade Center. Cherrie said yes and as they say, the rest is history." Over the next five years the World Views program grew and Kathy Brew's New Media program Thundergulch got involved.

Open studios drew crowds, press, and new artists who in turn applied for residencies. Whether painting the amazing views from their windows on the 91st floor or building on-site interactive installations, all types of artists were challenged by their unique environment and by other artists working around them. For New York artists it was an honor and a rare treat to be given rent-free studio space and to work in the heart of the financial center of the world.

The LMCC's World Views program was going strong on the 92nd floor of One World Trade Center in the fall of 2001. Tragically, Michael Richards, a resident artist who was working in his World Views studio on the morning of September 11, was lost in the attack. His memory and the World Views art created will remain as part of the unique history of the WTC.

Here in their own words, the artists remember their time there.


Surprising Studios

Some of the remarkable messages left on the Sonic Memorial hotline were from artists who had won residencies at the WTC. Sonya Sklaroff, Kevin and Jenn McCoy, Stephen Vitiello, Kristin Lucas, and Nadine Robinson recall their reactions to their studios. Some artists were given entire sections of an unfinished, pre-renovation floor; some were placed in freshly abandoned offices. Whatever the particulars turned out to be, the WTC presented itself as a different and challenging work space for artists.


Through the Barricades

World Views artists Kevin and Jenn McCoy, Stephen Vitiello, and Diane Ludin remark on the presence of security at the WTC and its effect on their new "home away from home" studios. Artists had a particularly difficult time getting through checkpoints because they not only had a lot of equipment but they also looked different. Diane was so struck by the security measures that it influenced the content of her work.


A Stream of Audio and Ideas

Artists Jenn and Kevin McCoy and Nadine Robinson were all intrigued and influenced by the musak pumped through the towers. Nadine's piece "Tower Hollers" - an installation of speakers playing muzak mixed with work hollers - was initially inspired by a trip she took on a WTC elevator. The artists' imaginations were sparked by the building itself and then their processes morphed from one idea to the next.


Breathing of the Building

Stephen Vitiello and Kevin and Jenn McCoy tuned into some of the ambient sounds of the towers while working there. As World Views artists, they ended up capturing, incorporating, and playing with the tones emanating from the structure of the building itself.


Engaging with Infrastructure

Kristin Lucas and Kevin and Jenn McCoy speak about how the World Views artists interacted with the inner functions of the towers in ways that the office workers there couldn't imagine. In an environment quite different than that most were used to, the artists made unexpected pieces in response to their unusual surroundings.


Edited by Vanessa Bertozzi
Interviews conducted by Kathy Brew, Jamie York, and Elinoar Astrinsky

Special thanks to:

Carl Scorza, Kristin Lucas, Jenn & Kevin McCoy, Nadine Robinson, Diane Ludin, Stephen Vitiello, Sonya Sklaroff, Monika Bravo and Gelatin

Francisco Lopez, Erin Donelly and the LMCC, Don Bracken, Pia Lindman, Helen Thorington, Jo-Anne Green, Joellyn Duesberry, Bray Poor, Jim Gladman, Leif Boman, Jaime Davidovich, Glenn Branca, Olive Ahyens, Barbara Friedman, Carola Dertnig, Josh Neufeld, Joel Meyerowitz, Susannah Kelly, Alun William, Stephanie Brody Lederman, Duncan McCosker, Mary Crescenzo, Ferris Cook and Heather Priest

If you were an artist at the WTC during these years and want to share your story with us please call the Sonic Memorial Line, 877-894-8500, or email us at

    Sonya Sklaroff Painting
Gelatin - The B-Thing Kevin and Jen McCoy's airworld
out of the window    
Monika Bravo studio view
    Diane Ludin WTC Lobby
Diane Ludin WTC Lobby   Diane Ludin WTC Revolving doors
Diane Ludin WTC Revolving doors    
Nadine Robinson's piece "Tower Hollers"
    Kevin and Jen McCoy's airworld
Kristin Lucas Video   Kristin Lucas Video
Kevin and Jen McCoy's airworld    
Stephen Vitiello microphone

photos courtesy of:
Kristin Lucas, Jenn & Kevin McCoy, Nadine Robinson, Diane Ludin, Stephen Vitiello, Sonya Sklaroff, Gelatin
, Monika Bravo

background image by: