New David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center Will Nurture the Arts in Westchester and the World

The Pocantico Center to Adapt Historic Orangerie for Cultural and Sustainability Programming

Exterior of the Rockefeller Orangerie today. The building will be transformed to create the David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center. Photo courtesy of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Today, The Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) announced plans for the creation of the David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center, a vibrant public venue that will nurture the arts both locally and globally with world class performances and exhibits, residencies for artists working across disciplines, and space for school and community cultural functions.

The centerpiece of the plan is the adaptive reuse of the Orangerie, built by John D. Rockefeller in 1908 on the historic Rockefeller family estate and bequeathed to the nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1979 by Nelson Rockefeller. The project will transform the long-dormant building into a multipurpose performance and rehearsal space with an art gallery and flexible studio or classroom space for community programs.

Since 2012, The Pocantico Center has offered a summer series of main stage music, dance, and theater performances that draw crowds of 200 local residents to the lawn of Kykuit. While individual event capacity for these events will not increase, the new Arts Center will lengthen the annual performance series from four to eight events, offered year-round with flexible indoor-outdoor seating. Added studio and rehearsal space in the Arts Center will enable The Pocantico Center to offer nearly 50 percent more artist residencies annually to support the creative process and will expand access to cultural and educational offerings for the community. Schools and other local organizations will also be invited to host cultural programs in the new Arts Center.

“The Rockefeller properties in Westchester embody the family’s interests in the environment, historic preservation, farming and agriculture, and international engagement. A space for arts and culture is the final important piece to complete this extraordinary mosaic,” said David Rockefeller, Jr. “My hope is that the David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center will inspire and nourish a new generation of artists by providing high-quality, low-cost access to cultural events and performances, as well as a venue for community arts activities.”

In accordance with the Fund’s commitment to sustainable development, the new Arts Center will be a “net-zero” building with the goal of achieving platinum LEED certification. A nearby solar panel array and geothermal fields will produce more energy than the building consumes, and a rain garden will conserve water and reduce runoff pollutants. With these features, the Arts Center will also serve as an educational model of low-carbon development for students and other visitors.

“The new David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center will be a reflection of values long held by both the Rockefeller family and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund,” said Stephen Heintz, president of the RBF. “The addition of the Arts Center will fulfill our vision of The Pocantico Center as a multidisciplinary campus that inspires the creativity and imagination needed to build a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world.”

Interior of the Rockefeller Orangerie, lined with orange trees, ca. 1940s. Photo courtesy of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is currently in consultation with the Town of Mount Pleasant to review the renovation plans. The David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center is scheduled to open in Spring 2021.

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