Rendering: Sam Van Aken
A new public art installation by multidisciplinary artist Sam Van Aken has been commissioned for Governors Island. Taking the form of a public orchard comprising 102 fruit trees, Open Orchard will act as a living archive for antique and heirloom fruit varieties that were grown in and around New York City in the past 400 years but have mostly disappeared due to climate change and the industrialization of agriculture. The Open Orchard will open to the public on Arbor Day, April 29, 2022.
“The Open Orchard on Governors Island, and the expansive orchard taking place across the entire city in community gardens in all five boroughs, wouldn’t have been possible without the time, energy, and generosity of so many invested in art, biodiversity and revisiting this forgotten history of New York,” said artist Sam Van Aken. “After eight years in development and five years of the project growing at Governors Island, I remain indebted to all those involved and humbled to find a place and community with the shared vision of rethinking not just agriculture but the culture that surrounds it.”
Nearly 100 additional trees that have been cultivated and cared for in a nursery on Governors Island since 2018 will be donated and planted in community gardens throughout the five boroughs in partnership with NYC Parks GreenThumb.