In the heart of Southampton Village, located in the former Parrish Art Museum space on Jobs Lane, the Southampton Arts Center is entering its second summer with a full program of events. At the forefront of Director Michele Thompson’s mission is to open up the space and to create a welcoming arts center that will serve the community year-round.
This begins with some physical renovations to the historic building, bringing it closer to the original plan that Samuel Parrish realized. In the foyer of the front entryway on Jobs Lane, walls that once enclosed the gift shop of the Parrish Art Museum have been taken down—creating one much larger, expansive space large enough to serve as another exhibition room. A formerly closed side entrance has now been reopened—facilitating access from the side yard to the main hall. The grounds, Thompson explains, are central to many of the Center’s summer programs.
Southampton Arts Center’s first director, Thompson began in February of this year. With a background in multidisciplinary theater, she worked as an actor, got a masters in institutional fundraising and worked for American Ballet Theater, Carnegie Hall and Tricia Brown Dance Company in New York City. She was most recently the Director of Adult Education and Arts of the 92nd Street Y.
Friday night Summer Screenings, in partnership with the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF), begin on June 27with the all-time favorite Ghostbusters and conclude on August 29 with the quintessential summer movie Jaws. All free Friday night movies begin at 8:30 p.m. and viewers can bring a beach chair or blanket and relax on the lawn. On various Thursday nights, there will be puppet shows for kids presented by Sag Harbor’s beloved Goat on a Boat Puppet Theatre. All ages will enjoy Punch and Judy in the Kitchen, which kicks off Thursday puppet shows at 4:30 p.m. on June 26. Educators from the Quogue Wildlife Refuge will present a Meet the Animals program on Thursdays, July 10 and August 21, at 5 p.m.
Music is a large part of the Southampton Arts Center’s agenda, and on Saturday evenings throughout the summer, beginning at 5 p.m., there will be live outdoor concerts for all ages—from the Jazz for Young People Jazz at Lincoln Center Quintet to Pianofest in the Hamptons. The Center is also benefiting from their good neighbors—Bay Street Theater will be holding a kids camp for the first time in Southampton, and HIFF will be hosting a student summer film workshop. There are also plans to collaborate with Guild Hall. “We want to build, enhance and expand what’s already here,” Thompson says.
The Southampton Arts Center was made for displaying artwork, and this summer there are already two exhibitions lined up. NYFA presents Claire Watson, Hiroyuki Hamada and Andreas Rentsch, curated by David Terry and featuring East End artists, will open on Thursday, June 26, and will be on view through July 20. Concurrent with that exhibition, The Irrational Portrait Gallery: A Collaborative Project by Rick Wenner and FRESH, will start off with an opening night party on Saturday, June 28, from 5–9 p.m. More than 20 Long Island artists, including local artists Colin Goldberg and Oliver Peterson, will be among those with works on view.
Mid-summer there are plans for an exhibition by Jonathan Cramer, a sculptor, painter and philosopher whose work hasn’t been seen for nine years. Cramer, who was involved with authenticating a questionable Jackson Pollock painting, will also be leading a panel discussion with other members of the art specialists and forensics team. The Center plans to host panel discussions and lectures throughout the year as well—building community in the center of the village.
Southampton Arts Center is located at 25 Jobs Lane in Southampton. For more information, call 631-283-0967 and visit southamptonartscenter.org for the most up-to-date event listings.