Tabitha Arnold (Photo by Harry Winkler), Margarita Cabrera (Photo by McColl)


Sag Harbor — Continuing the celebration of our summer exhibition, Threading the Needle, The Church welcomes artists Tabitha Arnold and Margarita Cabrera. The two will converse about their careers, ideas, and works featured in the show. Both artists create moving, impactful and challenging work about difficult subjects. Politics have a central role in their work, lives and thinking.

In addition to her career as a visual artist specializing in textile and fiber-based art, Tabitha Arnold is a member of Philly Socialists and a labor organizer with Dignity. Using an ancient technique to present the pressing issues and questions of the present moment, Arnold’s textiles are populist and devotional, making scenes of collective outrage tangible and immediate. To her, fiber art can convey a sense of familiarity that allows disparate views to talk about inequality and the abuse of power in our society. This method was used by the Mexican muralists and Soviet mosaic artists and is seen in Afghan war rugs and quilts of Gee’s Bend. Drawing on these references, Arnold uses art as a call to arms and a vector of social change. Tabitha’s piece in the exhibition is a goat-hide shaped tapestry titled Pure Finder (2021). She created the work for the prayer room at Glen Foerd estate in Philadelphia, PA. It depicts workers engaged in the long, dirty, arduous process of refining leather at the Vic Kid Factory. From the late 1800s to early 1900s, the factory employed hundreds of people and founded the fortune of the Foerderer Family.

Born in Monterrey, a city in the Mexican state of Nuevo León, Margarita Cabrera moved to the US with her family at the age of 10. Cabrera’s soft sculptures often depict common appliances and goods to pay homage to the lives of Mexican laborers, working in harsh conditions in factories on the US-Mexican border to produce goods for the US market. Margarita Cabrera has three soft sculptures in the show: Nopal con Tunas #2, 2006, Space in Between – Nopal #6, 2012, and Space in Between – Saguaro (Maria Lopez), 2010. These are part of her on-going collaborative social practice project with Spanish-speaking immigrant communities in the United States. The initiative promotes cultural dialogues around community, craft, immigration, cultural identity, and labor. Workshop participants work with Cabrera to produce sculptural replicas of desert plants indigenous to the Southwest. Made from US border-patrol uniforms, the sculptures are a stark reminder of the harrowing experiences and perilous journeys taken by Latin Americans crossing the border in the beautiful but dangerous landscape of the Southwest.



Tabitha Arnold makes labor-intensive art. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, she now lives and works in Philadelphia, where she studied Painting at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her meticulous tufted rug artwork speaks to the radical past and ongoing struggle that threads all working people together. She’s inspired by the history of the labor movement, as well as her own direct experiences as a worker, organizer and artist coming of age during a wave of unionization and class-consciousness in America.

Arnold’s textiles have been featured by Hyperallergic, Lux Magazine, and issue covers of Dissent Magazine. Her historical textile installations at Glen Foerd are currently on view at the estate, with one piece from the residency visiting The Church in Sag Harbor. She was a June 2022 resident at Còrtex Frontal, Portugal, and is a member of the American Craft Council’s 2022 Emerging Artist Cohort.



Margarita Cabrera was born in Monterrey, Mexico and moved to El Paso, TX at the age of 10. Cabrera received an MFA from Hunter College in New York, NY. Cabrera’s work centers around socio-political community issues including cultural identity, migration, violence, inclusivity, labor, and empowerment. She has received critical attention for her collaborative sculpture series Space in Between, which consists of cacti sculptures constructed from green border patrol uniforms. The sculptures are produced through community workshops, where participants embroider the cactus leaves with images that represent their stories. This collaborative process references the rich traditions of indigenous Mexican textiles, and especially pays homage to the collective labor of women. In May 2019, Cabrera unveiled the monumental, participatory public sculpture Árbol de la Vida: Voces de la Tierra, in San Antonio.

Cabrera has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at institutions across the United States, including the Dallas Contemporary, El Museo del Barrio (New York), the Ford Foundation Gallery (New York), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the McNay Museum (San Antonio), the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art (New Orleans), the Seattle Art Museum, SITE Santa Fe, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, and the Sweeney Art Center for Contemporary Art at the University of California, Riverside. In 2012, she was a Knight Artist in Residence at the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, North Carolina. Cabrera was also the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant.


The mission of The Church is to foster creativity among the diverse communities on the East End and honor the living history of Sag Harbor as a maker village. It functions as a creativity center, exhibition space and residency. Housed in a deconsecrated 19th Century Methodist church, The Church aspires to be a place where local and national artists and creatives can work, meet, and inspire each other. Founded by artists Eric Fischl and April Gornik, The Church began operation in 2021. Championing new and traditional technologies through collaboration, education, and outreach, we strive to be an asset for the community in all its richness and heterogeneity.    

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Margarita Cabrera (Photo by McColl) | Tabitha Arnold (Photo by Harry Winkler). 


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