Since joining East End Arts more than 20 years ago, executive director Pat Snyder has been instrumental in introducing numerous programs to the organization: the Teeny Awards, JumpstART, Long Island Winterfest and the Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival to name a few.
Her impact has been felt throughout the multi-building campus — in the gallery, music rooms and new recording studio. Through her work, she’s left a permanent legacy at the organization, one that will remain even after she departs at the end of 2018.
“It’s been a long tenure with East End Arts and I’ve enjoyed it tremendously,” Ms. Snyder said. “But there comes a point where you need to transition and bring in new people and keep the momentum going. I’m doing it with the best intentions to make sure East End Arts is strong when I go.”
Ms. Snyder, 62, arrived at East End Arts in 1995 as education director, and laid the groundwork for its School of the Arts by developing the music education program, creating a summer camp program and bringing visual arts instruction to the organization, which at the time focused largely on music.
After becoming executive director in 2001, she increased programming tenfold. She also worked to secure over $1.5 million for program development and capital improvements, including renovation of the Carriage House to provide artist studio space, a recording studio and a studio apartment for visiting artists.
“Pat Snyder has brought strong creativity and direction to programming and growth at East End Arts and the broader community,” said John McLane, president of the organization’s board. “Our membership and school offerings have grown, and events like Winterfest, Community Mosaic and the Teeny Awards have contributed significantly to our local economy and sense of community.”
When Ms. Snyder started there, East End Arts had 45 students. Today, it educates 600 people.
It has also earned numerous accolades, including Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders Award in 2011, the 2016 Smart Growth Award from Vision Long Island and last year’s Imagine Award for Art and Culture.
Ms. Snyder was named 2000 Educator of the Year by the Riverhead News-Review and Woman of the Year by the East End Women’s Network in 2007.
“I leave knowing that I’ve done a really good job of bringing the arts to the community and making people aware, or I hope aware, of the power of the arts and the importance of the arts,” Ms. Snyder said.
Although Ms. Snyder will be leaving in a few months, she is not slowing down.
Currently, she is overseeing the renovation of the barn into a seasonal ceramics studio and creating pop-up galleries to be displayed this summer at the East End Arts campus and in Grangebel Park.
Ms. Snyder said she’ll miss her staff the most and has no plan to retire, but rather will be giving herself time for new opportunities, such as learning to play the guitar she’s had in a case for nearly 30 years.
“The arts are so personal, but yet so broad,” she said. “You can be a part of a really huge event, and it can impact the entire community and the entire East End of Long Island. But at the same time, there’s that personal piece that is so important. I tell parents, there’s nothing to regret about being a part of the arts. It’s going to improve your life, your community — and it’s fun.”