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Art exhibit helps christen Southampton Center
Pieces of entangled plastic Sprite and ginger ale bottles make up a bouquet of blue and green flowers suspended from the ceiling of a gallery at the newly renamed Southampton Center.
Transforming junk mail, waste and plastic debris into artwork has been Aurora Robson’s passion for nearly a decade. Her work will be among those displayed starting Saturday through Aug. 25 at the nonprofit gallery, which opened July 12 and has taken over the space where the Parrish Art Museum once existed on Jobs Lane in Southampton Village.
“This is a wonderful venue for my artwork,” said Robson, 41, of Chester. “People need art and culture in their lives and this place gives that to them. My hope is that people see my art and think more about how a small act like wasting can have huge ramifications.”
The center will serve as venue for artistic and educational programming through partnerships with artists and performers, according to Kristi Avram, a member of the board of directors for the Southampton Center.
Avram said the building had been used as the Parrish Art Museum for nearly 100 years. But after the museum moved to Water Mill a year ago, local politicians sought to determine the best use of the space and formed the board of directors to manage the facility.
“Locals are excited that this beautiful building will stay a cultural use,” Avram said. “There are outdoor movies on the lawn, art displays, kid programs and live performances. If successful, we hope to keep the center open year-round.”
Brooklyn residents Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen, who have collaborated since 2005, will display an abstract view of a seafloor during a storm as part of an exhibit in another room of the Southampton Center.
“The space is ideal for us to be able to express the movement, energy and mass of our artwork,” said Nguyen, 37.
Kavanaugh added that “it’s significant for the community to take steps to maintain an art center and that hopefully people come out and experience it.”
Robson, Kavanaugh and Nguyen -- along with artists Eric Corriel and Krista Dragomer -- will be on hand for a cocktail reception to celebrate the new exhibits on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The center’s regular hours are Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.
Roger Blaugh, a resident of Southampton Village since 1999 and chair of the environmental advisory committee of the village, has been a film and art enthusiast all his life. He was thrilled with the opening of the center right in his “backyard.”
“The center shows films I’ve never seen before and artwork that amazes me,” said Blaugh. “When the museum closed, the village almost had a heart attack, but when the Southampton Center opened the excitement exceeded our despair and it just hasn’t stopped.”