August 16, 2005
After complaints from World Trade Center
victims family groups, a request for appropriateness
from Governor George Pataki, and a new ultimatum from the
Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the status of the
two tenants at Ground Zeros Cultural Center is in doubt.
Family groups have assailed the Drawing
Center (DC) and International Freedom Center (IFC) for potentially
presenting exhibits that families feel would be inappropriate
for Ground Zero [ page 26]. In response,
John C. Whitehead, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development
Corporation said at the August 11 board meeting that the IFC
would have to present exhibit plans to the board on September
23 for approval.
Fraser Seitel, a spokesman for the Drawing
Center, now located in Soho, says, Drawing Center officials
are looking at other options on the possibility that the Drawing
Center wont be invited to be in the Snøhetta
building. He adds, the DC could have decided to
move out of the building. It has not done that. In fact its
hope remains that it continues to remain invited to be in
the building. But he continues, The Drawing Center,
as a cultural institution, obviously has to stand for artistic
freedom. And thats something it cant compromise.
The IFC released a statement in early
August saying we remain fully and enthusiastically committed
to creating the International Freedom Center--in Snohetta's
inspiring building on the World Trade Center site--as an integral
part of the living memorial to September 11.
Family groups, for their part, say they
never asked for censorship, just better choices for the site.
Monica Iken, the founder of family group Septembers
Mission, says, This is not the place you want to have
political discussions or debates of any sort because people
Snøhetta, whose design for the
building was unveiled in May 2005, is reportedly reducing
its size by about 30 percent. Snøhetta principal Craig
Dykers says the reduction is to meet budget restraints and
to have the correct relationship to the memorial voids.