In 1955, through the auspices of the Department of Education at The Museum of Modern Art, Victor DAmico instituted summer classes on the East End. He used Ashawagh Hall in Springs as home base, but Victor had greater aspirations. “Some place more dramatic and reflecting the character of the environment – sky, sea and salt air, either a boat or resembling one.” The vision materialized in 1960 in the form of a Navy barge towed from Jersey City and beached on the shore of Napeague Harbor on land originally owned by Mabel.
The Art Barge Today
The original barge structure was remodeled to accommodate studio and workshop space. An upper deck was added in 1963 to provide additional studio space and a library/lounge area. It became known familiarly as The Art Barge. The Art Barge has hosted classes since the 1960's, based on the progressive teaching philosophy and methodology advanced by Mabel and Victor DAmico. The sensitive, individualized approach of the instructors, the breathtaking natural surroundings and the school s unique architecture, serve to inspire, motivate, and ultimately draw out each students creative potential.
The Art Barge, like their home, is where the lives of Victor and Mabel come together conclusively to create an outstanding legacy for modern art education and for art in everyday living. Students gain practical insight to Mabel and Victors methodologies through active participation in classes, visitors are captivated by the vistas and the creative audacity of this boat structure beached permanently on the shore. All are urged to supplement their “D Amico experience” with a visit to the D Amico Studio and Archive, which is open for tours by appointment, year-round.