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“Spectacular” new performing arts venue opens at the World Trade Center

Sep 18, 2023

The Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC NYC), which will host dance, theater, music, opera, film, and more at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, is soon opening to the public.

PAC NYC is expected to bring a new type of public space and public life to the area. Outside, a plaza will host public events, and inside, the Vartan & Clare Gregorian Lobby Stage will welcome people from all walks of life into the new performing arts center with a variety of free, open performances. Intended to feel like an informal, welcoming community space, the Stage will offer pre- and post-performance events, series for families on weekend mornings, and lunchtime series for people who work nearby.

Building on support for the performing arts center’s capital campaign, a further major grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) supported the Stage in honor of the late Vartan Gregorian and his wife Clare. A Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, a scholar, a philanthropist, and a tireless visionary, Vartan led a turnaround at the New York Public Library through the 1980s, guiding it from a fiscal and operational nadir to its current position as a robust, beloved civic institution that serves all New Yorkers.

PAC NYC seeks to create a similarly inclusive civic space for New Yorkers and visitors once it’s open, but in the meantime, its striking form—a marble cube, translucent under the right conditions of light and hovering above the street—has already transformed the World Trade Center site. New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman called it a “spectacular work of public architecture” and “the most glamorous civic building to land in New York in years.”

The building’s translucent marble cladding has an echo across the World Trade Center site in the design of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine, for which SNF provided major support. Between the two sits the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, to which SNF is a founding donor.