The Springs School Visiting Artist Program is a unique one. Set in the East Hampton Town community of Springs, the off-the-beaten-track community has a rich contemporary artist community with a storied history. Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner and Willem de Kooning were just a few of artists to call Springs home. So did abstract expressionism artist couple James Brooks and Charlotte Park and Italian sculptor Nivola Constantino.

Springs is also the base for Ashawagh Hall which mirrors the historic-contemporary continuum. Pollock and deKooning both presented work there. Now, it's a thriving center for area artists to exhibition work. (The exhibition hall is typically rented by artists or art groups). The annual Springs Artist Invitational is anxiously awaited each year to see who was selected from Springs and a bit beyond. The survey show is held at Ashawagh Hall each year.

A short drive away is the seasonal Fireplace Project, which presents edgy contemporary art exhibitions that would be at home on the Lower East Side, Chelsea or Brooklyn in New York City. The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center is across the street and serves as an anchor of Springs art history. So does the Green River cemetery which serves as final resting place for artists across the historic spectrum.

It's also safe to say that Springs has the highest concentration of working artists in the Hamptons. To toss around a few names, Springs is home to Sara Faulkner, Gerry Giliberti, Sydney Albertini, Rosalind Brenner, Trish Franey, Abby Abrams, Jana Hayden, Jim Hayden, Barbara Groot, Karen Mannix, Michael Cardacino, Andrea McCafferty, James DeMartis and many others.

In other words, the Springs School has a lot of artists to choose from for its Visiting Artist Program. Its history gives it grounds to start up an innovative visiting artist program that goes beyond typical methods of teaching art to kids.

For instance, artist Martha Stotsky taught the kids how to make and use encaustics (a melted wax technique). Faulkner led classes on sophisticated mural making techniques that include weaving individual drawings together into a larger concept and then made into a school mural through a system of projections and grids.

Kate Rabinowitz taught sixth graders how to make watercolor paintings that incorporated musical instruments. Albertini created patterned portraits with the kindergarten classes. Mannix introduced printmaking and vintage postcard collages to second graders.

The Springs School Visiting Program is coordinated and run by Springs School art teachers Colleen McGowan and Sue Ellen O'Connor. It is an outgrowth of a former BOCES-sponsored program that was funded through the school district, according to Nancy Rowan, a parent and Mystery Sale benefit volunteer. The current program is fully funded by donations and is designed to demonstrate how art can be applied to many different aspects of live and living, said Rowan.

For a story on the Mystery Art Show that's unfolding now as a fundraiser for the program, click here. To see a few scenes from the Springs School Visiting Artist Program, continue scrolling.

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Making a mural during the Visiting Artist Program at the Springs School. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

Making a mural during the Visiting Artist Program at the Springs School. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

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Constructing an architectural sculpture during the Visiting Artist Program at the Springs School. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

Constructing an architectural sculpture during the Visiting Artist Program at the Springs School. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

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Making a mural during the Visiting Artist Program at the Springs School. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

Making a mural during the Visiting Artist Program at the Springs School. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

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Exploring materials during the Visiting Artist Program at the Springs School. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

Exploring materials during the Visiting Artist Program at the Springs School. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

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Art on the grounds of the Springs School, courtesy of the students and the Springs School Visiting Artist Program. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

Art on the grounds of the Springs School, courtesy of the students and the Springs School Visiting Artist Program. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

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Student art made during the Springs School Visiting Artist Program. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

Student art made during the Springs School Visiting Artist Program. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

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Getting ready for the Springs Mystery Art Sale. The exhibition and auction presents student and professional art works to benefit the Springs School Visiting Artist Program. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

Getting ready for the Springs Mystery Art Sale. The exhibition and auction presents student and professional art works to benefit the Springs School Visiting Artist Program. Photo courtesy Andrea McCafferty.

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Springs School student Sienna Hirschman with art teacher Colleen McGowan.

Springs School student Sienna Hirschman with art teacher Colleen McGowan.

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BASIC FACTS: "The Springs Mystery Art Sale" will be held from April 23 to 27 at Ashawagh Hall, 780 Springs Fireplace Road, East Hampton, NY 11937. The art exhibition will be on view April 23 - 25 from 4 to 7 p.m. and on Saturday, April 26 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Closing Party and live auction takes place on Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m.

All money raised benefits the Springs School Visiting Artist Program.

RELATED:  "Art Community Links Together for a Mystery Sale of Art"

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