Although the plan to create a massive 280 acre arts district in Port Morris has been shelved, it’s disturbing that a 58-page document was created in secrecy without consulting Bronx-based artists or organizations on something that would have huge implications not just for the South Bronx but the entire borough.
First reported by Danielle Jackson via artnet last week, the article describes how local Bronx artists and organizations, including the Bronx Council on the Arts, were not even approached by Frieze to discuss this basic attempt to take over our borough by developers in the name of art.
Even Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz’s office said they had no knowledge of this project nor had anyone approached them.
The development would have called for 160,000 square feet of market rate housing, 125,000 square feet of “micro-units,” 40,000 square feet of affordable housing (whatever that means in this day and age) and up to 160,000 square feet for galleries of varying sizes. 165,000 square feet would be set aside for collaborative workspace, non-profits, and shared galleries as well.
It’s hard to imagine that this 650,000 square foot ambitious real estate development plan, that went was explored for at least a year between 2016 and 2017, would not only have gone under the radar to local residents but arts organizations and politicians as well.
“According to the 58-page document, titled “Frieze South Bronx,” the mega-development in the heavily industrial Port Morris section of the Bronx would solve a problem that has long plagued artists and galleries: the fact that they are often pushed out of “the communities that they helped cultivate.” By contrast, the Frieze-branded district would offer “a new model for housing and development that creates a permanent home for galleries, artists, and cultural institutions.”
Regardless of its status, the proposal vividly captures the vast scope of Frieze’s ambitions and posits a new, unprecedented role for an art company: community developer. It is also a testament to the ongoing real estate speculation that is rampant in the South Bronx, which in recent years has become a hotbed for development.”
What are your thoughts on this? Would love to hear more from our readers.
Check out the full story: Behind the Frieze Art Fair’s Secret Plan to Create an Art Utopia in the Bronx
How a Boy From the Bronx Became a Rodeo Star—The New York Post