East End Arts is celebrating its 45th anniversary with a special concert at the Suffolk Theater on Dec. 7.
The concert will celebrate the people who built the arts organization over nearly five decades: artists, performers, instructors, students, members and the dedicated volunteers and employees who devoted their energy and creativity to the East End Arts’ mission.
“These are the folks that believe in the power of the arts to change lives, create memories, build relationships, improve communities and guide our artists towards amazing opportunities,” East End Arts executive director Patricia Snyder said.
The concert will showcase performances by faculty, students and families, and also feature memorial tribute presentations, she said.
East End Arts was founded as the East End Arts and Humanities Council in 1972 to promote the arts on the East End. It originally operated out of a room at the Pulaski Street School and moved into its current location later that decade, when the historic Benjamin-Corwin property was purchased by Northville Industries and leased to the Town of Riverhead for $1 a year.
Originally, the arts organization occupied the circa 1830 Davis-Corwin House and carriage house, while the now-defunct Eastern Suffolk School of Music took up residence in the Benjamin house next door. The arts council took over operation of the music school in 1995. At about the same time, the property was deeded to the town by the successor to Northville Industries, and the town undertook extensive restoration work on the landmark Davis-Corwin house. Riverhead Town has also renovated and improved the Benjamin house and the old carriage house, which today is used for meeting space, a recording studio and an artist’s live-work studio.
In addition to providing instruction to students in music and the visual arts, the organization mounts approximately six exhibits in its gallery space each year and a holiday gift boutique, providing local artists the opportunity to showcase and market their works directly to customers.
East End Arts also offers cultural programs throughout the year. Since 1986, East End Arts’ Harvest Gospel Concerts have uplifted audiences on both forks every November. The organization has presented the Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival in downtown Riverhead since 1996. East End Arts since 2002 has sponsored and coordinated the Teeny Awards to acknowledge the achievements of East End high school theater groups. Partnering with the L.I. Wine Council, East End Arts founded the annual four-week Winterfest in 2007.
Snyder, her staff and volunteers took a deep dive into the organization’s archives to identify and locate volunteers — including past board members — who helped propel the organization forward. But they still have not been able to find and contact everyone. If you’ve volunteered for the organization, contact Snyder by email or by calling the gallery at 631-727-0900.
The public is invited to attend the 45th Anniversary Celebration Concert Dec. 7 at the Suffolk Theater. A pre-concert reception starts at 6:30 p.m. and performances begin at 7. The event is sponsored by Riverhead Building Supply. Pre-sale tickets are now available online for $20 each.
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