A community space dedicated to S.T.E.A.M. development completed Phase 1 of restoration and renovation just in time for Transforming Spaces 2020. Only five months after breaking ground last August, Incubator for Collaborative Expression, also known as Project I.C.E., has become a beacon of change for many innovators, creative thinkers and S.T.E.A.M. advocates.
Conceived by master Bahamian artist Antonius Roberts, Project I.C.E. embodies his appreciation for conservation, creativity and community. Although famed for his transformative nature series, Sacred Spaces, this latest project expands his contribution to the revitalization of abandoned and historical sites like Clifton Heritage, Hillside House and The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB). Reflecting on a 40-year career as a cultural advocate and conservationist, Roberts recognizes Project I.C.E. as one of his lifetime achievements.
“Incubator for Collaborative Expression has been a long time in the making. For many years, I’ve dreamed of creating a shared space that would allow scientists, educators, researchers, artists, mathematicians and engineers to experience and benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration. A hub that symbolizes the perfect melting pot of local artistry, industry, ecology and community outreach, it also provides a sanctuary to our local cottage industries that sustain the livelihood of many,” said Roberts.
Formerly the Holiday ICE Limited warehouse, Project I.C.E. stands on a 36,000 square foot site in the heart of New Providence just off Old Trail Road. The once-derelict structure hidden by overgrown foliage has received an exterior facelift, partial renovations to the interiors, state-of-the-art solar power energy and water systems and a thriving garden.
Technology, environment, creativity and sustainability are core values of the Project I.C.E. philosophy. Together, they define its two-prong vision. As a platform, it will provide access and resources to makers, co-working and green spaces that inspire the like-minded to create and develop inventions and arts-related businesses. As an ecosystem, it will promote S.T.E.A.M. education through an interdisciplinary culture. Its programming will be centered around experiential learning, professional development and training opportunities designed to support creatives and innovators in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
Roberts explained, “I.C.E.’s philosophy hopes to foster unique collaborative opportunities; stimulate the creation of cutting-edge jobs; and increase the sustainability of the Bahamian creative economy in regional and global markets.”
As Phase 2 progresses this spring, we can look forward to seeing the expansion of an art gallery, event and meeting facilities, collaborative spaces and green zones alongside indoor and outdoor multi-purpose studios to support an engaging calendar of programming.
Despite ongoing renovations, Project I.C.E. is active daily. Roberts has identified one of the larger spaces for sculptural projects where he has commenced work on a recent public art commission for the United States Embassy. A few other projects and partnerships have organically created programming including Lend-a-Hand Bahamas’ hurricane relief distribution efforts, Summer Arts Immersion’s “Flying High” mural project with the Nassau Airport Development Company and later next month the Transforming Spaces (TS) art tour and experience.
For TS2020, Project I.C.E. will present a body of work that circles ideas of transformation and technology with some focus on the evolution of the initiative. The space will also be partnering with the Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery to showcase its maker space concept.