Learn about the history of East End Arts, from our founding to current day.
East End Arts has been a powerful force for unlocking creativity in the arts since its inception. Through the years, we’ve continued our commitment to building community, embracing diversity, and evolving with the areas we serve.
East End Arts began in 1972 as an outgrowth of the Woodrow Wilson Humanities Series. Originally housed in a space donated by the Riverhead Central School District in the Pulaski Street School, we’ve grown into a multi-campus and multi-gallery organization.
In just two short years after incorporation, our first juried art show was held.
The East End Arts & Humanities Council and its ARTRAIN received recognition for building the art appreciation community in areas not served by museums or galleries.
To think that in just 5 years, East End Arts grew from an idea into an innovative force for developing arts in Riverhead and the surrounding communities.
The Benjamin House transformed into a hub for teaching arts and our programs expanded to include the visual arts, theater instruction, and summer camps.
The ‘80s and ‘90s were years when East End Arts moved from galleries and exhibitions to unlocking the creativity of local artists and bringing art directly to the community.
In 1986, performing art was promoted with the first ever Harvest Gospel Concert Series. Since that time, this non-denominational mix of eclectic gospel music has kicked off the holiday season in the North and South Forks of Long Island.
1995 was the year East End Arts furthered its commitment to unlocking the artistic creativity of area residents by assuming management of the Eastern Suffolk School of Music. The Benjamin House becomes a hub for teaching arts and programs expand to include the visual arts, theater instruction, and summer camps.
Memorial Day weekend, 1996, began another time-honored event, the Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival. Inspired by the Italian street painters, Il Madonnari, East End Arts brings together people of all ages to participate in street painting. Like the Harvest Gospel Concert Series, this is now a signature event for East End Arts and is eagerly anticipated by the community.
East End Arts established the Teeny Awards in 2002 to honor the creativity of teens and celebrate excellence in high school theater across the East End of Long Island.
2007 saw support for artists grow with the conversion of The Carriage House into a working studio complex and artist residency to accommodate the growing program offerings.
2007 was also the year East End Arts worked with the Long Island Wine Council, LICVB, and Suffolk County to address the economic needs of the community in the low season months. Winterfest Jazz on the Vine breathed life into the area during the cold months.
During this time, East End Arts establishes satellite locations to further build community in the surrounding areas. Art is shown in the Greenport Theater in Greenport, the Rosalie Dimon Gallery at Jamesport Manor Inn in Jamesport, and the Riverhead Town Hall Gallery in Riverhead.
Downtown Riverhead storefronts bring the community together for public art exhibits, holiday window decorating, art instruction, and a dance party.
2011 celebrates 45 years of unlocking creativity and building community in the East End of Long Island. This is the year East End Arts is honored by Bank of America as a Neighborhood Builder. This national award goes to nonprofit organizations that focus on local neighborhood priorities.
In 2007, East End Arts established satellite locations to further build community in the surrounding areas. The list of satellite galleries continues to grow. Art is shown in the Greenport Theater in Greenport, the Rosalie Dimon Gallery at The Dimon Estate in Jamesport, the Riverhead Farmers Market, Holiday Inn Express in Riverhead, Riverhead BID, and Chamber Offices, and the Riverhead Town Hall Gallery in Riverhead with more galleries coming soon!
2011 Music Masters began to offer local music students one-on-one learning opportunities with master musicians
2012 A collaboration between the Perlman Music Program and the East End Student Student Orchestra begins.
2019 DETOUR, the annual summer art exhibition begins. This program brings a unique gallery experience to the East End of Long Island each year and often features work by local artists.
2020 ART WITH KAT – An online library of virtual art classes allows artists at any level to learn new skills and practice existing ones, all from the comfort of their homes.