STUDENT ART FESTIVAL: Eco vs Ego - Guild Hall
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Student and Artist in School Guild Hall Student Art Festival

Artist Pamella Allen, Student Art Festival. Credit: Joe Brondo for Guild Hall

Event Category:
Saturday, January 20 - February 26, 2024
158 Main Street
East Hampton, NY 11937 United States



2022-2024: SAF In-School Artist-in-Residence Program

January 20 – February 26, 2024: Student Art Festival Exhibition & Public Programs

What provides humans with what we need to thrive? Eco.  What sustains us physically and mentally?  Eco. What is the fabric that weaves everything on earth into one magical whole?  ECO!

 Why do humans risk their future in order to set themselves apart from nature?  Ego.
 What makes us think we are different from all other life forms?  Ego.
 What gives us the right to take from the earth as if it all belongs to us?  EGO!

-Edwina von Gal

Student Art Festival: Eco vs Ego explores our symbiotic relationship with nature. Led by landscape designer and guest Thought-Leader, Edwina von Gal,  the Student Art Festival (SAF): Eco vs Ego asks students, school teachers, and artists to delve into topics such as Needs/Survival: Shelter, Food, Water; Infrastructure & Growth; Anthropomorphism & Symbolism; and Biophilia, through the practice of art, design, horticulture, and performance.

Core to the Festival, is the SAF In-School Artist-in-Residence program (SAF AIR). SAF AIR began in 2021 with 6 local artists helping over 150 students in 5 different schools to create work for the 2021 SAF: Past-Present-Future. The program has grown in 2022 to 23 artists working with all 14 participating schools to research, experiment, and produce works throughout the 2022-2023 school years, culminating in a Festival of exhibitions and performances in January and February 2024.

SAF AIRs include: Pamella Allen (Interdisciplinary Artist & Educator), Keren Anavy (Visual Artist), Cliff Baldwin (Musical Artist), Sean Barret (Montauk Seaweed Supply Co.), Darlene Charneco (Visual Artist), Viv Corringham (Vocalist & Sound Artist), Andrea Cote (Multi-disciplinary Artist), Lionel Cruet (Multi-media Installation Artist), Mare Dianora (Interdisciplinary Artist), Denise Silva-Dennis (Artist & Educator), Jeremy Dennis (Fine Art Photographer), Courtney Garneau (Surfrider Foundation), Brianna Hernandez (Interdisciplinary Artist & Educator), Matthew Jensen (Conceptual Landscape Artist & Photographer), Liz Joyce (Puppeteer), Laurie Lambrecht (Visual Artist), Brett Loving (Excavator Artist), Tucker Marder (Interdisciplinary Artist & Landscape Designer), Cheryl Molnar (Visual Artist), Mamoun Nukumanu (Artist & Bio Art Designer), Jody Oberfelder (Director, Choreographer & Filmmaker), Beau Bree Rhee (Visual Artist & Choreographer), Alexandra Talty (Journalist & Reporter), & Rosario Varela (Abstract Landscape Artist).

In addition to the SAF AIR, Guild Hall has also partnered with several neighboring non-profits who share and consistently act-upon the values within this year’s theme, Eco vs Ego. Each organization will take part in the SAF AIR program by either working in-school with an SAF AIR, or welcoming the SAF AIR and their assigned schools for a field trip on their site. Partnering organizations include: Ma’s House & BIPOC Artist Studio, Peconic Land Trust, Montauk Seaweed Supply Company, Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program, Surfrider Eastern Long Island, Folly Tree Arboretum, and Project MOST. As the program develops throughout 2022-2024, Guild Hall’s Learning + Public Engagement department (L+PE) will present several showcases and public programs with Thought-Leader, Edwina von Gal, to platform the creativity and partnership of our students, schoolteachers, and SAF AIRs, all building up to the Festival in January and February 2024.

Through the Student Art Festival, Guild Hall provides opportunity and a platform for all involved to “think like an artist.” By pairing East End artists with local schools, we invest in the local creative economy, encourage the next generation of creative thinkers, and in reference to Guild Hall’s founding mission, to be “a gathering place for community where an appreciation for the arts would serve to encourage greater civic participation,” connect the tenets of creative production to civic action. 


The Guild Hall Student Art Festival (SAF) is a beloved tradition that encourages and celebrates the artistic achievement and imagination of students, Kindergarten to Grade 12, on the South Fork of Long Island. Platforming student art from Bridgehampton to Montauk, this festival includes a monthlong Museum exhibition of student work, expertly curated and hung by Guild Hall staff, student performances in our John Drew Theater, and several public programs and events.

Over the past three years, Guild Hall has made significant advancements to the SAF. Through close collaboration with schoolteachers and artists, we explore an annual theme, produce work for exhibition, and link the tenets of creative production to civic participation. Beginning in 2020, a centralized theme, Made By Water, was given to the SAF, allowing 2,000 students to collectively explore concept-based creative production in the visual, literary, and performing arts. In 2021, this approach was strengthened with the addition of the SAF In-School Artist-in-Residence program, connecting seven locally-based artists with seven schools to produce unique original interdisciplinary works in-tandem with the 2021 SAF theme, Past-Present-Future. As Guild Hall enters a transitionary year, with a landmark capital enhancement project to our entire campus, the Learning + Public Engagement team has reevaluated, and once again, advanced the SAF. Beginning in 2022, the SAF will move toward a biennial festival titled, Eco v Ego. The time gained through a biennial format will allow a creative and educational focus on “process over product,” a larger investment in the SAF In-School Artist-in-Residence program, and the addition of an inaugural Thought-Leader from Guild Hall’s Academy of the Arts.


Guild Hall, one of the first multidisciplinary centers in the county to combine a museum, theater, and education space under one roof, was established in 1931 as a gathering place for community where an appreciation for the arts would serve to encourage greater civic participation. For nine decades, Guild Hall has embraced this open-minded vision and provided a welcoming environment for the public to engage with art exhibitions, performances, and educational offerings. Art and artists have long been the engine of Guild Hall’s activities and the institution continues to find innovative ways to inspire creativity in everyone.

The Learning + Public Engagement (L+PE) department manages all Guild Hall educational initiatives on site, and in schools, the Guild Hall Teen Arts Council (the first paid teen arts program in the region), and the Guild Hall William P. Rayner Artist-in-Residence Program. Through programming that uses our exhibitions, theater roster, and rich artistic history, Guild Hall’s L+PE department strives to create experiences for all our communities to think like an artist: to see and respect a world of various colors and shapes, to experiment with harmony and dissonance, and to value process over product. This means that while a focus on technique, play, and history are foregrounded, problem solving, media literacy, communication, collaboration, design, and critical thinking are the underlying goals of all our educational initiatives.

  • Edwina von Gal

    Principal of her eponymous landscape design firm since 1984, Edwina creates landscapes with a focus on simplicity and sustainability for private and public clients around the world. Her work has been published in many major publications and her book "Fresh Cuts" won the Quill and Trowel award for garden writing in 1998. In 2013, Edwina founded the Perfect Earth Project to promote toxin-free landscapes for the health of people, their pets, and the planet. She is the 2017 recipient of Guild Hall's Academy of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award for the Visual Arts. In 2018 she received the NY School of Interior Design's Green Design Award and The Isamu Noguchi Award.

Event Sponsors

Lead Sponsors: Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation and an anonymous donor 
Co-Lead: Lynn and Bruce Surry, and Neda Young 
Additional Support: Nina Gillman 

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Guild Hall’s Learning + Public Engagement programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Additional major support comes from The Patti Kenner Arts Education Fellowship, The Hearthland Foundation, the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Endowment Fund, and The Melville Straus Family Endowment. 

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