If you had the chance to share beauty and joy each day would you do it? Of course, you would! Such is the wonderful opportunity I have been handed working at LongHouse Reserve. My name is Joi Jackson Perle and every day I share the LongHouse mission of living with art in all its forms through my work as website and social media director, grant writer and volunteer and school tour coordinator.

One of the most exciting aspects of working at LongHouse is everyone's passion for this organization, how deeply we all believe in living with and sharing art in all its forms.  The LongHouse staff works together daily and each and everyone's ideas are valued.

Horticulturist Holger Winenga and Education Chair Selena Rothwell worked together to welcome Girl Scout Troop 581 for a tour of the LongHouse gardens in support of their work for their Cadette Trees Badge.

Jack Lenor Larsen continues to lead by example, always thinking outside of the box, sharing ideas and plans to make LongHouse an even more engaging and inspiring place to visit.

My commute from the parking lot to the office through The Dunes is an uplifting way to start the day.

I rarely work inside the office during Open Days but it is a peaceful, calming space...very LongHouse-y!  I keep all of Jack's books at my desk for reference and inspiration and the office also maintains an extensive library of books on art, design, and horticulture.

Jack Larsen's latest book "Learning From LongHouse" is a daily source of inspiration and information.

I sit near curator Wendy Van Deusen.  Last year I asked her to help me "test" bubbles that we were giving to children who did the Hand in Hand Treasure Hunt.  The sliding door that hide our files are a Larsen silkscreen custom ordered for a home in New Jersey that were recovered and repurposed when the house was sold.

Most days I can be found outside joining our amazing volunteers in greeting visitors, answering questions and gathering ideas and images for our website and social media. I love to chat with our guests and learn more about their interests, where they live and what is happening in their corner of the world. Everyone has a story and I find that we have more things in common than we do differences.  Even in times of this pandemic, the connection with visitors is an important part of my job and one that I love.

Each day presents an exciting opportunity to present Art in the Gardens to both first time and returning visitors with each person experiencing our annual exhibition in their own way. This year, there were countless wedding anniversaries and birthdays celebrated, two wedding proposals (and acceptances!), and an exchange of wedding vows all with the backdrop of the LongHouse gardens. In these uncertain times when we are all trying to hold on to who we love and what we love, it is an honor to be able to celebrate these moments of pure joy. Interaction with our guests is how I learn what’s working, what needs improvement and figure out ways to make things better.

This was an exciting moment in the LongHouse gardens this summer!

Celebrating 52 years of marriage with a visit to LongHouse.

There is no greater joy in my job than sharing LH with the many children who visit LongHouse. Through the creative work of the LH Education Committee chaired by Selena Rothwell, children can explore art and nature in a safe space populated by larger-than-life art installation, green spaces and plenty of frogs, turtles and bunnies.

My experience with art has always been organic and dates back to my childhood where my mother made sure that art hung on our walls - mostly folk art and prints featuring subjects that looked like our family like a print of “The Banjo Lesson” by Henry Ossawa Tanner. My father, through a mutual friend met Willem de Kooning who was looking for a studio assistant. He was hired and my parents moved to East Hampton where he taught himself carpentry and went on to build de Kooning’s studio in the Springs.  When my father later became a general contractor, my mother brought us to his job sites at least once a week where I played in the backyards of people like de Kooning, James Rosenquist, producer Saint Subber, and many others.

My first job was art filled too as a curatorial assistant at Guild Hall under curator Rae Ferren. Here too was a fantastic opportunity to experience art in a pure form often with the artists themselves.  Rae, an artist in her own right, would simply call a fellow artist if she needed an artwork for an exhibition:  "Hello Bill (Willem de Kooning), this is Rae, can we borrow such and such a piece for a show?"  Then, another call (on a rotary phone!):  "Hello Lee (Lee Krasner), can we borrow...."  A few days later off we would go to an artist's studio to pick up a work, have a cup of tea and a little chat.  Fond memories indeed!

My father, Henry "Jack" Jackson at work on de Kooning's studio in the 1960s.

I learned at a young age that artists treated everyone the same, had a welcoming spirit and enjoyed sharing their extraordinary gifts with all people. Perhaps I did not understand their art but even then, I could appreciate it. This a gift I can thank them and my parents for and one that I share with visitors to LongHouse: everyone is welcome and there are no right or wrong ways to experience art. It’s ok if a sculpture doesn’t speak to you; we’re happy you are here, thrilled that you brought your kids and appreciate your support.

As the end of this most unusual and challenging year nears, I humbly ask that you will consider a gift to our Annual Appeal fund so that we may continue our work.  I know that you will receive many requests from organizations for year end funding, but I hope you consider us too!  LongHouse seeks to serve the community year round with art, nature and kindness, and I tell you we truly work towards that goal everyday.  Every dollar is needed and deeply appreciated.

Thank you for your consideration and I hope to see you at LongHouse soon.

Joi Jackson Perle