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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
photos courtesy of:
Kristin Lucas, Jenn & Kevin McCoy, Nadine Robinson, Diane Ludin,
Stephen Vitiello, Sonya Sklaroff, Gelatin, Monika
background image by: