'If you build it, they will come'
That's the philosophy of four downtown arts groups looking to expand their offerings - and revitalize neighborhoods near Ground Zero
BY KARIN LIPSON
September 13, 2004
Kevin Cunningham, founder of a nonprofit multimedia company called 3-Legged Dog, stood in a cavernous ground-floor space in lower Manhattan, hunched over a small, wood and Plexiglas architectural model.
The 12,000-square-foot space on Greenwich Street, three blocks south of Ground Zero, looked like the parking garage it once was. The delicate architectural model, though, represented what it will become: the new arts and technology center of 3-Legged Dog, which specializes in large-scale, high-tech experimental theater.
"There's got to be a hip location for a neighborhood to have appeal to young professionals and the people who are going to build families," Cunningham said recently, as he pointed to the miniature wood boxes he envisions as performance spaces, digital editing studios and software-development offices.
With construction of the $3 million facility due to begin this month, 3-Legged Dog could become that quintessentially "hip location," a magnet in a still rough-around-the-edges neighborhood.
But it won't be the only one. Prompted by physical necessity and a dose of the pioneering impulse often associated with the downtown arts scene, at least three other local cultural institutions - the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Dance Space Center and Dixon Place, which supports emerging artists - are creating new, enlarged headquarters throughout lower Manhattan.