Staten Island is New York City’s fastest growing county. Since 1990, its population has risen by 24%, forging an increase in the diversity of its artists and cultural groups. Drawn by easy links to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, proximity to cultural institutions, affordable rents and access to the waterfront, many have clustered in downtown neighborhoods, such as St. George.
The Staten Island arts community faces a unique set of challenges. They contend with a lack of affordable arts infrastructure, poor transportation and geographic isolation that is partly attributed to the perception that they operate “in the shadow” of Manhattan. But despite these hurdles, artists and small- to mid-sized arts groups are driving agents of activity in the area. They are navigating new paths for vibrancy, resiliency, and sustainability. Collaborative art events such as Art by the Ferry, Day De Dada, Second Saturdays Art Walk, Staten Island Museum’s Annual Fence Show, and COAHSI’s Lumen Festival are highlights that affirm Staten Island’s cultural life for the community.
AMArt, a project of Amy M. Peters, composed this short documentary illustrating a segment of Staten Island’s network of artists and cultural groups.
Also check out what COAHSI’s Program Officer Gena Mimozo’s has to say about being a local artists in this interview with The New York Times.