An unprecedented, three-day arts festival will start this Friday (March 23) in the Hamptons that is the brainchild of numerous individuals who represent art, cultural, and historical institutions on the East End. The Hamptons Art Weekend – nicknamed THAW Fest – is sponsored by the Hamptons Art Network, a recently formed group of not-for-profit organizations with a shared goal of creating a unified arts community in the Hamptons.
The upcoming festival is the result of collaboration between many organizations that share similar values and a common desire to demonstrate the immeasurable impact that the arts has on the East End not just culturally, but economically. The Hamptons Arts Network had its first informal gathering in December 2016 and this Friday – some fifteen months later, the ideas that were conceived and developed during monthly meetings at local restaurants and institutions will finally come to fruition.
Southampton, East Hampton, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, Watermill, and Westhampton all have participating organizations. The complete list is Bay Street Theater, Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, Dia: Dan Flavin Art Institute, East Hampton Historical Society, Eastville Community Historical Society, Guild Hall, Hamptons International Film Festival, Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival, LongHouse Reserve, Madoo Conservancy, Parrish Art Museum, Pollock-Krasner House & Study Center, Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center & Museum, Southampton African American Museum, Southampton Arts Center, Southampton Cultural Center, Southampton Historical Museum, Watermill Center, and Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center.
Each organization will provide a sampling of the programming it offers throughout the year. This includes exhibitions, workshops, theater performances, poetry readings, film screenings, musical performances, and garden tours.
“It is thrilling to be able to join forces with our fellow Hamptons non-profit cultural institutions to showcase what we each do all year long,” says Hamptons International Film Festival Executive Director Anne Chaisson. “The newly formed Hamptons Arts Network will introduce those who don’t often visit the area the chance to experience the rich heritage and vibrant arts scene located here, especially at the time of year when traveling between each of the villages is easiest!”
The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) will offer two events as part of THAW Fest. The first is a MasterClass on Saturday, 4 p.m. in which attendees will compare scenes from Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo & Juliet” with those of Franco Zefferelli’s film. Then, on Sunday at 1 p.m., HIFF will screen “The Breadwinner,” which was recently nominated for best animated film at the 2018 Academy Awards. The first event ties in with Guild Hall’s performance of “Romeo & Juliet” scheduled for Saturday evening.
The Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival’s (BCMF) founder and artistic director, Marya Martin, will perform Claude Debussy’s “Syrinx” on flute at the Parrish Art Museum’s “Poetry Night: People’s State of the Union” as part of the museum’s Story Circle event on Friday at 6 p.m. The Parrish will also offer guided tours and “Open Studio” programming for families, which allows the children to tour the galleries and create their own artwork inspired by specific materials and techniques.
The Southampton Arts Center will have a big presence at the festival with seven planned events – some of which will be presented with other festival organizations. The programming is diverse and will cater to many different audiences. There will be an art exhibition, “A Radical Voice: 23 Women,” a film screening of the 2009 documentary, “To Inform and Delight,” a wellness activity with meditation in the SAC galleries, a live performance from Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company, a talk and gallery tour from the curator of “A Radical Voice,” Janet Goleas, a screening of the animated feature film, “The Breadwinner,” and a class for learning the art of chess.
“Southampton Arts Center thrives on partnerships and collaboration, so being a part of the Hamptons Art Network now broadens our reach to be able to work with even more incredible institutions,” shares Amy Kirwin, Director of Programs at the Southampton Arts Center. “THAW-Fest gives us all the opportunity to collectively illuminate the richness of arts and culture on the East End with a weekend of endless possibilities for visitors near and far to be entertained and enlightened.”
Bay Street Theater’s programming is also plentiful and collaborative. On Friday, Bay Street continues with its All Star Comedy series at 8 p.m. The following day, there will be a show by Goat on a Boat, which is a not-for-profit puppet theater. Saturday’s show is “World Puppetry Day: Puppets Around the World.” Later in the evening, Bennie & the Jets: an Elton John Tribute Band will perform at 8 p.m. On Sunday, the theater will screen “I Know A Man…Ashley Bryan” with Hamptons Take 2 Film Festival. Directly after will be a screening of “LarsenWorld” in collaboration with LongHouse Reserve to be followed by a question and answer session.
At Southampton Historical Museum, one can experience “A Whale of a Weekend,” the museum’s way of celebrating Southampton’s local history. There will be guided tours, candlelight tours, and a viewing of the museum’s current exhibit about the rise and fall of the Southampton whaling industry. Additionally, there will be a lecture about Long Island’s maritime heritage and an educational program about making scrimshaw art. Children will have the opportunity to give the historical tradition a try and bring home their own piece of scrimshaw.
Beyond the programs and events listed, there will be tours at the Watermill Center, Eastville Community Historical Society, and the Shinnecock National Cultural Center Museum, lectures at the East Hampton Historical Society, exhibitions at the Dan Flavin Art Institute, Madoo Conservancy, and Guild Hall, musical performances at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center and the Southampton African American Museum, screenings at the Pollock-Krasner House & Study Center and The Southampton Cultural Center, and garden tours at LongHouse Reserve,
“We are thrilled to kick off THAW Fest and begin to promote the East End as a true arts destination, much the way the Berkshires is seen. With 19 organizations involved, this is a huge step forward and the Hamptons Arts Network is truly off and running,” says Tracy Mitchell, Executive Director at Bay Street. “We couldn’t be more excited and thrilled with the Festival and what we can do together in the future.”
For a full schedule of events, times, and locations, please visit the Hamptons Arts Network’s official website, www.hamptonsartsnetwork.org. Further information about any admission fees can best be found at official websites for each organization.