A guiding force for the team behind the Women’s Building is their desire to reclaim the once notorious women’s prison as a kind of sanctuary and safe place for women. This future hub for women’s rights organizations was a women’s prison from 1978 to 2013. In federal study conducted in 2008 and 2009, Bayview had the highest percentage of alleged incidents of inmate sexual abuse by staff in the country. This transformation and repurposing is as symbolically beneficial to the city as is it practically. In the video below, women formerly confined at Bayview Correctional Facility revisited the facilities and were asked to share their experiences and what they envision for the Women’s Building.

The Women’s Building from NoVo Foundation on Vimeo.

The Women’s Building
For NoVo Foundation
April 2016
Produced by: CreativeBionics
Director: Chanelle Elaine
Editor: Laurie Thomas

“This vision goes beyond sharing resources and physical proximity to other groups. NoVo Foundation acts from the original meaning of philanthropy: the love of humanity. We seek to create conditions where mutual respect, collaboration, and civic participation inevitably arise. Transforming the former Bayview Correctional Facility to a home for those creating justice and equality will do just that. We believe it will bring so much good to our city and our world.”

—Peter Buffett, co-president of NoVo Foundation.

  1. Virella, Kelly. “Male Guards, Female Inmates And Sexual Abuse In NYS Prisons.” CityLimits.org, May 3, 2011. http://citylimits.org/2011/05/03/male-guards-female-inmates-and-sexual-abuse-in-nys-prisons/.
  2. NoVo Foundation and the Goren Group. “New York’s Bayview Prison to Be Redeveloped into the Women’s Building.” News release, October 26, 2015. The Women’s Building. http://womensbuildingnyc.org/press-kit/.