By Emily J. Weitz
The mission of the Parrish Art Museum is to bring art and people together, and as the space expands, so too will the mission’s reach. There are obvious ways that the museum serves as a forum for these connections, from gala events to workshops for children. But one way that the Parrish has really embedded itself in the fabric of the local community is through the Business Council. Established in 1998 by former director Trudy Kramer and trustee Donald Sullivan, the Business Council brings local business owners and managers together under the name of the Parrish.
“Trudy Kramer made it a priority to reconnect with the local and regional business community,” says Sullivan, who in addition to being a trustee of the Parrish and Chairman of the Business Council, owns the Southampton Publick House. “It helps the Parrish get its mission out to the business managers and owners, who are normally very busy people and are continually asked to support a myriad of associations and charities.”
Creating the Business Council has allowed the Parrish to be an integral part of the local business community.
“It’s a way to create an identity for the Parrish as a member of the community that reaches all audiences including students, student parents, 2nd homeowners and summer visitors,” he said.
In addition to the benefits the Parrish gleans from the support of the community, the businesses have a lot to gain from joining.
“The Business Council is designed to give members the opportunity to increase their visibility by linking their name with the Parrish,” says Melissa Gatz, membership manager at the Parrish. “Business Council members receive recognition for their support on the museum’s web site, through a listing in the Midsummer Gala Journal, and in ads.”
The support they lend is used for educational programming at the Parrish.
“Plus,” adds Gatz, “Business Council members receive free or discounted tickets to our three networking events per year. And the events are fun!”
One of these events is coming up. Two Forks and a Cork, the Business Council’s annual wine tasting and networking event, is a chance for business leaders to get together.
“This event is important to the Parrish,” says Gatz, “because it gives local business professionals the opportunity to reconnect. I’m always surprised to see who attends our events… Don Sullivan always emphasized the importance of these events, and he thinks the reason they are so successful is they are short and sweet, and that appeals to the busy professional trying to do it all.”
This year, the event will showcase seven wineries from the North and South forks. Channing Daughters, Croteaux Vineyards, Duck Walk South, Jampesport Vineyards, Peconic Bay Winery, and Wolffer Estate will all participate. The Riverhead Project will provide hors d’oeuvres and Mali B Sweets will provide desserts.
“A few of the wineries will actually be debuting some of their 2011 creations,” says Gatz.
In the meantime, the construction of the museum’s new home in Water Mill is proceeding “apace,” says Mark Segal, marketing director at The Parrish.
“Wiring, plumbing, insulation, framing… much of the roof has been finished, including a large section of the south roof visible from Route 27,” he said. “The parking lot is being laid out, the floors have been sealed, and landscaping is underway. All glass has been installed except for the café’s window wall. We are anticipating a mid-October opening, though we do not have a specific date as of yet.”
Other noteworthy aspects of the design of the new building include “the presentation of art in naturally skylit galleries, which replicate the conditions of the artist studios that inspired the design,” says Segal. There will also be “on-site amenities, including a café,” says Segal, “and the opportunity to enjoy the landscape from both within and outside the building.”
As the Parrish Art Museum grows into the new space on Route 27, their visibility will inevitably increase.
“The most obvious change,” says Segal, “[is that] due to the tripling of our exhibition space to 12,000 square feet, [we will be able to] present the first-ever installation of our permanent collection at the same time as temporary exhibitions.”
xIn addition, programming will grow as they make use of “a state-of-the-art multipurpose space for films, lectures, performance, and other public programs. Galleries will be designed to enable the presentation of the full range of contemporary art, including time based and high tech media. The building will allow for an expansion of all our programs,” says Segal.