Moving Chains Governors Island. Credit Timothy Schenck

Performances interrogating the Island’s colonial history and celebrating Indigenous People’s Day, plus new exhibitions from New Art Dealers Alliance and Escaping Time: Art for U.S. Prisons, anchor fall arts season on Governors Island

The American Manifest: Moving Chains, Charles Gaines’s monumental public artwork, extended through October.

The Trust for Governors Island today announced a schedule of free programming and exhibitions for Governors Island Arts’ fall season, including free performances by Modesto “Flako” Jimenez and Indigenous Enterprise, along with new exhibitions from the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA), Escaping Time: Art from U.S. Prisons, and other NYC-based nonprofit organizations. In addition, The Trust announced the extension of Charles Gaines’s monumental artwork Moving Chains, which will be open to the public through October.

“Governors Island is bursting with activity 365 days a year—and the fall is no exception. The new arts programming announced today further cements the Island as one of our city’s most dynamic, responsive destinations for the arts.” said Clare Newman, President & CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “We encourage visitors to join us on the Island this fall to experience our exciting roster of free arts and cultural offerings—along with some of the best fall foliage in New York City!”

“We cannot wait to welcome New Yorkers from all five boroughs to experience Governors Island Arts this fall,” said Meredith Johnson, VP of Art and Culture at the Trust for Governors Island. “We are energized by this new slate of performances and public programs and are grateful to our immense group of partners working alongside us here on the Island.” 


Governors Island Arts will present two weekends of free performances in September and October: ¡Harken! by Modesto “Flako” Jimenez, which guides visitors through the intertwined histories of Juan Rodriguez, the first non-indigenous resident of Manhattan, and dance performances from Indigenous Enterprise in honor of Indigenous People’s Day. 


September 29-October 1

¡Harken! Created and performed by Modesto “Flako” Jimenez, is an immersive experience that guides visitors through the few pages of history written about Juan Rodriguez. Also referred to as Jan Rodrigues, a black or mulatto free man from Saint Domingo (now the Dominican Republic), Rodrigues traded fur for Thijs Volckenz Mossel, the commander of the Jonge Tobias ship exploring North America for Its economic potential after the Henry Hudson exploration in 1609. Join us and take in Rodrigues’s and Governors Island’s layered history brought together through poetry, guided experience, and storytelling, offering a look into humanity’s intermingling of races and ethnicities and who gets to author those stories.

Indigenous Enterprise

October 7-9

Indigenous Enterprise will present free dance performances in honor of Indigenous People’s Day (October 9). Indigenous Enterprise is a Native American collective founded in 2015 and based in Phoenix, Arizona. The company was established with the goal of sharing the positive aspects of indigenous culture through film, fashion, and dance. Since their founding, Indigenous Enterprise has become one of the most dynamic and exciting cultural companies in the world. Their performances have captivated audiences at some of the most iconic venues and events, including the Super Bowl, Sydney Opera House, Joyce Theater, and the 2020 Presidential Inauguration. They have received critical acclaim from publications such as the New York Times and Vogue Magazine for their captivating performances and stunning visual artistry. Through their work, Indigenous Enterprise is dedicated to preserving and promoting indigenous culture in a positive and inspiring way.


Each year, two dozen arts, culture, educational, and environmental nonprofits utilize space inside the historic houses of Nolan Park and Colonels Row to present a robust calendar of free public programs, host artist residencies, and engage visitors in special activities for all ages throughout the summer months. Organizations in Residence are open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11am to 5pm from May 5 through October 29. 

Organizations joining the current group of nonprofits in Nolan Park and Colonels Row for the fall season include New Art Dealers Alliance and Escaping Time: Art from U.S. Prisons, along with several new exhibitions and events from many current Organizations in Residence. See the full list of organizations and events at New programming highlights include:

New Art Dealers Alliance

Nolan Park Building 18

  • September 1-October 1: NADA House, an annual collaborative exhibition that brings together 26 art galleries and art spaces to present 26 artists, with participants engaging the unique character of the 19th century former military residence and exhibiting work in a diverse range of mediums.

Escaping Time: Art from U.S. Prisons

Nolan Park Building 8B

  • September 1-October 29: Escaping Time: Art from U.S. Prisons exhibits and sells artworks created within prison walls nationwide, working to disrupt the stereotype society imagines when thinking about the incarcerated. 

Billion Oyster Project

Nolan Park Building 16

  • September 1-October 29: Aquacultural Adaption, a compilation of work from third year Pratt Institute Master of Architecture candidates that explore the linkages across ecosystems, people, and animals through the lens of an architectural construct. 
  • September 3-October 29: Shoals, an oyster-inspired sculptural exhibit by Swedish artist Linnéa Gad, curated by Bianca Abdi-Boragi, Katherine Adams, and Anna Mikaela Ekstrand. Shoals is part of The Immigrant Artist Biennial 2023, held across venues in New York and New Jersey from September 2023 to January 2024.

New York Latin American Art Triennial

Colonels Row Building 405B

  • September 2-25: Volver a Regresar, a solo show by Paola Martínez Fiterre
  • September 2-25: The denied Body: a refuge of trauma, a solo show by Natacha Voliakovsky. Presented in partnership with Transborder Art in Colonels Row Building 406A. 


Colonels Row Building 404B

  • August 19-September 24: It’s a most peculiar sensation; or that time Virginia Woolf wore Blackface, a solo exhibition by Toisha Tucker featuring a Virginia Woolf alter, video, works on paper, sculptures, and an immersive conceptual installation
  • September 29-October 29: Solo exhibition from artist Alex Mari.
  • October 6: Free film screening at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center at Governors Island in partnership with Gotham Yardbird Sanctuary.

West Harlem Art Fund

Nolan Park, Building 10B 

  • September 9-October 29: Undaunted: We Are Still Here, honors cultural movements that withstood misunderstandings, economic upheaval, and continual struggle. The exhibition will present a mashup of graffiti, prints, installation, and portraits; including a tattoo salon by Badder Ink and the Art Kartel. Curated by Savona Bailey-McClain and featuring works by Damali Abrams, Kraig Blue, Valerie Hallier, Dianne Hebbert, Badder Israel, Mark Gaston Pearce, Dianne Smith, Siyan Wong.


The American Manifest Chapter Two: Moving Chains, by Charles Gaines, has been extended through the end of October. Moving Chains is open to the public Thursday through Sunday and is presented by Governors Island Arts, Creative Time, and Times Square Arts. Moving Chains is a 110-foot-long kinetic sculpture—the artist’s first public artwork—that calls attention to the economic, judicial, and political frameworks that continue the legacy of slavery in the United States today.

Sam Van Aken’s monumental The Open Orchard, on view in the Island’s award-winning, climate-resilient park, welcomes visitors year-round to experience the changing seasons in this orchard comprised of 102 fruit trees that acts as a living archive for antique and heirloom varieties that were grown in and around New York City in the past 400 years but have mostly disappeared due to climate change and the industrialization of agriculture. Additional long-term public art installations commissioned through Governors Island Arts—including Rachel Whiteread’s Cabin, Mark Handforth’s Yankee Hanger, Duke Riley’s Not for Nutten, and Mark Dion’s The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist—remain on view daily. 

Governors Island Arts was a key commitment in New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery, with today’s announcement marks the second set of new initiatives. 

Governors Island Arts presents its program with the visionary support of the Ford Foundation, as well the Mellon Foundation, the Charina Endowment Fund, Donald R. Mullen Family Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Gottesman Fund, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

About Governors Island Arts

Governors Island Arts, the public arts and cultural program presented by the Trust for Governors Island, creates transformative encounters with art for all New Yorkers, inviting artists and researchers to engage with the issues of our time in the context of the Island’s layered histories, environments, and architecture. Governors Island Arts achieves this mission through temporary and long-term public art commissions, an annual Organization in Residence program in the Island’s historic houses, and free public programs and events in partnership with a wide range of cross-disciplinary NYC cultural organizations. For more information, visit   

About the Trust for Governors Island

The Trust for Governors Island is the nonprofit corporation created by the City of New York that is responsible for the redevelopment and operation of 150 acres of Governors Island. The Trust’s mission is to realize the full potential of Governors Island for the inspiration and enjoyment of all New Yorkers, demonstrating a bold vision for public space. For more information, visit