For the past 17 years, artist and visionary Robert Wilson of The Watermill Center has been running the most creative summer camp around. Comprised of 50-100 artists from over 30 countries, the participants spend a few weeks each year immersed in a carefully curated art and performance program with a focus on diverse disciplines. For example, past speakers have included a range as broad as Marina Abramovic, Jay McInerney, Wei Hai-Min, Marianne Faithfull and DJ Spooky. Billing itself as “A Laboratory for Performance,” the center puts on a wide selection of lectures, performances, concerts and even magic shows. (I had a troop of magicians at my house earlier this summer to prove the last one.)
As part of the International Summer Program, this Friday, August 19, the Watermill Center will be taking over Sylestor Manor on Shelter Island. One of my favorite places, Sylestor Manor is a working educational farm that hosts all types of fun events from bluegrass concerts to banjo making workshops. They also grow some amazing vegetables sold in their roadside farm-stand and through their CSA. If you haven’t been there, it is a truly beautiful place that feels un-touched by time, being one of the oldest single family owned properties in New York, tracing their lineage back to the first colonial settlers of Shelter Island in 1652. Just some of the trees on the property alone are worth a good full-hour exploration.
I’m not entirely sure what the Watermill Center is up to, as the press release says “Shelter will take place throughout several performance ‘rooms’ cut into the landscape of one of the large hidden fields on the 243-acre grounds of Sylvester Manor. The landscape design is carried out in collaboration between the artists of Watermill and the staff of Sylvester Manor.” I’m pretty sure what ever it is will be amazing. You have to reserve tickets, but they are free and you can do so here.