Westbeth Artist Housing

Westbeth, one of the first and largest artists’ housing complexes in the world, celebrated its 50th anniversary year in 2020-1. Luce Productions worked with the community to produce Westbeth at 50, an exhibition showcasing and honoring the five decades of artistic innovation that has taken place within Westbeth’s walls. The exhibition included large-scale photographs of original tenants by Frankie Alduino, a timeline of some of the many artists, activists, writers, musicians, and performers that have passed through the building, and a montage of photographs by Leonard Freed, published in Avant Garde Magazine, that show snapshots of life in the building after its opening in 1970.

Westbeth provides affordable live-work space for nearly 400 artists and their families. Located at the historic site of the former Bell Laboratories campus in the West Village, Westbeth comprises an entire New York City block facing the Hudson River. Westbeth opened in 1970 as an early example of large-scale adaptive reuse of an industrial building. One of the largest artists’ housing facilities in the world, Westbeth was home to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for over 40 years. It now houses the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, The New School for Drama graduate program, the School for Poetic Computation and other arts nonprofits.

Photos by Michael Vahrenwald.