Beacon, New York
Occupying a former Nabisco box printing factory on the banks of the Hudson River, Dia:Beacon presents Dia’s collection of art from the 1960s to the present as well as special exhibitions, new commissions, and public and education programs. Since its opening in May 2003, Dia:Beacon has helped transform the city of Beacon into a vibrant arts destination for visitors from the region, New York City, and beyond.
Built in 1929 by Nabisco, the nearly 300,000 square foot factory building is composed of brick, steel, concrete, and glass and is considered to be a model of early twentieth century industrial architecture. It stands as a symbol of Beacon’s past as a major industrial and manufacturing city.
The original building had many key design elements that made it an appealing site for contemporary art, including broad spans between supporting columns and more than 34,000-square-feet of skylights. Today these skylights provide natural light in the galleries and have uniquely established Dia:Beacon as a “daylight museum.”
Working closely with artist Robert Irwin, Dia devised a masterplan to create a twenty-first century museum building that retained the original character of the building. For the exterior setting, Irwin designed seasonally-changing gardens. Following the renovation, the building was listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.
The Art and Programs
In keeping with Dia’s history of single-artist, site-related presentations, each gallery was designed specifically for the presentation of one artist’s work. Examples include Dan Flavin’s series of fluorescent light “monuments to V. Tatlin”; Joseph Beuys’ mixed-media installations such as Fond III/3 (1979) and Fond IV/4 (1979); Richard Serra’s Torqued Ellipses (2007); and Michael Heizer’s North, East, South, West (1967/2002).
Dia’s collections and special presentations are supplemented by monthly Gallery Talks, weekly public tours, and an ongoing arts education partnership with the City of Beacon that has been underway since 2001.
Each year, Dia:Beacon welcomes over 75,000 visitors. Within the Hudson Valley, Dia:Beacon generates over $12.5 million annually in economic stimulus for the region, and is an active member of the Dutchess County arts community.
Dia:Beacon continues to engage local audiences and colleagues in the region by:
• Offering free admission for City of Beacon residents every weekend
• Hosting Community Free Days for residents of Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties
• Helping create BeaconArts, an alliance with the Beacon Arts Community Association and the Beacon Chamber of Commerce committed to fostering connections between the museum and Main Street
• Participating in the Hudson Highlands Roundtable, a collaborative forum for non-profit leaders in the area