Can Art Influence Change?

Irina Alimanestianu, Scott Bluedorn, Janet Culbertson, Lillian Ball, and Carl Safina. Independent/Jenny Gorman

This year’s Artists Choose Artists exhibit at the Parrish Art Museum will have an environmental focus. Participating artists share the belief that artwork can educate and influence change.

Artists Choose Artists is a triennial exhibition which focuses on the East End’s multi-generational artist community and encourages mentorship and conversation. On Friday, January 10, from 6 to 8 PM, as part of Friday Night Talks, in the Lichtenstein Theater, the conversation will center around art, science, and its environmental impact.

Juror Lillian Ball will be accompanied by her two selectees, Scott Bluedorn and Janet Culbertson, and Irina Alimanestianu, in a conversation with Carl Safina. The discussion will be moderated by Corinne Erni, senior curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects.

Ball’s interdisciplinary backgrounds are in anthropology, ethnographic film, and sculpture sectors. Her WATERWASH public projects in the Bronx River and Mattituck Inlet combine preservation, stormwater remediation, and native habitat restoration. Her exhibits and lectures have been shown and heard globally, from Kathmandu’s Taragaon Museum and Seville’s Biennale, and she has been awarded the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.

East Hampton native Scott Bluedorn integrates nautical tradition, primitivism, and cultural anthropology into his works that showcase myth and visual storytelling — a world he refers to as “maritime cosmology.” Two works will be on view. “Genesis Flux,” his new large-scale drawing, is a vision of climate upheaval, while “Integrated Ocean Energy Farm” is his proposition to repurpose existing structures like oil drilling platforms into floating multipurpose ‘farms’ for growing kelp, while combining value-added energy production including solar, wind, and wave power.

Ecological artist Janet Culbertson lives on Shelter Island. Her pieces, “Galapagos Tortoise” and “Abyss,” will both be featured. Her work focuses on a sort of dystopian exploration of the natural world, having painted the disappearing animals in Africa and the vanishing of the planet’s once wild places.

Irina Alimanestianu has had her work shown in Los Angeles and New York, with her writings about the art world featured in Art Issues. On view is her “Deep Sea Vent (2017),” combining oil, ink, pencil, glitter, and watercolor on oil paper. The Nyack, NY native has lived additionally in Switzerland and France.

Ecologist Carl Safina hosted the PBS series “Saving the Ocean.” As the first holder of the Endowed Chair for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University, he also heads the not-for-profit Safina Center. His writing has won a MacArthur “Genius” Award and he is the holder of both a Pew Marine and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

The Environmental Artists Panel will be followed by an informal visit to the galleries. Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. Learn more at

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