Pictured Above: “The Oath. 2015.” by Jeremy Dennis

This winter, Guild Hall in East Hampton is launching “Gather,” a new series of conversations led by Black and Indigenous change-makers in Suffolk County.

Four Monday evening sessions beginning Jan. 25 will celebrate the East End’s diversity, recognize the damage caused by colonization, and, most importantly, build and implement new understandings.

According to Guild Hall, the series is “devised specifically for community leaders, service workers, teachers, and developers… platforming the voices and experiences of various BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) scholars, artists, and leaders, providing both lessons on our past histories, and strategies and examples of how to progress forward together.”

The four conversations are led by artist and Shinnecock Nation tribal member Jeremy Dennis,, Guild Hall Senior Associate for Learning and Public Engagement Anthony Madonna, and a rotating panel of historians, artists, and/or leaders of the East End, including Tela Troge, Courtney M. Leonard, Donnamarie Barnes, David Rattray, and Georgette Grier-Key. 

All sessions occur virtually over Zoom with an intimate group of 15–20 people, and include hands-on activities and briefs for a deeper connection to the topics discussed. 

Tickets are $35 per session or $140 for the whole series ($105 for Guild Hall members). Each program runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

On Monday, Jan. 25, attendees will discuss “On this Site,” about the East End’s important native sites, with Shinnecock Nation members Jeremy Dennis & Tela Troge. On Monday, Feb. 1 the discussion will be “The Art of Water” with Courtney M. Leonard. Donnamarie Barnes and David Rattray will discuss the Plain Sight Project, looking to fill in the missing pieces of historical stories of Black East Enders on Monday, Feb. 8. Dr. Georgette Grier-Key will discuss Preservation and Community on Monday, Feb. 15.

Ryan Jiang’s “Light the Way” serves as the cover image for this year’s Student Art Festival.

This series is produced as part of Guild Hall’s Student Art Festival 2021: Past-Present-Future. Proceeds from this series aid the education initiatives at Guild Hall of East Hampton, the development of Ma’s House & BIPOC Art Studio, and the institutions and artists involved.

The Student Art Festival, which runs from Jan. 16 through Feb. 21, looks to our shared past and an imagined future. 

“Through the practice of art and design, ranging from imagery of natural growth and metamorphosis to Futurism and ScienceFiction, students across the East End will collectively produce an exhibit that reflects our past, acknowledges and celebrates our present, and imagines a changed and hopeful future,” according to Guild Hall.

Over the past three months, Guild Hall has paired several artists, all whose practices naturally fits within the Past-Present-Future theme, to local public schools to develop projects to be exhibited at the festival.

Exploring various mediums and topics — from marine debris upsculpting, to futuristic and eco-friendly architecture, to the untold stories of ancestral indigenous people and their land, to the capability of public art and design to enliven communal spaces — artists and students met and worked together through Zoom or Google Classroom to create unique works to be exhibited at Guild Hall.  

The program has connected seven artists — Scott Bluedorn, Megan Chaskey, Jeremy Dennis, Ellen Frank, Cindy Pease Roe, Almond Zigmund and Anthony Madonna — with over 150 students, and thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, was offered at no cost to the participating school districts.

Visitors are limited to 50 in the museum at any given time to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The museum is open Friday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. To receive a free one-hour timed ticket to visit the gallery, sign up online at guildhall.org or call 631.324.0806. Enter through the left front door and follow the one-way footpath through the museum. 

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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