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The Art Barge Taking On The Bulkhead Challenge In Support Of Vital Restoration Effort

Nicole Barylski

If The Art Barge raises $25,000 by Wednesday, September 25, the Conways will match that sum. (Courtesy Photo)

Now that The Art Barge, formally known as the Victor D'Amico Institute of Art, has closed for the season, the Amagansett artistic and cultural landmark is turning its attention to the reconstruction of its bulkhead, which after nearly sixty years of safeguarding The Art Barge from rising tides and winter storms is in desperate need of being replaced. The Art Barge already has its permits, and is ready to proceed, however before the work starts, they are holding The Bulkhead Challenge.

Currently, The Art Barge has nearly 50 percent of the necessary funding secured. They still need to raise nearly $100,000 to complete the project. To jumpstart the fundraising efforts, Barge friends, Amy and Bill Conway, are holding a generous challenge. If The Art Barge raises $25,000 by Wednesday, September 25, they will match that sum.

The Conways aren't the only ones championing the cause. Eleven-year-old Jack and his twin brother Fred are among classes-goers at The Art Barge each summer. This year, after learning about the vital improvements the site needs, Jack decided to channel his artistic side and lend a hand by creating bucket hats, with the proceeds going to The Art Barge.

"I want to be a fashion designer when I grow up," Jack shared on his Instagram. "I go to summer camp at this amazing place called The Art Barge. They need money to make repairs and keep it alive! I want to help so I am designing, making, and selling bucket hats."

Jack's hats. (Courtesy Photo)


Jack's hope was to raise $2,000 prior to the start of the school year. Not only did Jack meet his goal, but he crushed it, selling 116 hats, which raised $2,320 for the Bulkhead Challenge. "All hats are $20. They are all unique! I make your hat when I get your order. No hats are exactly the same," he noted on social media. To view Jack's hats, visit www.instagram.com.

Earlier this summer, The Art Barge was voted unanimously by The East Hampton Town Board to be designated as a local historical landmark. The Institute of Art was established in 1960 by Victor D'Amico, the founding director of education at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. D'Amico, along with his wife, Mabel D'Amico, constructed a house at Lazy Point, Amagansett in the 1940s. Prior to founding Victor D'Amico Institute of Art, he initiated MoMA-sponsored art classes at Ashawagh Hall in Springs in the mid-1950s.

"Just as we were overwhelmed last month by our community's support for local historical landmark designation, we have been so greatly encouraged by the immediate reaction to our Bulkhead Challenge," Esperanza Leon, Administrative Coordinator, The Victor D'Amico Institute of Art / The Art Barge, shared. "The Conways generous match gift offer has been followed by numerous donations that are swiftly carrying us toward our goal of raising $25,000 by September 25th."

After discovering the retired Navy barge that now serves as The Art Barge, D'Amico sought assistance from fishermen to move it from New Jersey to the Napeague Harbor shore. In addition to the Barge, the site is home to The D'Amico Studio and Archive, a separate building located at 136 Shore Road, that presents both permanent and revolving exhibitions and also showcases early modernist furnishings, found objects, jewelry, and clothing by Mabel D'Amico, as well as photographs, documents, books, and more.

The Art Barge. (Courtesy Photo)


"We still need to make it there through donations large and small! The Conways have promised another $25,000 once we meet the first goal, and the work will continue until we reach our ultimate goal of $100,000. Meanwhile, thanks to the funds raised so far, the work to reconstruct the bulkhead is expected to begin this month," Leon noted.

Checks can be mailed to:

The Victor D'Amico Institute of Art, PO Box 1266, Amagansett, NY 11930
with Bulkhead Campaign in the memo field

"These are exciting times for the organization, as we head into an anniversary year in 2020. We look forward to celebrating sixty years of art classes at The Art Barge with a brand new bulkhead—and much more!" Leon added.

The Victor D'Amico Institute of Art is "committed to preserving and interpreting the creative legacy of Mabel and Victor D'Amico, and to promoting their significant contributions in the field of art education." During its season, a wide breadth of classes, exhibitions, and events that champion education and "understanding through the art experience" are offered at both unique sites.

Donations can be made at theartbarge.org or by calling 631-267-3172.

The Art Barge is located at 110 Napeague Meadow Road in Amagansett. For more information, visit theartbarge.org.


Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief 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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