The Watermill Center is a laboratory for the arts and humanities providing a global community the time, space and freedom to create and inspire.
Founded in 1992 by avant-garde visionary and theater director Robert Wilson, The Watermill Center is an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities situated on ten acres of Shinnecock ancestral territory on Long Island’s East End. With an emphasis on creativity and collaboration, Watermill integrates performing arts practice with resources from the humanities, research from the sciences and inspiration from the visual arts. The Center is unique within the global landscape of experimental artistic practice and regularly convenes the brightest minds from across disciplines to do, in Wilson’s words, “what no one else is doing.”
Searching for a new artistic base and incubator for his work, theater director Robert Wilson found a former Western Union research facility in 1986. Abandoned since the 1960s, the building, on the outpost of the Shinnecock Reservation in Water Mill, NY, was in terrible condition, but it had the potential he had been looking for. The building also had a storied history as it was the site where the stylus for the first fax machine had been developed.
By 1989, Wilson’s mind was made up and he was convinced that there was magic in the old and obsolete buildings, and purchased the deed for the building and land. In 1992, The Watermill Center was founded by Wilson and The Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation, with the first International Summer Program being held in collaboration with the Trisha Brown Dance Company. Wilson envisioned Watermill as a laboratory for experimentation, technological and otherwise—a space accommodating artists-in-residence, students, and collaborators, housing an extensive collection of art and artifacts and providing a “think tank” in which artists could conceive, develop, and rehearse new work.
Since the late 1960s, Robert Wilson‘s productions have decisively shaped the look of theater and opera. Through his signature use of light, his investigations into the structure of a simple movement, and the classical rigor of his scenic and furniture design, Wilson has continuously articulated the force and originality of his vision. Wilson’s close ties and collaborations with leading artists, writers, and musicians continue to fascinate audiences worldwide.
Wilson has been honored with numerous awards for excellence, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination, two Premio Ubu awards, the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale, and an Olivier Award. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the German Academy of the Arts. France pronounced him Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (2003) and Officer of the Legion of Honor (2014); Germany awarded him the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit (2014). Wilson is the founder and Artistic Director of The Watermill Center, a laboratory for the Arts in Water Mill, New York.
YEAR IN REVIEW
Your continued support is vital to our mission. At The Watermill Center, artists live with an awareness of what happened in the past – drawing inspiration from and reflecting on it – while creating the new and challenging work of the future. Help us continue our momentum by making a fully tax-deductible contribution today!
Your donation, large or small, to our Annual Fund allows us to continuing providing a global community of artists and thinkers with the time and space to develop their work.
For more information about our Annual Fund, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (212) 253-7484 x119.