International Paper Donates Historic Riverside Building

Mar 08, 1999

Governor George E. Pataki today joined Dia Center for the Arts Chairman Leonard Riggio, International Paper's Chief Executive Officer John T. Dillon and State and local officials from Dutchess County to announce that Dia Center for the Arts will open a new contemporary art museum along the Hudson River in Beacon. A unique public/private/non-profit team approach will enable Dia to undertake a $20 million renovation of an historic factory building to house its world-class collection of painting and sculpture.

"The arts lift the spirit, challenge the mind and enrich all of us," Governor Pataki said. "New York offers the richest and most diverse arts and cultural opportunities in the world, and with this announcement we just got even better.

"This world-class collection would not be coming to Beacon if not for the tremendous generosity of International Paper and the vision of Dia's Board of Trustees. Our extraordinary team effort will not only bring priceless works of art to the Hudson Valley, it will also help to revitalize the Beacon waterfront community.

"The Hudson Valley is the birthplace of American Art," the Governor said. "Dia's world-class collection in Beacon will preserve the Hudson Valley's rich cultural legacy, exhibit our contemporary treasures, and encourage tomorrow's masters. This is great news for Beacon that will profoundly impact the future of the arts and tourism in the Valley."

The 292,000-square-foot former paperboard factory off Walcott Avenue and 26 surrounding acres will be donated to Dia by its current owner, International Paper Company.

"When the Governor's office first approached us and described the prospect of turning our Beacon property into a fantastic art center for the people of the Mid-Hudson Valley, I could not have been more enthusiastic," said John T. Dillon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of International Paper. "The employees of International Paper have a proud tradition of being responsible members of the community where we live and work, and we are pleased to have this opportunity to give back to the people of New York, and put this unused property to good use."

International Paper is a world-wide producer of paper and forest products with corporate headquarters in Purchase. The company is New York's largest private landowner and operates more than a dozen facilities across the State.

Dia, based in New York City, also has galleries in Pittsburgh, Houston, New Mexico and Long Island. For two decades, Dia has been a pioneer in the restoration and conversion of large industrial buildings for public display of contemporary art. Their Beacon branch will enable Dia to exhibit large portions of its rare and vast collection which are now in storage in Houston and New York City.

Dia Chairman, Leonard Riggio said, "Working with New York State and through the generosity of International Paper, this project realizes Dia's longstanding dream to create a dramatic public presentation of its extraordinary collection. Governor Pataki's leadership in the arts community is so impressive that we wanted to be where the arts are supported and appreciated. After exploring many alternative sites, we have concluded that this building and the scenic Hudson Valley Region will provide the perfect setting to present our vision of Dia. In addition, the juxtaposition of our masterpieces of contemporary art within this historic facility promises to enthrall visitors with an experience of art unlike any other in the world."

Dia will dedicate approximately 160,000 square feet for a public gallery and divide the remaining space among offices, a bookshop and possibly a restaurant. In addition, the site will eventually accommodate the display of large sculpture in an outdoor park. The museum will employ a total of 18 people within the next three years.

The Dia museum in Beacon, which will exhibit masterpieces from its collection ranging from Andy Warhol's 1979 Shadows to Richard Serra's recently acquired Torqued Ellipses, will become one of the world's finest installations of the work of major American and European artists of the last four decades.

Charles A Gargano, Chairman of Empire State Development said, "Dia will not only provide an economic boon to Beacon and the region, it will also increase tourism and improve the city's waterfront."

New York State collaborated with Dutchess County, and the City of Beacon to provide capital grants for the remediation and renovation of the site.

Dutchess County Executive William Steinhaus said, "Governor Pataki's commitment to this project made it happen. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and willingness of Dia's Board members to consider Dutchess when we hosted them at the site last September. Their decision to choose Dutchess will add a wonderful new cultural asset to our county and the exciting, visionary plan we are successfully building for our waterfronts and our Greenway plan."

Senator Steve Saland said, "The Hudson Valley abounds with historic sites, river views, galleries, gardens, trails and tourist activities -- and now Dia Center for the Arts, anchored in our own City of Beacon. This project demonstrates not only our commitment to the arts, but again acknowledges the interrelation of the arts with economic development. It truly furthers the already impressive economic accomplishments of Dutchess County, the Hudson Valley and New York State as a whole. I am pleased to be a part of it."

Assemblyman Tom Kirwin said, "This is a great coup for the City of Beacon and Dutchess County and will enhance Beacon's charm. It continues the cultural Renaissance of Beacon and the Hudson Valley."

Beacon Mayor Clara Lou Gould said, "It's very exciting that Dia Center for the Arts has recognized the possibilities of one of our buildings and the advantages of our Hudson Valley location. The Arts are industry, the Arts are education, the Arts are a tourist destination -- the Arts are definitely economic development. We welcome Dia Center for the Arts to our community and look forward to the very positive impact they will have."

Scenic Hudson Chairman David Redden said, "Dia's plans demonstrate a community's vision for its future, when based on a quality environment, will attract uses that contribute to cultural and economic vitality. Just as the natural world inspired the Hudson River School painters a century ago, Beacon's magnificent setting has captivated Dia's imagination today."

The Hudson Valley Greenway recently contributed $125,000 to Scenic Hudson towards the construction of the Madam Brett Walkway along the Fishkill Creek just to the south of the museum site. Scenic Hudson and the City of Beacon plan to redevelop the waterfront property immediately across the railroad from the museum site as a mixed-use commercial and park project.

Metro North Railroad's commitment to provide safe access to the Hudson River waterfront across its rail lines will give direct access to the new Dia museum. The Beacon waterfront is one of the most important locations for such access to be constructed, given Dennings Point State Park's location on the river side of the rail line.

State Council on the Arts Chairman Richard J. Schwartz said, "The opening of the museum will add to the cultural experience along the Hudson, including Storm King, Hyde Park, Olana, and the burgeoning art and antique district in Hudson. It will be welcomed with open arms by the entire cultural community, which has thrived under Governor Pataki's leadership."

Under Governor Pataki, funding for the Council on the Arts over the past five years will have been increased by 41.3 percent, from $32.7 million to $46.2 million, including a 37.3 percent increase in arts grants from $30.0 million to $41.2 million.

Dia Center for the Arts is eligible for: a $2 million grant from Governor Pataki; $100,000 grant for renovation of the facility from Empire State Development; $250,000 from Dutchess County; $250,000 from the City of Beacon; $150,000 from Senator Stephen Saland; and $50,000 from the New York State Council on the Arts.

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For additional information or materials contact:
Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, or 212 293 5518

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