It begins with, “Let’s go on an adventure.”
Usually, the familiar phrase leads childhood friends Margaret Braun and Chloe Gifkins into a bustling East End downtown or onto the beach for a photo shoot. But earlier this year, it sparked a three-month-long, cross-country road trip instead.
Without hesitation, the 23-year-olds packed up Ms. Braun’s Honda-CRV, hopped in and traveled across the country—taking pictures, creating art, making mistakes, building memories and discussing the world with people from all walks of life along the way.
“I think it can be a really nice unfolding of events when things don’t go 100 percent right,” Ms. Gifkins said last week during an interview at Ms. Braun’s home in Southampton. “Then, that’s when the adventures come in, either the problem solving or the experiences you get from it. They’re memorable and I think that’s where a lot of our work comes from. They inform your life.”
Approximately 5,000 miles and 25 states later, the two artists returned to the East End and unpacked the car. Then, they got to work.
The Adventure Bandits Art Club, version 2.0, was back.
On Saturday, August 10, the event co-founders and their audio production manager, James Ryan, will commandeer the Nova’s Ark Project in Water Mill for a day of art and music—bridging the gap between the local community and the rest of the country by including participants discovered by Ms. Gifkins and Ms. Braun along their road trip, they said.
“A lot of people I was close to and worked with were all doing, individually, really interesting things, whether it was music, photography, painting, sculpture, you name it,” Ms. Gifkins said of last year’s inaugural art collaborative for emerging artists. “If we came together as a force, our voice would be more recognized.”
“We were done waiting for an opportunity to be handed to us,” Ms. Braun added.
New this year, the collective also aims to close the disconnect between art and food by including a farmers’ market, featuring produce from East End-based vendors, such as Bryan Anthony Polite. When he isn’t running his family business, Raindrop’s Quick Stop, on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation, he’s knee-deep in the gardens and greenhouses behind it.
“It’s therapeutic,” Mr. Polite said during a tour of the Raindrop’s garden last week, with Ms. Braun tagging along. “You can just come back here and lose yourself. You can see the fruit of your labor. We also do salsa, canned peppers, zucchini bread. We started two years ago and now we have more land and a bunch of chickens. Want to see them?”
“Yeah!” Ms. Braun said, half-skipping to the back of the property. She suddenly stopped in her tracks, bending down to pick a cherry tomato.
“Go ahead,” Mr. Polite smiled.
“I will,” she grinned, her mouth already full. “Don’t mind if I do.”
They rounded the bend and peered into the chicken coop. “One rooster and all girls,” Mr. Polite said. “He’s mean. Very, very mean. We’ve been getting about 33 eggs a day.”
“Will you bring some next weekend?” Ms. Braun asked.
“For sure. We’re swimming in eggs. Literally.”
The second annual event marks only the beginning of the Adventure Bandits Art Club, the co-founders explained, but they were quick to acknowledge that they are not reinventing the wheel. Collectives are popping up around the country, they explained, and their version is right on the pulse.
“We’re not the only ones doing this,” Mr. Ryan, who performs his music under the moniker Old Sake, said while sitting across from his friends. “This is happening in a lot of places, where people are starting to take the reins. Talent is talent as friends is friends.”
“Which is why it’s cool to hook up with some of our friends who are doing this in Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, where we can have shows,” Ms. Braun added. “It’s a very open collective, so those people have their own, but we can work with them and mesh. It’s Adventure Bandits at …”
She trailed off, shooting a smile at Ms. Gifkins. Where they will be off to next is hard to say.
The second annual Adventure Bandits Art Club, featuring an art exhibition and live music, will be held on Saturday, August 10, from 2 to 10 p.m. at the Nova’s Ark Project in Water Mill. A farmers market will run from 3 to 6 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 353-9883 or visit adventurebanditsartclub.com.