Yonkers Mayor Spano Proposes Historic Alexander Smith Carpet Mills Site to be Designated as an Arts District
YONKERS, NY – April 29, 2015 -- Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano today joined the owners of the historic Alexander Smith Carpet Mills property and local artists to announce their proposal of the Carpet Mills Arts District (CMAD) in Yonkers. The announcement came as local artists joined Mayor Spano at the Carpet Mills (578 Nepperhan Avenue) to kick off Yonkers Arts Weekend, the area’s largest urban arts festival taking place Friday, May 1- Sunday, May 3.
For the first time, owners representing over 1.5 million square feet of the historic Carpet Mills have partnered with the City of Yonkers to create an arts district. The first phase will involve the placement of approximately 45 banners, creative lighting, infrastructure improvements and other branding efforts around the perimeter of the property (Nepperhan Ave./Axminster St./ Saw Mill River Rd./ Lake Ave.) to delineate the Carpet Mills as a unique arts destination. A subsequent phase will involve certain zoning allowances to make the CMAD a regional destination for cultural tourism.
“Yonkers is establishing itself as a destination City for artists to live, work and exhibit, and people are taking notice,” said Mayor Spano. “There is so much history and authentic, raw space in the Alexander Smith Carpet Mills buildings -- which once housed over 8,000 workers -- that it lends itself to becoming a creative, inspirational environment for artists. Yonkers has become home to an emerging arts scene, and creating an arts district at the once thriving Carpet Mills site is the next step in telling our story.”
Currently, YoHo Artist Studios, part of the proposed Carpet Mills Arts District, is a multi-use property, home to approximately 60+ artist studios in addition to other creative industries, such as the cluster of piano makers/refinishers, antique dealers, set designers, movie studios, staging companies, artists, furniture refinishers and other businesses.
“The Carpet Mills Arts District is the closest and most logical next step for artists and creative industrial users being pushed out of DUMBO and Williamsburg,” said George Huang, Managing Member of the YOHO Artist Studios. “We look forward to welcoming them into our growing District.”
Future aspirations for the arts district include bringing more of the arts to Yonkers such as more artists, art dealers, boutiques, restaurants, tech companies, art schools and more.
“This is a vision of a rebirth of a city that has culture, history and typography which is closer to central Manhattan than Brooklyn or Queens,” said Randolph Rose, Managing Partner of RJ Rose Reality LLC. “It is an unknown GEM. I predict an explosion of art coming here.”
Residents and visitors will have an opportunity to participate in the City’s growing arts scene during Yonkers Arts Weekend May 1-3, which will involve over 300 artists, sculptors, performers, designers and musicians across four spectacular venues across the City. Their work will be displayed at dozens of venues in the Yonkers Historic Waterfront district, The Hudson River Museum, YoHo Artist Studios and Untermyer Gardens. Open galleries, musical performances, workshops, pop-up galleries, street art, food trucks, and family-friendly activities will run continuously throughout the weekend. All events are free and open to the public.
Yonkers Arts Weekend is produced by the City of Yonkers with Groundwork Hudson Valley. The event is made possible, in part, with support from the Hudson River Museum’s National Endowment for the Arts grant as well as additional support by the Community Governance & Development Council.
The Alexander Smith and Sons Carpet Mills is a factory complex that is significant in the industrial development of the City of Yonkers and the County of Westchester and in the history of carpet manufacturing. The group of buildings was comprised of nineteen stylistically varied industrial structures and six rows of workers housing. Constructed from 1871 to 1930, the buildings line the banks of the Saw Mill River, which for many years was the major source of power for mill operations.
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