Southold students treated to a special trip to Sable Island-related art exhibition

When Mindy Homer of Southold saw acclaimed photographer Roberto Dutesco’s Manhattan-based exhibit “Larger Than Love: The Wild Horses of Sable Island” in October, she was so captivated that she knew that her daughter — and Southold’s other sixth-grade students — had to see it too.

“I just thought it was a great opportunity for classrooms to come [and see the exhibit],” Dr. Homer said. 

She contacted Southold Elementary School principal Ellen O’Neill and arranged for 37 sixth-grade students to travel to New York Friday to see the exhibit just two days before it closed. 

“Any time we can offer our students opportunities that they may not be able to get outside of here, I think it’s a great idea,” Ms. O’Neill said. “Not only is the whole idea of Sable Island very cool and interesting, you could tie it into social studies, science. And then having the opportunity for our kids who maybe would never get to an art gallery or even into New York City — to be able to do that I thought it was a great idea.”

Dr. Homer, a dentist, is the owner of Southold’s Happy KiDDS Pediatric Dentistry. She teamed up with Danielle Zeifman of Zeifman Orthodontics in Mattituck to share the $1,644 cost of renting a coach bus to take the students to Manhattan. 

“She mentioned this to me, and I just thought it was such a great opportunity for the kids to see something like this and learn about art and about the horses,” Dr. Zeifman said. “I want [Southold] to be a great place where kids want to come and have a good education and I think this is a good way for them to learn art and about wildlife and science.”

On the field trip, students got to see Mr. Dutesco’s photographs and artwork of Sable Island and the wild horses who inhabit it. They also got to meet and interact with Mr. Dutesco and ask him questions about his multiple trips to the island, which Dr. Homer said was the students’ favorite part of the trip.

“The [children] were blown away by the artwork and the photography,” she said. “I think it felt very special to be in the city … I think part of the magic of the trip was that they left Southold.”

The island — described by The Canadian Press newspaper as a “rugged and wild windswept sandbar” — sits in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nova Scotia. It was also described as a “place of endangered species, wild horses and legendary shipwrecks.”

Mr. Dutesco is an internationally acclaimed artist, photographer, filmmaker, poet and explorer. He has photographed prominent personalities such as the Dalai Lama, former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau and former president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. Since 1994, he has been dedicated to documenting and showcasing the wild horses of Sable Island. 

Dr. Homer will also be donating to Mr. Dutesco’s IAMWILD, “a global collaborative platform that connects art and conservation,” according to the program’s website. To date, the organization has raised over $1 million, helped over 30 conservation-focused organizations and built a kindergarten in Piyungan, Indonesia, named for the exhibit.

“I just hope that this opens the doorway for other cultural experiences for the children — not just for Southold school district, [but also] Mattituck-Cutchogue or Greenport,” Dr. Homer said. “I think if the community pulls together to see value in something like this, I think more events like this can happen.”

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