Given the effects of climate change, the global need for clean water, and the specific issues on the East End of Long Island, the topic of water is timely and important. In the exhibition, the theme of water is depicted as a natural element, a scientific subject, an issue of social justice, a historical factor, an ecological question, an aesthetic tradition, a metaphor, and a simple necessity for the existence of life on Earth. From the plentiful resources it provided to Native Americans before first contact to the area’s maritime history—which includes colonization and slavery—in addition to the area’s long-standing tradition of agriculture and the current economic importance of the ocean and beaches as the motor of the region’s tourism industry, fresh and salt waters have defined the historic communities on the East End of Long Island since their inception.
The mission of The Church is to foster creativity among the diverse communities on the East End and honor the living history of Sag Harbor as a maker village. It functions as an artist residency, exhibition space and creative center. Housed in a deconsecrated 19th century Methodist church, The Church aspires to be a place where local and national artists and creatives can work, meet, and inspire each other. Founded by artists Eric Fischl and April Gornik, The Church began operation in 2021.