Completed in 2006, The Watermill Center combines performance and rehearsal sites with working and communal living spaces. Its flexible and multi-purpose interiors house formal and informal performance spaces, an extensive reference library, kitchen/dining facilities and a dormitory. The Watermill Center Collection of art and artifacts is exhibited throughout the 20,000+ square foot building. The Center is situated on eight-and-a-half acres of wooded and landscaped grounds in a unique, rural setting.
The Watermill Center, as we know it, opened to the public in 2006. A former abandoned Western Union research facility, Wilson renovated the building, while maintaining its original footprint. Today, The Watermill Center buildings consist of a 20,000+ square foot main facility, a separate wood-shop and an outdoor studio.
Surrounding The Watermill Center’s facility are eight-and-a-half acres of verdant lawns, pebbled terraces, gardens and outdoor stages. In past years, support of our Garden Campaign has enabled us to design and execute rooftop, meditation and sculpture gardens for our artists and most recently a wildflower meadow in honor of Clementine Hunter.
The Watermill Study Library reflects the cultural imprint of humanity. As part of the Center’s collection, the library is unique as a singular space where printed material and artwork are brought together. Comprised of Robert Wilson’s still-growing collection, acquired over his more than 40-year career as a visionary artist and theater director, it houses approximately 8,000 titles, including bound volumes, catalogs and periodicals.
The Watermill Collection is more than a static accumulation of artifacts. It is a living entity that is one of the many mediums in which Founder and Artistic Director Robert Wilson explores the relationship between the human body and its surrounding space. In this sense, collecting is an essential component of Wilson’s artistic work, which draws upon a vast and continuously expanding inventory comprising images, objects, texts, music and gestures. Over the past fifty years the Collection has grown to almost 8,000 pieces and still expands at a rate of approximately 300 pieces every year.