Southampton resident Dorothy Lichtenstein has donated $1 million to the Stony Brook Southampton Graduate Arts Program.
The donation was announced by Stony Brook University President Dr. Samuel Stanley on Wednesday night at the opening night of the Southampton Arts Summer Conference, a 12-day series of writing workshops led by well-known authors in the short story and novel, poetry, creative nonfiction, memoir, and children’s literature. The opening night featured PBS News Hour anchor and novelist Jim Lehrer and his wife, novelist Kate Lehrer.
According to Robert Reeves, the associate provost for the graduate arts program, the donation will be used to expand several programs, including in theater, film, writing and the visual arts.
“Dorothy wanted to give us the opportunity to be able to continue to pursue and build these innovative programs,” Mr. Reeves said. “We want these programs to have support and to grow—essentially she is watering these programs and it will go a long way in the arts to help us establish these programs.”
Ms. Lichtenstein is the president of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, which preserves the legacy of her late husband, a famous pop artist and leading figure in the New Art movement. She has been a longtime supporter of the graduate arts program at Stony Brook Southampton and has participated in it both as an audience member and as a writing workshop member.
“The growth I’ve witnessed in the last decade has been nothing short of amazing,” Ms. Lichtenstein said in a press release this week, commending both Mr. Stanley and Mr. Reeves for their roles in the program’s success.
“Under the leadership of Bob Reeves, Stony Brook Southampton has become a cultural nexus,” she said. “It now takes advantage not just of the literary genius of this area, but also of the amazing number of creative artists in all fields: film, theater, painters, printmakers. Bob has assembled a truly stellar group of individuals in this one place.”
The Southampton Graduate Arts program is a “community” of graduate programs that promote the arts without being a traditional program. Students do original work in creative writing, theater, film and the visual arts.
With the donation, the school will be able to fund scholarships for students, create a black box theater known as the David Rakoff Studio Theater, named for a faculty member who died last year, and launch a digital film-making program, according to Mr. Reeves.
“This is a wonderful endorsement for the creative energy the Southampton Graduate Arts provides,” he said.