Open concepts encourage creativity and community

Pausing At Duck Creek




The Arts Center at Duck Creek, located in East Hampton, has become a place to pause for the community. Until recently, Place To Pause Projects were only public through the center’s Instagram account, but they are now open for socially distant in-person visits.

“This initiative was born of my own aversion to screen time and Zoom meetings. The outdoors were the only solace I found from the barrage of sad news and manic media,” Jess Frost, Executive Director of The Arts Center at Duck Creek said. “We wanted to give our neighbors something creative and uplifting to do, something that was socially distanced but also offered a sense of community and collaboration.”

Prior to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Frost thought up ways to utilize the property in collaborative ways between artist and public — the Mandala was born as a community project. Since then, it’s been growing while still respecting social restrictions as others contribute with sea shells, twigs, flowers, and more.

Another pause project, Bring Us A Bird, came to fruition after a conversation between Frost, Nicole Delma, and Edwina Von Gal far before the pandemic, out of Frost’s desire to make the grounds “a birdwatching hot spot.” Frost hung a few origami birds on a giant Black Chestnut tree by the historic Edwards farmhouse. From there, others contributed, including artist Hiroyuki Hamada and his family. Inspired by the Willem de Kooning Foundation, Duck Creek will donate $10 for every paper bird added to the flock, an ongoing project open to the public.

With minimal overhead and non-reliant on ticket sales to operate, Duck Creek remains flexible with operations, continuing to pivot as restrictions change. One such direction includes the COVID Commissions, a series of stay-at-home concerts to support struggling musicians curated by Peter Watrous and supported by the Willem de Kooning Foundation. Talents include Alexa Barchini, Jackson Fitzgerald, Joel Ross, Caleb Curtis, Noah Garabedian, Vinnie Sperrazza, Jacob Sacks, Caroline Davis, Jay Sawyer, Sam Newsome, Carmen Rothwell, Ryan Beckley, Christian Li, Simón Willson, with more to come.

“Creativity and wonder is a huge part of remaining resilient, and art is a priceless form of personal freedom and expression. It is way of reminding us that life is worth living. At its best, a crisis will bring people together, and while this one forced us apart physically, I sincerely think it has brought us back to our humanity, to nature, to a responsibility for our future both individually and collectively.”

“Le Deuce Deuce” by Mason Saltarrelli and Bill Saylor, will be installed in the Barn, open virtually June 13 through July 5. Both Saltarrelli and Saylor worked as assistants to Julian Schnabel in Montauk.

The Arts Center at Duck Creek is located at 127 Squaw Road in Springs. Visit www.duckcreekarts.org.

nicole@indyeastend.com