History of The Watermill Center

From its inception, the building housing The Watermill Center was predestined to have an exceptional existence. From an unassuming structure on the outpost of the Shinnecock Reservation evolved an edifice that grew to a 30,000-square-foot Western Union research facility, where the stylus for the first fax machine was developed. This laboratory not only cultivated technological innovation; it also created the perfect backdrop for experimentation of another nature, a platform on which Robert Wilson could fully realize his dream of a space that would, at once, accommodate artists-in-residence, scholars, students, and collaborators; house his extensive collection of art and artifacts; and provide a "think tank" in which artists could conceive, develop, and rehearse. Though Wilson had been tuned into the East End of Long Island since the early 70s, not just any predictable Hamptons acreage fraught with shingles, clapboard, pool house, and tennis courts would do, no matter how lucent the light. In the mid-eighties, the visionary's mind was made up that there was magic in these old and obsolete buildings, and eventually the deed was passed to the Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation. Now stands an eight-and-a-half acre arts compound, surrounded by verdant lawns and outdoor sculpture gardens, to which he returns every summer. The Center is also home to an ever-burgeoning collection of artifacts, textiles, sculpture, furniture, and art objects that are safely stored and available for study. Considering he passes the majority of his days in the darkness of blackened theaters all over the world, Wilson once said his greatest joy was the light. Now, through the dedication of many each year, he has plenty of that.

Click HERE to make a reservation to tour The Watermill Center building and grounds.