About Pioneer Works

Pioneer Works (PW) is an artist and scientist-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit cultural center in Red Hook, Brooklyn that fosters innovative thinking through the visual and performing arts, technology, music, and science.

We provide visual and performing artists, musicians, scientists, technologists, community organizers, and educators the resources and platform they need to expand their practices. Pioneer Works has three floors of interconnected studio, performance, exhibition, and multipurpose spaces, which cultivate collaborations past the boundaries of traditional institutions by placing makers and thinkers in proximity to each other. We support onsite production through our science, design, recording, and ceramics studios; media, virtual environment, and technology labs; darkroom; and garden. Multi-disciplinary programs, exhibitions, residencies, and performances are presented to the public, of which the majority are free.

We encourage lifelong learning through community-based workshops, continuing education classes, and K-12 STEAM programs. We extend beyond our walls with our virtual publication, Pioneer Works Broadcast.

Our approach encourages experimentation and empowers curious minds across diverse communities, knowledge bases, and frames of reference; in so doing, Pioneer Works aims to accelerate culture through the free exchange of ideas and information for all.


Pioneer Works builds community through the arts and sciences to create an open and curious world.


Pioneer Works is a new model for cultural organizations that is free, open to all, and transcends disciplinary silos. Our programming explores alternative ways of facing societal challenges by leveraging the arts and sciences dynamically as both a lens and catalyst.


Pioneer Works values curiosity, inclusion, equity, resilience, and community building.


We cultivate inquiry-based learning and nurture an environment for risk-taking, critical thinking, and forging new connections.


We encourage different perspectives and prioritize diversity of gender, race, age, skills, and experiences. We aim to diversify our program, staff, board, and community and are committed to ensuring our physical space is accessible to everybody—regardless of varying mobility and abilities.


We are committed to amplifying voices of underrepresented educators, collaborators, artists, and program participants who are working in nontraditional ways. Pioneer Works is a W.A.G.E. Certified organization. We believe in pay equity for the creative sectors.


We commit to actions that have positive impacts on our environment. We build resilience through maintaining a garden that provides a habitat for local flora and fauna, composting our organic waste, and reusing and recycling materials when possible. Pioneer Works takes a place-based approach to environmental justice and issues that disproportionately affect frontline communities, such as our neighborhood of Red Hook.

Community Building

We engage with our neighbors and celebrate the creative energy of our local communities through partnerships and programs. We center creative voices and value the powerful role that artists, scientists, and culture play in our neighborhoods, both inside and outside the brick and mortar of our building.


Pioneer Works was imagined by its founder, artist Dustin Yellin, as a place in which artists, scientists, and thinkers from various backgrounds converge and work together, in real-time; this “museum of process” was inspired by utopian visionaries such as Buckminster Fuller and radical institutions such as Black Mountain College. For both Fuller and the Black Mountain community, learning was a shared and interactive pursuit through which society could model new ways of being. Yellin, together with Gabriel Florenz, Pioneer Works' Founding Artistic Director, and a group of scientists, artists, supporters, and advisors, renovated the historic structure and opened Pioneer Works to the public in 2012. Janna Levin, astrophysicist, author and professor, later joined the team as the center's first Director of Sciences.

The red brick building that houses Pioneer Works was built in 1866 for what was then Pioneer Iron Works. The factory, which manufactured railroad tracks and other large-scale machinery, was a local landmark after which Pioneer Street was named. Devastated by fire in 1881, the building was rebuilt, and remained in active use through World War II. Pioneer Works’ adaptive reuse of the site represents the organization’s commitment to sustainability and the preservation of historic spaces.


Board of Directors

  • Alissandra Aronow
  • Kyra Tirana Barry
  • Julia Bator
  • David Belt
  • Alex Black
  • Mary Cunney
  • Mark Dalio
  • Tiffiney Davis
  • Ron Elum
  • Matt Harris
  • Austin Hearst
  • Stephanie Ingrassia
  • Neal Katyal
  • Tom X. Lee
  • Charles Meyer
  • Abby Pucker
  • Richard Sarnoff
  • Cullen L. Sinclair
  • Theo Spielberg
  • Pedro Torres-Mackie
  • Dustin Yellin
  • Leyli Zohrenejad
  • Alan Siegel, Chairman Emeritus

Advisory Board

  • Paola Antonelli
  • Darren Aronofsky
  • Sunny Bates
  • Carol Bove
  • David Byrne
  • Perry Chen
  • Jesse Dylan
  • Robert Hammond
  • Alanna Heiss
  • Paul Hoffman
  • Karen Brooks Hopkins
  • Marlon James
  • Michael Joo
  • Ben Lerner
  • Kweku Mandela
  • Shirin Neshat
  • Tom Reiss
  • Rick Rubin
  • Esperanza Spalding
  • Mickalene Thomas
  • Justin Vernon
  • HRH Princess Eugenie of York


Pioneer Works offers a wide range of positions in an inclusive work environment. We are an equal opportunity employer. Please check back soon for more job opportunities!