Artist and environmental activist April Gornik discusses the upcoming SOFO Annual Summer Gala, where she'll be honored for her conservation work.
“Environmental conservation is a huge learning curve that we all have to go through, and believe me, I’ve only learned about this stuff myself over the past couple of decades. If by now people aren’t alarmed by climate change, then they really have a denial problem that is overwhelmingly frightening. But there is no time for laying blame; it’s time for citizenry to come together and learn. And South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center [SoFo] is one of the great educators in the Hamptons; its programs teach and also inspire people to protect the environment.
he idea of losing even a tiny percentage of our wildlife species just makes me crazy. Environmental concerns have become so enormous for me, they wake me up in the middle of the night, which is why I am so determined to help inspire change. Last year my husband, Eric Fischl, and I hosted the Wildlife Rescue Center benefit, and I’ve gotten involved with the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, as well as Edwina von Gal’s Perfect Earth Project, and The Springs Seedlings through Project Most.
I never intended to paint landscapes with environmental conservation or activism in mind, but if people look at my artwork and are inspired to care more about the environment, I feel very happy to have that interpretation, and I now welcome it. Being an artist is such a great, lucky thing to be able to be, and I just hope that people are inspired to look at nature a second time and understand its value through my work.
I recently attended SoFo’s climate-change symposium, and it was fantastic. It was beautifully done and very powerful. I think that SoFo presents wonderful programs, and its community outreach is excellent, but I think it still has yet to be discovered by much of the visiting community. I’m hoping with events like the upcoming gala and the recent climate-change talk that this will change, slowly but surely, because SoFo certainly deserves more visibility.”
South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center’s 26th annual Summer Gala, Celebrating the East End, takes place Saturday, July 11, at 377 Bridgehampton Sag Harbor Tpk., Bridgehampton