Kenneth C. Griffin Gives $25 Million to 'The Shed'

Kenneth C. Griffin Gives $25 Million to 'The Shed'

The Shed, a nonprofit cultural center opening this week in the mixed-use Hudson Yards area on Manhattan's Far West Side, has announced a $25 million gift from hedge fund tycoon Kenneth C. Griffin. 

Announced at The Shed's founders' dinner over the weekend, the gift was five years in the making, Bloomberg News reports, with Shed board chair Dan Doctoroff approaching Griffin after a University of Chicago board meeting and ultimately securing the gift after he and Griffin toured the site with Liz Diller, a principal of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which designed the space with the Rockwell Group. In recognition of the gift, the 11,700-square-foot, five-hundred-seat theater in the Bloomberg Building at The Shed will be named the Kenneth C. Griffin Theater. Including Griffin's gift, The Shed has raised $529 million toward its capital campaign goal of $550 million, which includes building costs, organizational start-up expenses, and support for the creation of new work.

"[T]his wall moves," Griffin said of the building's outer shell, which can be extended over the adjoining plaza. "I was up in the actual engine room. The engineering feat here is just beyond comprehension. This hasn't been done before. This is beyond. And that speaks to what we're trying to do artistically." 

Griffin, the founder of Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel, has made significant gifts to other arts institutions in the city, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art. He told Bloomberg that he hopes his employees, most of whom are in their twenties and thirties, will partake of the cultural experiences he has backed, whether facilitated by the firm or on their own. The goal, he added, is to "get them civically and politically engaged. It broadens their horizons, it gives them more perspective about the role we play in society."

“The Shed will create new opportunities for artists and audiences to join together in unique experiences," Griffin said in a statement. "Over a decade in the making, this space reflects New York’s determined commitment to fostering artistic expression and the idea that the arts should be accessible to everyone." 

Amanda L. Gordon. "Ken Griffin Goes Zen and Makes His Mark on Shed at Hudson Yards." Bloomberg News 04/01/2019.