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WHAT IS GALAPAGOS ART SPACE?

Galapagos Art Space is a 9,000 sq ft Obie Award winning cultural venue located in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

We have a 1,600 sq ft lake inside our building, with island seating on the lake, and the lake is surrounded by a beautiful, operatic style mezzanine.

Yes, we said lake. We have a lake inside our building.

Galapagos was built to LEED certified status and was one of NYC‘s first 'green’ cultural venues.

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gorgeous photo by: Eric Provost

 

 

HOW DO WE FUND GALAPAGOS ART SPACE?

In order to operate, Galapagos does not accept government grants or public funding of any kind.

We believe that if the work we present is strong, communicative, and effective, audiences will support us. Since opening in Williamsburg in 1995 we’ve proved that a cultural venue operating an independent, evolved model for supporting the performing arts can indeed flourish.

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Government and the philanthropic community have important roles to play in creating venues of opportunity that serve the artistic community and the public interest. In turn, venues have a responsibility to create stable, effective business models strong enough and created with enough detail to enable them to operate independent of subsidy once they're open.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

For the last fifty years New York City has attracted the one smartest kid from everywhere.

These young savant thinkers brought with them the untested and soon-to-be transformational ideas that allowed our little islands of the coast of America to evolve separately from the mainland species. The value and function of this progressive and inclusive mechanism profoundly changed not only post war New York City, but arguably the United States as a whole.

Yet despite the largest (and only most recent) collapse of public and private funding ever experienced by the cultural ecosystem, there remains an entrenched and institutionalized resistance toward change in the business models that underpin that ecosystem. Operating with tired financial thinking and the instability of the tin-cup mentality, many cultural organizations – if indeed not the majority – operate as unsustainable entities whose missions are routinely compromised by the cyclical turbulence within the government / private funding cycle. We'll never attract the best and brightest to culture if we continue putting forth unstable conditions that cyclically result in crisis.

A direct result of this – and one that cannot be underestimated – is that culture is losing its ability to attract and incubate its next generation of savant thinkers and visioned leaders.

These best and brightest are in many cases bypassing culture entirely as they find ways to satisfy their longing to contribute by moving enthusiastically into the social-entrepreneurship, venture philanthropy, micro-finance, internet technology, app-building and social network creation spaces that are redefining what contribution and career means across wide swaths of our economy.

 

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THE FUTURE:

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New York City doesn't compete for the brightest young graduates or the most experienced minds in any industry we care about with the promise of a fine network of running paths or bike trails; we compete with culture.

No one can roll back the cost of real estate or prevent small performance space from becoming chic little clothing stores, but if being an artist or cultural thinker in New York City costs you a full time career in unrelated industry, then the best and brightest – the ones our meritocracy would obviously miss the most – won’t come to our city and allow their work to suffer just to be among our tall buildings.

As cultural participants and leaders in New York City we can’t be placeholders, bystanders in the midst of what others before us have built. We have to lead.

  - Robert Elmes
    Director, Galapagos Art Space

      robert@galapagosartspace.com

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New York is a great city, one of the greatest cultural cities to have ever risen; perhaps the greatest. But New York City could one day find itself a Paris or Rome; wonderful museum cities but cities who no longer produce much in the way of relevant artistic culture. Unbelievable you say. Impossible, that could never happen here. But while it’s certain that neither Paris nor Rome thought they’d become who they are, they are indeed who they’ve become.