Frank Relle’s “Ducloux,” part of SAC’s new exhibition, “A Celebration of Trees.”

“A Celebration of Trees,” an ecological multi-media art exhibition created to educate and expand thought and consciousness about the world’s vast network of trees, opens Oct. 1 at the Southampton Arts Center, on view through Dec. 18.

An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 1.

Trees are a critical resource to humanity’s survival. For 300 million years, these species have helped stabilize and improve environmental conditions for life on our planet, and today they’re an essential solution to global warming. 

Raising awareness of the devastating consequences of deforestation and the threats faced to endangered ancient trees and forests, Southampton Arts Center’s new exhibition, which includes 80 artists from all over the world, will showcase the beauty and mystery of trees while inspiring viewers to think more critically about how to protect them. It is curated by Laurie Dolphin with Daniela Kronemeyer and Coco Myers. 

“Ever since childhood, I have had a deep love and spiritual connection to the trees around me,” says Ms. Dolphin. “Now, as an adult and artist, I have come to realize that the universal importance of the tree world is fundamental to the survival of mankind. Simply put, we need trees and trees need us–we are forever interconnected. I know that this exhibition will transform our relationship, understanding, and appreciation of trees.”

“Freeman Vines, Hanging Tree Guitars No. 2” |. Tim Duffy photo

The exhibit includes stories from around the world told through photography, painting, silkscreen, sculpture, film, and poetry, and will also include messages from the world’s Indigenous peoples — the original guardians of the forest.

Complementing the exhibition will be a series of programs including virtual and in-person talks, artist tours, workshops, films, and educational events in collaboration with environmental organizations across the East End. 

A series of panel discussions will highlight myths and symbols of the tree world, scientific facts, stories related to their history on Long Island from the Indigenous perspective and how the destruction of forests contributes to climate change. 

SAC is also collaborating with artist Sibylle Szaggars Redford, who will contribute a film presentation with spoken word by Robert Redford.

“Now more than ever, our connection to the natural world must continue to thrive,” shares Ms. Kronemeyer, who serves as SAC’s programming curator for the exhibition. “The devastation we have seen caused by over-logging, development, and wildfires has greatly impacted the survival of our forests and all beings who call it home. This exhibition will inspire the audience to think more deeply about our sacred connection to trees, and serve as a reminder that we each have the power to make a difference when it comes to the health of the environment.”

“Izar”. |. Beth Moon photo

“The East End artists participating in this exhibition have a longtime connection to both the local arts community and to the environment,” said Ms. Myers. “Whether the work is representational or abstracted, it is inspired by nature: the light, the sea, the fields and the trees of eastern Long Island.”

“A Celebration of Trees” is partnering with the non-profit Archangel Ancient Tree Archive (ancienttreearchive.org), whose mission is to create living libraries of old-growth trees for the purpose of functional reforestation. The organization focuses on propagation, reforestation, archive and education.

During the course of the exhibition, which will be on view through Sunday, December 18, SAC’s galleries will be open Friday through Sunday from Noon to 5 p.m. Gallery admission is free. Films are free for members, and non-members can participate for a small fee. 

More information is at southamptonartscenter.org/celebration-of-trees.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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