The Retreat Honors Ben Krupinski Builders & Artist Barbara Maslen
By Claudia Pilato, Retreat Co-President
Nearly a year ago, our community lost Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, along with their grandson. But their generosity is still being felt. The Retreat, a domestic violence prevention agency, headquartered in East Hampton just dedicated BEN’S ROOM a creatively designed movement space, built by Ben Krupinski Builders, and decorated with original murals by local artist Barbara Maslen.
Stephanie House, The Retreat’s emergency shelter, has benefitted from the ongoing generosity of Ben and his team. “Ben was visiting to discuss changes and renovations to the original space, built by the town of East Hampton almost 30 years ago,” explains Shelter Director Vicki Cooper. “A small child ran up to him and hugged his leg, with tears in his eyes Ben committed to making the shelter a better place.” Ben’s new plans included a large expansion and space for a children’s room. “The renovations exceeded our expectations,” exclaimed Cooper. “Today the space is lively and bright. It is a place where the children feel safe and excited. The space is used for yoga and dance classes, family counseling and child care, with plenty of time for simple play; all contributing to healing the wounds caused by years of abuse witnessed or directly experienced by our clients.”
Ray Harden, one of the current owners of Ben Krupinski Builders and a 31-year veteran of the company, accepted the dedication on behalf of the company and in memory of Ben. “Kids held a special place in Ben’s heart. His instruction to us was to make the project happen. He quietly and without accolades tried to do whatever he could to give back to the community,” commented Harden.
A team quickly came together around the children’s room project with Ben’s direction to design the space regardless of resources. John Whelan, Project Manager for Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects, jumped on board. “Everyone working with us was wonderful,” he said. “Each subcontractor treated the project as if it were an expensive high end home. The heart and soul of the commitment to the space is evident in this example. On a Friday afternoon, a worker was asking around to see if anyone had an old TV to use in the space. On Monday morning, one of the subcontractors showed up with a brand new 52-inch TV that he and his wife purchased as a donation.”
Not only is the room well constructed, it is bright and beautiful thanks to the work of Sag Harbor artist and muralist, Barbara Maslen who created original engaging murals of animals, on land and sea, to decorate BEN’S ROOM. “My mission is to bring big, bright, original art to otherwise neglected spaces to energize the space, engage the viewer and bring beauty and joy to people who don’t normally have access to art,” shared Maslen. “Art can be transformative to a community,” she added.
“We are so grateful to Barbara for continuing to share her amazing artistic vision with us,” said Loretta K. Davis, Executive Director of The Retreat.