Photo by Lucie Jansch

The Watermill Center: A Laboratory for Performance

Mission

The Watermill Center is a laboratory of inspiration and performance, founded by theater and visual artist Robert Wilson, which provides a unique environment for a global community of emerging and established artists and thinkers to gather and explore new ideas together.

Living and working together among Watermill’s extensive collection of art and artifacts lies at the heart of the Watermill experience. Drawing inspiration from all areas of the arts and cultures, as well social, human, and natural sciences, Watermill artists are also supported by a strong network of international institutions and venues that embrace new interdisciplinary approaches.

About the Center

The Watermill Center was completed in 2006 on the Long Island, NY site of a former Western Union communication research facility. Watermill is unique within the global landscape of experimental theatrical performance and regularly convenes the brightest minds from all disciplines to do, in founder Robert Wilson’s words, "what no one else is doing."

The Watermill Center supports projects that integrate genres and art forms from diverse viewpoints and that break traditional forms of representation and cultural specifics. At the core of Watermill's programming lies year-round support of artists-in-residence. Through both the International Summer Program—a highly collaborative residency led by Wilson—and through one to four week individual artist residencies hosted from September through June each year, Watermill annually welcomes over 150 artists from around the world. This unparalleled global residency program is complemented by educational programs with schools and other local institutions, public events such as open rehearsals and lectures, tours of the building and grounds, and seminars and symposia.

The Watermill Center itself is a 20,000+ square foot flexible working space that includes a 6,000 volume research library, galleries, rehearsal and staging spaces, workshops, offices, and residences situated on eight-and-a-half acres of artist-designed and landscaped grounds. The Watermill Collection of almost 8,000 art and artifact pieces spanning the history of humankind is integrated into all aspects of the building and grounds as a reminder that the history of each civilization is told by its artists.