East Hampton will soon come alive with art from a wide swath of residents of all levels and abilities working in a variety of mediums. On Saturday, June 20 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. (rain date June 21), the Art Apart roadside art exhibition, or tour, welcomes creative locals to showcase their projects created during this extended period of isolation and quarantine.
The show is not curated and asks only that participants register so they can appear as pins on the Art Apart map, which serves as a literal online roadmap for this self-guided journey to enjoy art throughout East Hampton Township. Viewers can choose to visit every artist on the map, or simply visit a neighborhood or two with larger clusters of participants, all of whom will be exhibiting work in their front yards or driveways for visitors to enjoy from the safety of their cars, or outside following social distancing edicts.
Conceived by local artist Idoline Duke, and launched with support from the East Hampton Arts Council (EHAC), this special event is designed to be an all-inclusive, democratic survey of work being produced by all manner of local people in the town.
Duke says she was inspired by artist Warren Neidich’s unrelated Drive-By Art Show, which featured 52 specially selected South Fork artists between Hampton Bays and Montauk last month. “I thought it was fantastic,” Duke says, while admitting she was denied a chance to exhibit her paintings in the show. “I was disappointed it wasn’t more inclusive,” she adds, acknowledging that trying to fit too many artists could become “unwieldy” for the organizers.
So, starting from Neidich’s idea, Duke says she aimed to create something manageable and fully democratic and inclusive, allowing anyone to join in the fun and present their creations to others. “There are thousands of people in this town who have been working from isolation on some really creative projects,” she explains.
Duke brought the full concept to EHAC, where Co-Chair Janet Jennings and Board member Scott Bluedorn gladly jumped onboard to lend a hand.
Bluedorn, another talented local artist, also drew comparisons to the Drive-By Art Show. “It was a really well-done event, but it was a little bit exclusive,” he says, pointing out that Art Apart is completely self-registered and focuses on what people are making while forced to stay at home during the COVID-19 crisis. Each artist will choose how they display their work, and will decide how people can view it.
“We’re kind of leaving it up to the artist, as long as social distancing is respected,” Bluedorn adds, noting that, in addition to keeping people apart, the only rules are that the work must remain on the artist’s property, it cannot obstruct sight lines and can’t be blatantly offensive. That final rule, of course, is somewhat up to interpretation. “It’s kind of open-ended,” Bluedorn says, though the organizers hope all of the work will demonstrate what people have done during the pandemic.
According to one participating artist, Nicole Parcher, this won’t be a problem. “A whole new body of work has come out of my time in quarantine,” Parcher says, describing recent weeks isolating in the Hamptons as a fertile time for her art. “I feel very grateful to have a space to work in during my time away from my city studio. I’ve reworked many old collages and paintings which has opened up my work in a new interesting way.”
Word only just went out on Monday, June 8, but the show already has about 30 artists registered, including Duke, Bluedorn, Jennings and Parcher, as well as Perry Burns, Michele D’ermo, Alejandro Martin Lorenzo, Carlotta Manaigo, Jane Martin, Peter Spacek and Barbara Thomas, among numerous others. They expected to get at least 30–40 participants, but with interest high and dozens of people registered just days after announcing the show, Duke now hopes they will have many, many more.
Duke says they aren’t just inviting visual artists. Instead, residents representing all art forms are welcome to present dance, poetry, music and more. “Anything goes under the larger art umbrella,” she explains. “It’s really a free-for-all.”
Art Apart is family-friendly and not just for “artists,” Jennings adds, pointing out that children and regular people who have never showed in a gallery shouldn’t hesitate to be a part of this community event. “Everybody is an artist at this point,” she says.
Learn more about Art Apart and register at artapart2020.wixsite.com/2020.