Family stories and personal connections to Greenport history are recounted by family members whose eyes are featured in the public sculpture. All these families have resided Village of Greenport for nearly a century, with one going back to the first settlement in Southold in 1640.
I remember meeting Arthur at Aldo’s for coffee after he answered my call for interviewees. He was full of enthusiasm and details about the past, sending additional photos and articles often throughout my research into Greenport’s history. I visited him in his Sandy Beach bungalow overlooking the water, and later, the house in Peconic Landing, where he’d always attend events with his lovely wife Lucia.
Jo and I developed a friendship into her late years with Sunday brunch visits at Peconic Landing and loving phone calls were she continued to share vivid stories from her past and her ceaseless philanthropic and church activities in the present. She passed away on March 12, 2020 shortly after her 99th birthday.
I still hear the echoes of her animated voice and sense her strong warm presence and and spirit here with me.
I recall Lilliian’s assertive feistiness, and Bob’s humor and sharp memory, but what I most remember was the endearing love the highschool sweethearts showed for each other after 67 years together. Lillian passed shortly after filming, in December 2014, at age 88, and Bob passed away two years later on December 29, 2016, age 90.
I will be presenting an Artist Talk at Peconic Landind in Greenport, Long Island at 3 pm January 17, 2015 discussing the evolution of my work with “Collective Portraits” including “Eyes on Main Street” my most recent project “A Port of Views.”
“Andrea Cote has explored the body and identity as a subject for over 20 years. Since having a child and setting roots on the East End, she has become increasingly interested community-based projects that explore the collective identity of a place through the bodies and histories of individuals. Many of her recent projects involve a public installation that acts as a portal to a private experience. Throughout all her work she is interested in evoking empathy in the viewer – an understanding of the stories we tell our selves and each other.
In this multi-media presentation she will share projects including “Eyes on Main Street,” a community public project for downtown Riverhead in 2013 that comprised a public installation, a website, videos, and several public events. Recently she installed “A Port of Views,” a site-specific sculpture and series of videos for the Village of Greenport, NY. Imagery included the eyes and stories of Greenport families who have resided here for several generations. Featured families included residents of Peconic Landing, Jo Watkins and Arthur Tasker, whose interviews will be screened.”
1500 Brecknock Road,
Greenport, New York 11944
In conjunction with The Maritime Festival in Greenport, a selection of the the video interviews from “A Port of Views” will be shown alongside “Captain Pat Mundus”, a film by Tony Bettler and Marla Milne in the Greenport Theater. Hosted by the East End Seaport Museum and Maritime Foundation.
On Saturday May 30 at 5 pm we unveiled the sculpture with a ceremony. It was a beautiful, if windy, day and a supportive crowd gathered on the Observation Deck. I was moved by how many friends came out from all over the East End and even NYC, as well as locals, participants and representatives from the Greenport Village. I was surprised to also meet newcomers to Greenport who had discovered the project for the first time.
Former Mayor David Nyce made an introduction and then I spoke a bit about the inspiration for the project, gave many thanks, and introduced the participating families, who everyone was excited to meet (see the lovely picture taken by Lisa Finn/Southold Local above.) Then my husband Pierre Cote and David Nyce cut open the tyvek “veil” and my son Nathaniel was the first to look through the eyes to the vista. People cued up and took a look-through.
Everyone commented on what a perfect day it was and all that was reflected in the sculpture – it all seemed meant to be- the site, the view, the skies and water behind and though, the town of Greenport and the viewer reflected within the wheel. The past and the present cycling all at once. I must say that I was truly rewarded upon seeing the piece in it’s envisioned place. After seeing it indoors for so long, it reminded me that when a piece is site-specific there is truly a magic when it arrives there and comes to life. To truly be surprised by my own art and process- it’s one of the great rewards of being an artist and what drives me forward.
I wonder what comes next.
After a dinner with friends, I returned to take in the sun setting and it was outstanding – a moment I’ll never forget:
The next day the wonderfully supportive reporter Lisa Finn from Southold Local – who has been following the project since my first proposal to the board at Town Hall back in September through covering the opening ceremony- wrote this lovely article:
It’s been quite a journey, and on Saturday on May 30, 2015 the Sculpture will finally be installed onsite on the Observation Deck in Mitchell Park!
At 5 pm there will be a short Opening Ceremony led by Former Mayor Nyce, an early supporter of the project. The participating families featured in the project will be in attendance and introduced. Join us for a reception afterward on the deck where the videos will be on view. Take a stroll beforehand and visit local galleries on the Greenport Gallery Walk, organized by Caroline Waloski and Siren’s Song Gallery, where you can also see a series of project-related prints. Thank you to The Greenport Business Improvement District for hosting this event!
* Events will take place on the Observation Deck at Mitchell Park on the Waterfront. It is beside the Marina Office and above the Tourism Office. If you are on Front Street and First, it is just past the Little Red Schoolhouse, walk half a block towards the waterfront, passing the old Blacksmith Shop.
* Siren’s Song Gallery is at 516 Main Street
Site-specific Installation on View: May 30 – Sept. 27, 2005
and NYSCA– This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and is administered by The Huntington Arts Council, Inc.