Better Together

The current clime has been tough on pretty much everyone I know in one way or another. And regardless of our opinions, our political leanings, or even what we believe to be true, we can’t forget our common bonds. Let’s everyone agree on the fact that we all have something that we hold dear.

 To that end, it’s certainly apropos that the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill is hosting a “2017 People’s State of the Union Story Circle” tomorrow night, Friday, January 27, starting at 6 p.m. The free event is one of hundreds that are taking place nationwide, and is meant to be part of an annual civic tradition rooted in the belief that democracy is a conversation, not a monologue.

“The Story Circle aims to create a space for sharing and listening and to bring together our communities at the Parrish,” said Corinne Erni, Curator of Special Projects at the Parrish. “It is open to everyone who cares about the condition of our nation and wants to have a voice, and we encourage all members of the community to participate.”

 The People’s State of the Union Story Circle is an invitation to anyone to host a national conversation in their homes, schools, houses of worship, cultural institutions, and community centers. The concept was created by the “U.S. Department of Arts and Culture” an artists’ collective that is neither an official agency nor affiliated in any way with the federal government. The USDAC defines itself as “a people-powered movement dedicated to cultivating empathy, equity, and social imagination.”  Between January 27-February 5, 2017, hundreds of individuals and organizations across the U.S. will sign up to host Story Circles. At the Parrish, participants will join together in the Lichtenstein Theater in small circles of about eight people each to tell stories and discuss topics in a conversation facilitated by a moderator. After the Story Circles, the stories and images will be uploaded to an online platform, yielding a body of work that can be searched and shared, inspiring new ideas and new actions.

 Registration is open to all East End residents age 15 and older. No preparation is necessary. Current participants include artists, therapists, poets, veterans, educators, and community leaders. Space is limited and reservations are required. Please visit or email for more information and to RSVP.

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