Parrish Art Museum Hosts 2018 People’s State of the Union Story Circle

Parrish Art Museum's 2017 People's State of the Union Story Circle
Parrish Art Museum's 2017 People's State of the Union Story Circle

The Parrish Art Museum is welcoming a diverse cross-section of community members on Friday, January 26, at 6 p.m. to share their experiences and thoughts at a 2018 People’s State of the Union Story Circle.

One of hundreds like it taking place nationwide, the free event is part of an annual civic tradition rooted in the belief that “democracy is a conversation, not a monologue.” Participants are invited to join the group, mingle with neighbors and enjoy refreshments while spending time talking to one another.

Current participants include artists, therapists, poets, veterans, educators and community leaders, but all are welcome to register—as long as you’re over 15 years old. No preparation is necessary as guests are encouraged to simply chat and share stories and thoughts with fellow East End residents.

“I strongly believe that in polarized times like these, as a community we need a place to come together and share and listen to each other, no matter our differences,” said Corinne Erni, Senior Curator, ArtsReach and Special Projects. “The Parrish offers this space through the Story Circle,” Erni added. “It is open to everyone who cares about the condition of our nation and our community and wants to have a voice…”

Participants will join together in the Parrish’s Lichtenstein Theater in small circles of about eight people to tell stories and discuss topics of relevance on the East End in a conversation facilitated by a moderator.

In addition, the Parrish has invited East End poets to compose works inspired by the stories shared, which will then be performed in March at the museum. Poets include Star Black, Max Blagg, Scott Chaskey, Meegan Chaskey, Cornelius Eady, Kathy Engel, Joe Lamport and Lukas Ortiz.

Watch the video below to get a look at last year’s People’s State of the Union Story Circle at the Parrish Art Museum.

The People’s State of the Union Story Circle is an invitation to anyone to host a national conversation in their homes, schools, houses of worship, cultural institutions, and community centers. The concept was created by the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC), an artists’ collective that is neither an official agency nor affiliated in any way with the federal government. The USDAC defines itself as “a people-powered movement dedicated to cultivating empathy, equity, and social imagination.”

Between January 26 and February 4, hundreds of individuals and organizations across the country will host Story Circles.

The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. Call 631-283-2118 or visit

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