Cultural Center Opens in Chelsea, Aiming to Help Artists in Pandemic

The pandemic has disrupted the lives of scores of artists across New York City, leaving many struggling to find steady work.

Now a performing arts space in Manhattan is hoping to help.

Chelsea Factory, a 14,000-square-foot cultural center on the West Side of Manhattan, announced on Tuesday it would offer performance and rehearsal space to artists trying to pursue ambitious projects in the changed coronavirus landscape. The center, backed by philanthropists and real estate executives, will operate as a “pop-up initiative” for five years and offer residencies to artists in music, dance, theater and film.

James H. Herbert II, a banking executive who is behind the project, said the aim of the center was to “to accelerate post-pandemic recovery” for artists.

“Artists and partners can pursue ambitious ideas with financial and creative freedom,” Herbert, who is the founder, chairman and co-chief executive of First Republic Bank, said in a statement.

Chelsea Factory’s first cohort of resident artists was chosen by the center’s staff with input from artistic communities. It includes, among others, the choreographers Hope Boykin and Andrea Miller; the composer Troy Anthony; and the filmmaker Luis G. Santos. They will each receive stipends of $10,000 and be given studio space as well as production support for projects.

The center also plans collaborations with local organizations such as the dance-dedicated Joyce Theater and National Black Theater.

Donald Borror, managing director of the center, said the center hoped to help artists “finish that piece that was never finished” because of the pandemic.

“We just see the ability to really move people forward in their careers,” he said in an interview.

Lauren Kiel, the center’s executive director, said its five-year timeline would allow it to be flexible.

“Bringing these resources on the scene right now in such a nimble way is a unique offering that can quickly respond to whatever is going to happen as the art sector moves through these next quite uneven, unpredictable and unprecedented few years,” she said.