Perlman Music Program opens new art center on Shelter Island

JOCELYN MURRAY PHOTO | The new Clark Arts Center at the Perlman Music Center campus. Its ribbon-cutting will be on Saturday.

The Perlman Music Program will celebrate the grand opening of the Kristy and James H. Clark Arts Center on its Shelter Island campus on Saturday.

The Clark Art Center, located on Shore Road, has been the focus of the three-year, $3.5-million fundraising campaign. It includes a recital hall with an audience capacity of 100, 10 soundproof practice rooms, a music library and a new, modern girls dormitory.

The center replaces a run-down girls dormitory — a structure left over from the property’s days as the Peconic Lodge — that was torn down last fall.

The Perlman Music Program has raised $2.8 million so far and plans to continue raising funds for another year to pay for the project.

Since it bought the old lodge property in 2000, the Perlman Music program has also rebuilt a faculty cabin and added a student wellness center and the Cumming Stires-Stark Practice Facility to the campus.

Kristy and James Clark, the entrepreneur and philanthropist who has been a leader in the program’s efforts to provide a training for elite young musicians, donated $1.6 million for the building.

Those who have contributed $50,000 or more to the facility will be recognized on a permanent plaque to be installed in the lobby of the art center.

The invitation-only celebration on Saturday will begin with a barbecue for guests with Program Co-chairs Toby and Itzhak Perlman, board members, faculty, alumni, students and donors. Dinner will be followed by a ceremonial ribbon cutting at 7 p.m. after which guests will be invited to tour the new building and attend a “Works in Progress” performance by current students in the new recital hall at 7:30 p.m.

While the building is a state-of-the-art facility, the Perlman Program tried to keep its design similar to the older buildings on the picturesque 100-year-old campus above Crescent Beach. Maintaining the look of the campus “was definitely a concern of ours,” said Emma Leinhass, the new production coordinator at the Perlman Music Program. “We did our best to keep the façade of the rest of the campus; it was designed to really fit in with the feel so it doesn’t stand out.”

The new art center will be the venue for the Alumni Concert Festival that the Perlman Music Program has hosted for two years in the fall. Open to the public, it features alumni who return to the Island to showcase their progress as artists.

The Alumni Festival, said Ms. Leinhass, “gives us both the opportunity for our organization to extend our reach to the lives and careers of the young people who have been part of the program but also to reach into the community at large.”

With the completion of the Clark Arts Center and development of new programs, the Perlman Music Program is moving toward a year-round presence. Student and alumni performances in the future can be expected throughout the year, not just in the summer or fall.

“Shelter Island is home” for the Perlman Music Program, said Toby Perlman.

With the new arts center, she said, “We’re so pleased to finally be able to bring incredible performances in a beautiful space throughout the year to our local community.”

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