ISSUE plays a vital role in NYC’s cultural ecology, facilitating the commission and premiere of new works and presenting a diverse array of artists working across the disciplines of sound, dance, film, performance and literature. Programming places an emphasis on bringing recognition to creative practitioners whose important contributions to the artistic field are underrepresented, often as a result of the artists’ gender, sexuality, or geographic location. Through the cultivation of innovative new work, ISSUE performs an essential research and development function that fosters a dynamic influx of ideas into the local, national, and international creative landscape.

Little Carnegie…it cultivates a studied unpredictability…
New York Magazine

Our Story

ISSUE Project Room was established in 2003 by late visionary Suzanne Fiol in response to a dearth of art centers fostering innovative creative practice. Across presentation in an array of homes in the East Village, Gowanus, and Downtown Brooklyn, ISSUE has evolved into “Brooklyn’s leading avant-garde venue” (The Wall Street Journal).

Offering year-round opportunities for experimental multidisciplinary artists to develop and present challenging new works, programming focuses on three key areas: cultivating new work by emerging artists through ISSUE’s Artists-In-Residence (AIR) program; bringing increased recognition to pioneering late-career artists through retrospectives and commissioning opportunities; and enabling rare U.S. appearances by innovative international artists.

Artists-In-Residence Program

Since 2006, the AIR series has evolved into a core focus of our programming initiatives, serving a central role in fulfilling ISSUE’s mission to support artists in the local community. The program encourages recipients to take unprecedented creative risks in reaching the next stage in their artistic development, providing residents with a stipend plus production, marketing and curatorial support for the creation of up to 3 new works.

Late-Career & International Artists

ISSUE maintains a strong commitment to upholding the achievements of late-career artists who remain under-represented in the contemporary landscape despite important contributions to the creative field, regularly facilitating rare performances of new and historic work by a diverse range of artistic pioneers.

ISSUE also continues to actively facilitate opportunities for under-recognized international artists to present their work to NYC audiences - often enabling the first-ever U.S. appearances by a diverse range of cutting-edge artists.

Curatorial Fellowship

During the summer of 2016, ISSUE announced the launch of the Suzanne Fiol Curatorial Fellowship. The fellowship program commissions an emerging New York curator to organize challenging time-based projects, serving a central role in fulfilling ISSUE’s mission to support and cultivate innovative art within the local community.


Since its inception, ISSUE maintained a flexible and ephemeral relationship with space and geography, occupying temporary homes including a garage in the East Village, a silo on the Gowanus Canal, and a third-floor loft in a former canning factory.

In 2008, ISSUE was awarded a long-term lease on a theater in Downtown Brooklyn. Offering a centralized location and an audience capacity more than double that of any previous space ISSUE had occupied, the 22 Boerum Place theater has helped facilitate a degree of publicity and awareness unique for our community of under-recognized artists.

A first phase of a $6m renovation began in February 2015 and was completed in late 2015, with a second and final phase planned to begin during 2017. Once completed, the space will serve as a permanent home for experimental performance and function as a critical catalyst for the cultural revitalization of Downtown Brooklyn.

ISSUE's original East Village location, 2003.

Steve Buscemi and Suzanne Fiol at the Gowanus Silo, 2006.

The Old American Can Factory, 2008.

Architectural detail from ISSUE's 22 Boerum Theater, 2008.


Board of Directors

Artistic Advisory Board

  • Yoko Ono, Honorary Chair
  • Jo Andres
  • Paul Auster
  • William Basinski
  • Rhys Chatham
  • Toni Dove
  • Shahzad Ismaily
  • Bob Holman
  • Jim Jarmusch
  • John Jesurun
  • Charlotta Kotik
  • Zach Layton
  • Jonathan Lethem
  • Alan Licht
  • Evan Lurie
  • John Lurie
  • Tony Martin
  • Erwin Maas
  • Moby
  • Rick Moody
  • Stephan Moore
  • Julian Schnabel
  • Elliott Sharp
  • Danny Simmons
  • Carl Skelton
  • Mark Stewart
  • Edwin Torres
  • John Turturro
  • Kate Valk
  • Anne Waldman
  • Hal Willner
  • Robert Wilson

  • In Memorium
  • Tony Conrad (1940-2016)
  • Lawrence "Butch" Morris (1947-2013)

Suzanne Fiol (5/9/60 – 10/5/09)

Founder & Artistic Director

Suzanne Fiol was an extraordinary spirit, a force of nature and a prominent figure in the visual and performing arts worlds. As both a visionary artist and the founder of ISSUE, she created one of New York City’s premiere destinations for experimental culture and avant-garde performing arts— a legacy that will resonate for decades to come.

A native of New York City, Suzanne studied at Antioch College and completed her BFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, before returning home to acquire her MFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.

As a photographer, Suzanne has exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work was represented for several years by Ezra Mack and has appeared in many publications in the U.S. and abroad. Her photos can be found in many private collections and belong to permanent collections at The Art Institute of Chicago, The Brooklyn Museum, The Queens Museum and The Milwaukee Art Museum.

In 1985, Suzanne became Director of Sales at Light Gallery, NYC before launching the Donald Wren Gallery, NYC where she was named Director in 1987. She moved on to become the Sales Director at the Marcuse Pfeifer Gallery and the Brent Sikkema Gallery. During the fall of 2001, she met Jan-Willem Dikkers and Martynka Wawzyniak. Together they launched Issue Management, a photo agency that represents well-known art photographers such as Jack Pierson, Mitch Epstein, Richard Kern, Renee Cox and Marilyn Minter.

In February 2003, Suzanne founded ISSUE Project Room, an art and performance space on East 6th Street in the East Village. Shortly thereafter, ISSUE migrated to an iconic and beautiful silo in Brooklyn along the banks of the Gowanus Canal. Now located at 22 Boerum Place in the historic McKim, Meade, and White-designed 110 Livingston St. building in Downtown Brooklyn, ISSUE Project Room continues its mission as a performing arts center that provides artists and musicians with a dynamic environment in which to create innovative and challenging work. ArtForum has said, “Suzanne Fiol wanted to make a space for music, performance, and readings in a spirit of love and commitment and created one of the warmest and best-sounding venues in New York.” ISSUE has become one of the most beloved and important showcases for experimental culture in New York City.

On October 5th, 2009, Suzanne Fiol lost her courageous battle with cancer. She was loved deeply and missed by all.

Current Funders

ISSUE Project Room benefits from generous public funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, the New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council with Council Member Stephen T. Levin and the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.

Additional private support is provided by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music Inc., Amphion Foundation, Andrew Mellon Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, Arnow Family Fund, Arts Council of the Southern Fingerlakes, Asian Cultural Council, Atlantic Philanthropies, Barbara Lee Family Foundation, Robert D. Bielecki Foundation, Casement Fund, David Bermant Foundation, O.P. & W.E. Edwards Foundation Arts Fund, French American Cultural Exchange, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Howard Gilman Foundation, James E. Robison Foundation, Japan Foundation NY, Jerome Foundation, Lehman Foundation, mediaThe foundation, Mike Kelley Foundation, New Music USA, Royal Norwegian Consulate General, Netherland-America Foundation, Peter Norton Family Foundation, and The Golden Rule Foundation as well as numerous individual supporters.

Corporate Sponsors