The ICA Is Expanding to East Boston

A new space called the Watershed will offer free admission.

The Institute of Contemporary Art is making a leap across the harbor. The museum announced today it will expand its artistic programming with a new location in East Boston.

Dubbed the “Watershed,” the addition will occupy an industrial space along the East Boston waterfront. It will display artwork and hold public programs free of charge beginning in summer 2018.

The new satellite sits directly across the harbor from the ICA’s Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed facility in the Seaport. There are plans for visitors to be able to travel from the Seaport to the Watershed by water taxi on a seasonal basis.

“Our location on Boston Harbor places us in a unique position to activate the waterfront,” said ICA director Jill Medvedow in a statement. “With this project, the ICA will make a cross-harbor connection that is central to our notion of art, civic life, and urban vitality.”

The new programming and renovation of the 15,000-square-foot space is expected to cost about $10 million over the next five years. According to the Globe, the building will increase the ICA’s exhibition space by more than 50 percent.

The ICA tapped Anmahian Winton Architects to renovate the currently condemned facility. The firm will embrace the building’s original industrial design, creating non-traditional spaces for exhibitions and workshops, as well as a gallery chronicling history of East Boston’s shipyard. Outside, a waterfront plaza will offer views of the harbor.

Photo courtesy of ICA Boston

The Watershed is directly across from the ICA’s Seaport museum. / Photo courtesy of ICA Boston


Madeline Bilis Associate Editor at Boston Magazine @madelinebilis
mbilis@bostonmagazine.com