The East End is a breeding ground for creativity. Between the sunrises and sunsets lives a vibrant, colorful landscape that influences artists across every platform — painters, writers, musicians, and beyond. Even those who move to the area with a more conservative professional background often find themselves at the whims of imaginative influence.
In celebration of the evergreen and ever-growing artist community, Paton Miller returns to the Southampton Arts Center as the curator of “East End Collected5,” opening on Saturday, April 20, from 5 to 7 PM.
“When I put together East End Collected, we didn’t call it ‘one’ because we didn’t think it’d be such a huge success,” Miller said of the inaugural East End Collected show that was held in 2015. It featured artists Miller established relationships with over his 40 years of exhibiting in the area. It was presumed to be a “one and done” deal. However, nearly 600 people attended, a clear indication that the show must go on.
Over the years, more than 150 artists have become part of the EEC series. Miller uniquely curates each annual show with different artists, never repeating the same person twice. He noted, “People say the shows are getting better, but the artwork is consistently good. It’s my ability to curate the space that changes.”
This year, 32 individuals will take part in the showcase, which this year includes a new sector, EEC Jr. The junior category features the work of Harlan Beeton, Emily Esposito, Kyle McNamara, Cian O’Neill, Kai Parcher-Charles, Finn Pilaro, and J.B. Riffaud, all of whom are either high school seniors or college freshmen. Some are students from Miller’s private studio classes, in which he helps them with their art school admission portfolios. “It’s a new generation coming up. Southampton Arts Center is a great venue for them to show their work,” said Miller.
Included in the exhibit will be Arden Scott’s display of a 20-foot boat in the middle of the gallery, while Lori Hawkins will show four photographs from the funeral of Skulener Rebbe, the last American rabbi of a Hasidic community who was born in pre-war Europe.
“The artist community on the East End is incredibly supportive. I recently participated in a PechaKucha at the Parrish Art Museum. It was after the presentation of my work that I really understood how much the support of the community meant to me. I am incredibly grateful for living among an incredible supportive community,” Hawkins said.
Other EEC5 artists include Casey Chalem Anderson, Michael Cardacino, Sylvia Channing, Jeremy Dennis, Madison Fender, Francine Fleischer, Carol Hunt, Anna Jurinich, Christine Keefe, Suzanne LaFleur, Geralyne Lewandowski, John Margaritis, Alexis Martino, Lauren Matzen, Eric Meola, Oscar Molina, Joanlee Montefusco, Nika Nesgoda, Cindy Pease Roe, Jay Schneiderman, Ty Stroudsburg, Trina Tozzi Michne, and Isabel Turban.
“The connection to New York and Southampton is a very strong connection. And the North Fork is changing fast, it’s the new Chelsea. A lot of artists are coming from the North Fork,” Miller pointed out.
“The theme is us, here, now. There’s so much to that,” he concluded.
The show runs through Sunday, June 9. Southampton Arts Center is located at 25 Jobs Lane in Southampton. See more at www.southamptonartscenter.org.