Located in the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina in East Boston, the ICA Watershed transforms a 15,000-square-foot, formerly condemned space into a new civic and cultural asset.
The Watershed will open the 2021 season with a new commission by acclaimed artist Firelei Báez. In her largest installation to date, Báez will reimagine the Watershed’s gallery space as the site of an ancient ruin, as though the sea had receded from the floor to reveal the archeology of human history in the Caribbean.
An interactive art project by artist Stephen Hamilton, previously scheduled for the Watershed’s Harbor Room, will also take place in 2021.
Admission to the Watershed is always free, and Water Shuttle transportation between the Watershed and the ICA is included in ICA admission.
As you approach the space, just steps away from beautiful Piers Park, you'll find pieces of art here and there, including some cool profile faces of Blue Man Group, (photo op!) some creatively painted boats, a giant fish sculpture (look up!), murals on buildings, and a small sculpture garden.
The ICA Watershed opens with Diana Thater, the first of many exhibitions in conversation with this unique and historical space on the waterfront. Thater’s installation for the ICA will illuminate the Watershed with colored light and moving-image projections that reflect on the fragility of the natural world.
The Watershed will also feature a gallery dedicated to the rich history of the shipyard and East Boston more broadly, with an overview of the area’s development into the vibrant community it is today.
Guests can also enjoy the Harbor Room, a space for gathering and education projects that leads to an outdoor plaza overlooking Boston Harbor and the skyline.
Piers Park & Sailing Center
The water taxi brings you to the dock at Piers Park in East Boston. Don't miss spending time or just taking a stroll through this beautiful park!
Enjoy lots of open space, and landscaped walkways that look out to Boston Harbor. There's wide brick pier to walk out with benches and a gazebo, and you can watch the sailboats launch and dock at the Piers Park Sailing Center, which is right there where the water taxi docks.
Last but not least, there's a nice sized playground area includes spray features for cooling off as well as well as an outdoor fitness area for stretching and working out a bit. You can even bring a picnic and enjoy the breezes off the harbor.
About the Watershed
The Watershed represents an exciting and creative mode of growth for the museum. With this project, the ICA will make a cross-harbor connection that is central to our vision of art, civic life, and urban vitality. It takes art beyond our walls, building upon a decade-long history of public art projects that bring together landscape, history, and contemporary art.
The new facility is a central component of the ICA’s recently completed five-year strategic plan, A Radical Welcome, designed to deepen the vibrant intersection of contemporary art and civic life in Boston.
View our photo guide to Piers Park and the ICA Watershed for a better idea of all the fun things to you can do there.
For more ideas about Free Things to do in Boston, visit our handy guide to saving money in Boston without sacrificing fun!
The Watershed is open Tuesday–Sunday, 10 AM–5 PM, July 4 through October 8.
It’s closed Mondays. We will be open for special community days on Labor Day + Columbus Day.
Admission to the Watershed is free for all. The ICA Ferry is free with ICA admission (and for members always). Ferry tickets, required for everyone (members too!), are first-come, first-served, so get yours early! Tickets may also be reserved day-of at the Box Office in the ICA main building or at the Watershed. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult when using the ferry service. Please call the Box Office at 617-478-3100 to reserve tickets for families with children.
256 Marginal Street, Boston, MA map
The Watershed is located within the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina at 256 Marginal Street.
Transportation between the ICA and the Watershed is available by ferry only. (Space is limited; availability is first-come, first-served. Ferry service is provided through Boston Harbor Cruises. A step on and three steps down are required to board; wheelchairs and strollers may be brought on board if they are collapsible and light enough for crew to handle. Boston Harbor Cruises crew is available for assistance.
*Visitors can also reach the Watershed by public transportation (blue line to Maverick), private water taxis, and by foot in East Boston on Marginal Drive. (Limited free parking is available on Marginal Drive).
Please note: For safety reasons, bicycles are not permitted within the shipyard. Bike racks and a Blue Bike station are available at nearby Piers Park.
Accessible parking is available at the Watershed; there is no public parking.
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