The twin-gabled brick buildings at 547 West 26th Street in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood have served a handful of different purposes over the past century. Originally built in 1914, the landmarked structures are now home to Chelsea Factory, a performance arts space dedicated to the artists of New York City. At an upcoming behind-the-scenes tour of Chelsea Factory, you can learn about the building’s transformation, and stick around for a live show!

This tour is free for Untapped New York Insiders! Insiders will also receive a discount code to purchase tickets to the 1:00PM show. Registrants will receive a discount code for the show in the email confirmation for the tour. The tour will run on December 16th. Ticket registration opens on December 2nd at 12PM ET.

Chelsea Factory Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Chelsea Factory

According to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the structures now occupied by Chelsea Factory were designed by architect Charles H. Caldwell. Caldwell designed many commercial buildings in New York City, including a factory complex on West 26th and 27th Streets for John Williams Ornamental Bronze and Iron Works. The building at 547 was completed in 1914, at which time it was leased to the Schwartz-Gaskell Corporation and used as a garage. The garage held some of New York City’s very first taxi cabs.

Brick garage building in Chelsea
Image via NYPL

The buildings were leased in 1948 to Feidelson Trucking Corporation and used as an auto garage until the 1990s when they were purchased by renowned celebrity photographer Annie Lebowitz. Lebowitz converted one of the buildings into a photography studio. One of the most famous images taken at this Chelsea studio was a portrait of Whoopi Goldberg submerged in a tub of milk. Shot for Vanity Fair, the concept was inspired by one of Whoopi’s on-stage characters. The bathtub is still at Chelsea Factory and we’ll see it on the tour!

After Lebowitz moved out, the buildings were occupied by the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet Company. The dance company used the buildings for rehearsal space and performances. Cedar Lake moved out in 2015 and after an extensive renovation project, Chelsea Factory opened in 2022.

Chelsea Factory
 Photo by Fadi Kheir

Born out of the pandemic, Chelsea Factory provides New York City artists with the space and support needed to create and exhibit their work. Every year they welcome a new diverse group of resident artists who receive resources such as =financial support, rehearsal and performance space, production support, and opportunities for professional development. Spread over 14,000 square feet, there are two performance venues at Chelsea Factory: a 160-seat black box theater and a multi-use space. These flexible spaces can be transformed to accommodate a variety of uses, from rehearsal space and fashion shows to concerts, hip-hop battles, and more.

On our pre-show tour of Chelsea Factory, you’ll feel the excited buzz that permeates the space right before a live show. We’ll explore the performance spaces and learn about the innovative technology that allows them to adapt to the needs of New York City creatives. Insiders also get a 10% discount on tickets to Flamenco Vivo, so you can stick around after the tour and see it all in action. Check out all upcoming programming at Chelsea Factory here!

Chelsea Factory Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Chelsea Factory stage

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