Irish Arts Center’s new $60M arts hub opens in Hell’s Kitchen next month

November 1, 2021

Photo by Mac Smith.

The non-profit organization Irish Arts Center (IAC) will open the doors of a 21,700-square-foot space at 726 11th Avenue in early December. The long-awaited arts hub will occupy a century-old tire shop and garage after a decade-long transformation of the $60 million building led by New York-based architects Davis Brody Bond, the firm behind the National September 11 Museum and The Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center, along with Ireland’s Office of Public Works. Inaugural programming for the new center will include theatrical performance, dance, music, visual arts, literature, and education, beginning with Camille O’Sullivan’s “Where Are We Now?”

Photo by Mac Smith.

The new facility boasts a flexible state-of-the-art theatrical performance space, a ground floor cafe, a new studio for classes, rehearsals, community gatherings, and a library classroom and patron lounge. The performance space was designed by Davis Brody Bond with theater design firm Fisher Dachs Associates (The Shed, Park Avenue Armory) and acoustic design by Jaffe Holden Acoustics (Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, The Juilliard School).

Founded in 1972, the organization has been housed for decades in a next-door tenement building.

The center will host world-class contemporary dance, eclectic live music, a center for art and ideas–featuring the 13th Annual PoetryFest, visual arts, community and family programming, digital programming, and education. Inaugural season programming will feature new work from artists including Enda Walsh, Dead Centre, Lyric Theatre, Belfast, Oona Doherty, Mufutau Yusef, Seán Curran and Darrah Carr, Martin Hayes, the Common Ground Ensemble, Jake Blount, Nic Gareiss, Tatiana Hargreaves, and Allison de Groot, Enda Gallery, Tolu Makay, Clare Sands, and Strange Boy, Utsav Lal, Sam Comerford, Linda Buckley, Ganavya and Nitin Mitta, Anna Mieke, Pillow Queens, Ye Vagabonds, Branar, and more.

The first season’s premiere event will be Camille O’Sullivan’s “Where Are We Now?” (December 4, 2021-December 31, 2021). The official opening for both the performance and the building will be December 8.

IAC has also announced a new collaboration with the New York-based Emmy-winning arts and culture hub ALL ARTS on a suite of upcoming programs as part of ALL ARTS Radio Hour, available on 88.3 WLIW-FM, Long Island’s only NPR station,, and podcast platforms. The first program for the partnership will be the 13th Annual PoetryFest, followed by the 12th season of Muldoon’s Picnic, a music and storytelling event hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon.

The new arts center marks an important new chapter in the development of the performing arts in New York City as well as being a reflection of Ireland’s history as a land of poets and its future as a diverse, innovative cultural force.

“We are deeply appreciative that our artistic community—inclusive of both traditional and contemporary artistic practice, across all disciplines—has chosen to take risks with us, to grow with us,” Rachael Gilkey, Irish Arts Center’s Director of Programming, said. “The artists are the heart of the New Irish Arts Center, and our new building is for them.”


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