Mare Liberum, Tugboat Graveyard. Image courtesy of Dylan Gauthier.
Mare Liberum, Tugboat Graveyard. Image courtesy of Dylan Gauthier.

The Parrish Art Museum has announced that renowned ecologist Carl Safina will be the keynote speaker at Tideland Sessions, a one-day program in conjunction with the museum’s current exhibit, Radical Seafaring, on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Tideland Sessions is a series of illustrated talks, a performance, a workshop, and lunchtime conversations that unite artists, writers, scientists, historians, and the community in conversations about environmental stewardship, with a focus on the regional landscape.

The public is invited to attend the entire event, or any of the programs offered. Admission is $10 for the day; and free for members, children, and students.

“Tideland Sessions will provide a gathering place for in-depth discussions, lead by artists and leaders in the environmental field, on creating a healthy, accessible, and resilient coastal community,” said Andrea Grover, program organizer and Curator of Special Projects.

The concept for Tideland Sessions grew out of a meeting of water-focused non-profits and businesses that was convened in April 2015 at the Parrish Art Museum.

Tideland Sessions enables several of the 25 international artists in the Radical Seafaring exhibition to present their works—which address issues of sustainability, marine pollution, and maritime law—as focal points for the conversation. 

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Brooklyn-based artist collective Mare Liberum will lead an all-ages paper boat-building workshop, as part of the Museum’s ongoing Open Studio program, where participants will make their own 18-inch paper dories that will be capable of floating once sealed. Mare Liberum is partnering with the Southold Project in Aquaculture Training (SPAT), who will provide an aquatic touch tank and lead an additional activity for children. SPAT will also be serving free oysters during the lunch hour session.

Carl Safina
Carl Safina

At 11 a.m., Carl Safina, acclaimed author and President of the Safina Center at Stony Brook University, who holds a PhD in ecology from Rutgers University, will deliver the keynote followed by a book signing in the lobby.

Mr. Safina’s work has been recognized with MacArthur, Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships, and his writing has won the Lannan Literary Award and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Raab medals. He is the inaugural Endowed Research Chair for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University, where he co-chairs the steering committee of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.

His seven books include Song for the Blue OceanThe View From Lazy Point, Beyond Words and others. He is host of the PBS television series Saving the Ocean.

At noon, participants are invited to join breakout lunch discussions at one of several theme tables, headed by representatives of regional environmental initiatives. Box lunches will be available for purchase from the Golden Pear Café ($16.9l, pre-reserved).

Something in the Water, a discussion on water quality, follows at 1 p.m., with Nancy N. Kelley of The Nature Conservancy on Long Island, Edwina von Gal of Perfect Earth Project, and Mara Dias of Surfrider Foundation.

At 2:30, several Radical Seafaring artists will discuss their work in What We Sea: Artists’ Views from the Water. Shinnecock Nation artist Courtney Leonard, eco-boat artist Mary Mattingly, and the Mare Liberum boat building collective among others will each give 10-minute illustrated presentations.

Sag Harbor commercial fisherman Jon Semlear, will speak at the 4 p.m. session, Working the Waters, joined by Hampton Bays bayman Ken Mades, and folklorist Nancy Solomon of Long Island Traditions.

The event concludes at 5:30 p.m. with Blue, a performance of storytelling and images by Constance Hockaday, a TED fellow whose neon You Make a Better Wall Than a Window is on view in Radical Seafaring.

Registration information is online here.


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

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