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The Parrish Art Museum's Transition From Southampton To Water Mill

Originally Posted: January 22, 2013

Nicole Barylski

The new Parrish Art Museum designed by Herzog & de Meuron. (Photo: Nicole Barylski)

The Parrish Art Museum had been a staple of Southampton Village since 1897 but in 2005, the Parrish purchased property in Water Mill to develop the new site of the museum. After the growth of the permanent collection and challenges to professional museum standards presented by the Jobs Lane building, they decided it was time for a change. The search for the ideal property led to the Water Mill location. Museum director Terrie Sultan said they chose the new location because, "We are only a few miles away from our original site in the Village, yet centrally located for easier access for our entire East End audience."

Inside the Water Mill location. (Photo: Nicole Barylski)

After years of researching and choosing the architects, designing and constructing the building, the process was culminated in November with the launch of the new site. The move to the new building was smooth, Sultan said thanks to great planning by the entire staff. The Parrish entertained more than 20,000 visitors in the first six weeks of operation and Sultan says, "We are all very satisfied with the results."

When considering the design of the new building, they wanted to create a building and landscape design that reflected the core values and mission of the Parrish which included flexibility and environmental and economic sustainability. Sultan says, "The building is reflective of the agricultural vernacular of the East End, and the artists studios that exist throughout the region, thus is a celebration of the creative legacy of the East End."

After thorough research they decided Herzog & de Meuron were the ideal architects for the project. Their resume includes designing several artists' studios and museums along with their long history of sensitivity to the locations of their projects made them the right candidates. Reed Hilderbrand was chosen as landscape architecture due to their use of native plants and sustainable landscapes. Sultan said, "Herzog & de Meuron are very responsive to the working process of artists. The team worked extremely well together."

The biggest benefit of the new building is the increased amount of space the new location offers. The former location on Jobs Lane has a total of only 4,500 square feet while the new location has more than 12,000 square feet of total exhibition space with over 11 galleries. With the expansion of space, the Parrish Art Museum is now able to have their permanent collection, some 250 works of art, along with special exhibitions on display for the first time in the Parrish's history. The permanent collection is on view in six galleries in a total of 7,000 square feet and galleries will be reinstalled with additional works in the collection yearly. Special exhibition galleries which occupy 4,500 square feet of the Museum will be rotated three to four times per year.

Since the opening the Parrish has launched several new initiatives including a new residency for "Parrish Platform", expanded studio workshops for children and families, bilingual gallery tours and a new docent program. Every Friday during the evening they have lectures, music, films, and an ongoing series of artist talks. The Water Mill location also has a new cafe, run by The Art of Eating. Over the years the Parrish's collection has grown exponentially, with the additional space provided by the new location Sultan says, "it provides us with many new opportunities to expand our program."

The new building is a celebration of the creative legacy of the East End. (Photo: Nicole Barylski)



With spacial limitations lifted, the Parrish Art Museum has many exciting upcoming exhibitions and activities. February is family month at the Parrish and they will also have a student art exhibition on view. During the spring they will launch "Alice Aycock Drawings (Some Stories are Worth Repeating)" and for the summer two additional special exhibitions open, "Angels, Demons, and Savages: Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet" and "Michelle Stuart: Drawn from Nature." In the fall they will have another round of "Artists Choose Artists." Sultan has nothing but excitement for the future of the Parrish Art Museum, saying, "2013 is going to be an amazing first year in the new Parrish, and this is just the beginning of what we can do to serve this vibrant community. We look forward to welcoming everyone."

The Parrish Art Museum is located at 179 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information call 631-283-2118 or visit parrishart.org.


Nicole is the Deputy Editor of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski




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