Better Together

The current clime has been tough on pretty much everyone I know in one way or another. And regardless of our opinions, our political leanings, or even what we believe to be true, we can’t forget our common bonds. Let’s everyone agree on the fact that we all have something that we hold dear.

 To that end, it’s certainly apropos that the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill is hosting a “2017 People’s State of the Union Story Circle” tomorrow night, Friday, January 27, starting at 6 p.m. The free event is one of hundreds that are taking place nationwide, and is meant to be part of an annual civic tradition rooted in the belief that democracy is a conversation, not a monologue.

“The Story Circle aims to create a space for sharing and listening and to bring together our communities at the Parrish,” said Corinne Erni, Curator of Special Projects at the Parrish. “It is open to everyone who cares about the condition of our nation and wants to have a voice, and we encourage all members of the community to participate.”

 The People’s State of the Union Story Circle is an invitation to anyone to host a national conversation in their homes, schools, houses of worship, cultural institutions, and community centers. The concept was created by the “U.S. Department of Arts and Culture” an artists’ collective that is neither an official agency nor affiliated in any way with the federal government. The USDAC defines itself as “a people-powered movement dedicated to cultivating empathy, equity, and social imagination.”  Between January 27-February 5, 2017, hundreds of individuals and organizations across the U.S. will sign up to host Story Circles. At the Parrish, participants will join together in the Lichtenstein Theater in small circles of about eight people each to tell stories and discuss topics in a conversation facilitated by a moderator. After the Story Circles, the stories and images will be uploaded to an online platform, yielding a body of work that can be searched and shared, inspiring new ideas and new actions.

 Registration is open to all East End residents age 15 and older. No preparation is necessary. Current participants include artists, therapists, poets, veterans, educators, and community leaders. Space is limited and reservations are required. Please visit parrishart.org or email info@parrishart.org for more information and to RSVP.

Who Doesn’t Love a Tax Break?

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Another reason to call Southampton Town Jay Schneiderman the man!

On Monday afternoon, he delivered his proposed budget to Town Clerk, Sundy Schermeyer. Said budget calls for a nearly 2-percent drop in the current property tax rate, the largest reduction in the tax rate in many years.

“We’ve looked back over the past ten years and this is by far the most significant reduction in the tax rate that has been seen,” said Supervisor Schneiderman.

Here’s the rest of the information contained in an email sent straight from the Supervisor’s office this afternoon:

The 10-page Budget Message contained in the document details the approach to the budget development.  The Supervisor worked to stay within the Governor’s tax cap which allowed for less than 1% growth in the amount collected by the town in property taxes.  This budget not only came in below the cap but actually decreased the tax rate by 1.6%.   According to the budget message the Supervisor focused on public safety and quality of life issues as well as improving town infrastructure including roads and park facilities. The Supervisor called the budget, “structurally balanced and responsible”.

Supervisor Schneiderman thanked Town Comptroller Len Marchese for his assistance in developing the tentative budget. “This budget, as offered by Supervisor Schneiderman, continues the conservative budgeting of past administrations, while addressing some of our most valuable assets including employees, Town infrastructure and park facilities,” said Town Comptroller Len Marchese. Earlier this year, Moody’s Investment Services increased the Town’s credit rating to the highest level citing the strong financial management team at Town Hall among other factors.

The proposed budget offers several new positions; including one police officer and one public safety dispatcher paid from additional sales tax revenue secured from the County during Mr. Schneiderman’s tenure as Suffolk County Legislator for the region.   The budget also calls for a Director of Public Safety and the Director of Housing and Community Development.

The proposed budget calls for the consolidation of Code Enforcement, Animal Control, the Fire Marshall and Emergency Preparedness into a newly created Department of Public Safety. In addition, the proposed budget creates an Office of Housing and Community Development as a division of the Department of Land Management.

The Supervisor said that both changes were needed to address quality of life complaints. The new Department of Public Safety will focus on addressing housing code violations while the new Housing Office will focus on creating code compliant affordable housing opportunities for our workforce.

The proposed Town budget provides $3.2 million in capital borrowing for road improvements and $1.4 million for park facility upgrades. The budget also proposes $1.3 million in major technology upgrades in town-wide computer networks. Although the budget calls for this additional borrowing, the overall level of outstanding town debt is actually being reduced by over $7 million. The budget maintains surpluses in every account, with a cumulative increase in surplus funds of over one million dollars above current levels.

The 800-page budget document is bound by a binder with a rendering of Good Ground Park on the cover.  Good Ground Park, reflecting the original name of the Hampton Bays community, is scheduled to open on October 15th of this year and be fully operational by May 2017. The 36 acre park located north of Main Street features a 600 seat amphitheater and will offer a children’s playground and walking trails. The budget provides for the additional resources needed for the maintenance of the park facility.

The budget document will be formally presented to the Town Board at a Work Session scheduled this Thursday, September 20th at 10am. The Town Board will hold two works session on the budget October 6th and October 20th. Two public hearings on the proposed budget will be held on October 25th and November 9th. The budget may be amended through the budget process. However, it must be adopted by the Town Board or before November 20th. The full budget document can be viewed online at www.southamptontownny.gov .

 

Photos: ARF Bow Wow Meow Ball

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Jonathan Bernstein, Katherina Otto Bernstein, Dorothy Frankel, Inga Marenotto and Nathan Bernstein. Photo by Kimberly Goff.

How can you not love what the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons does? I’m such a fan of this organization, and all those who work tirelessly on behalf of those who depend on our care. Hope you enjoy these great photos from ARF’s annual Bow Wow Meow Ball. And feel free to pay a visit and donate time, funds and/or materials. You’ll be glad you did.

I’ve got two great galleries on this one. The first is by Lisa Tamburini and the second is by Kimberly Goff. Twice the photos, twice the fun!

 

Here are some details about the event: On Saturday, August 20,the Animal Rescue Fund of The Hamptons held the Bow Wow Meow Ball at its 22-acre campus in Wainscott. The eventing’s festivities included a celebration to honor filmmaker Katharina Otto-Bernstein (Director, Absolute Wilson; Producer, HBO’s Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures) for her unwavering commitment to the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons and animal welfare. A longtime supporter of ARF, as well as an adopter, Katharina’s greatest gift has been the gift of food to the ARF animals through an annual donation to underwrite the cost of food for the cats and dogs at the ARF Adoption Center while they await their forever homes.

Theater director and visual artist Robert Wilson presented the ARF Champion of Animals Award to Katharina Otto-Bernstein. Dinner was catered by Glorious Food within an elegant setting created by David Monn and Alex Papachristidis. Afterwards, the party continued with dancing to music by the Peter Duchin Orchestra. More than 400 high-profile guests attended and raised funds for ARF.

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Bonus photo: Hara Kang, Bonny Aarons, William Wolff, Justin and Emily Agnello, Tim Kelly and Barbara Mattson, representing Douglas Elliman. Photo courtesy Barbara Mattson.

 

 

 

Photos: Discover Watermill Day

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What might be strange anywhere else is but commonplace at The Watermill Center. Lisa Tamburini photo.

More than 1,000 people showed up to check out The Watermill Center on Sunday, August 14, for its annual Discover Day.

On view at the avant-garde laboratory: more than two dozen installations and performances created for FADA: House of Madness, the 23rd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction, along with new work created by Watermill’s summer residency artists, and sculptures and artifacts from The Watermill Center Collection.

An annual event, Discover Watermill Day, provides a unique opportunity for visitors to see original works created by over 130 artists from more than 27 countries currently participating in The Watermill Center’s International Summer Program, a five to six week residency where participants explore and collaborate on new ideas and endeavors under the guidance of The Center’s Artistic Director, Robert Wilson.

All photos in the following gallery by Kimberly Goff.

This year, upon entering through the bamboo-lined entrance, guests encountered Jacques Reynaud’s Angels of Apocalypse, accompanied by sound installations adapted from recent recordings by Oscar nominee singer/songwriter, ANOHNI (formerly Antony Hegarty). Following Tony Piazza’s flower terraces, highlights from the day included: an exhibition of Clementine Hunter’s paintings, Marianna Kavallieratos’ four-part performance Far West, bird houses by Wilson’s long-time collaborator Christopher Knowles, a young man submerged in John Margaritis’ One Ton Tank, and The Bruce High Quality Foundation’s Manneken Pis, which offered a welcomed spritz of water from the rooftop. Guests of all ages enjoyed cotton candy from The Candy Man, face painting and temporary tattoos with Manu Halligan, hatmaking with Genevieve Neve, drawing workshops with Tea Taneski and pillow fights on the lawn with pillows from Brian O’Mahoney’s cats sleep anywhere 2. At 5:00pm, attendees gathered under the tent for an open rehearsal of Robert Wilson’s Two Oars and Turnadot, followed by a performance by gospel jazz singer Marcelle Davies-Lashley.

All photos in this gallery by Lisa Tamburini.

 

Photos: Guild Hall Gala

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What a fun (and extraordinarily accomplished) group! All photos by Dawn Watson

Boy oh boy was the Guild Hall Gala ever an amazing to-do! They ready outdid themselves this year, putting together an entire theme for the event around the current “Aspects of Minimalism” exhibit.

Fitting to have such a bang-up gathering at the museum, followed by cocktails and dinner at Mulford Farm, since it’s Ruth Appelhof’s last big fundraiser before going on to other things, including finishing up two books that she’s writing on art, and of course, welcoming Andrea Grover who is stepping in to very big shoes indeed. The night, hosted by April Gornik, was also about honoring art advocate, supporter and philanthropist Neda Young. Other highlights included some significant and magnificent artwork on display and up for auction (Cindy Sherman’s self-portrait went for a whopping $70,000), music by Hannah Bronnfman, catering by Sonnier & Castle–with theme curation of the table settings and menu by the incredible Florence Fabricant, a live auction by Robbie Gordy of Christie’s New York, art storage and presentation by UOVO, and event design by David Beahm Experiences. Of course my favorite part of any benefit is seeing all the friends (and a few famous faces) who show up. Hope you enjoy some of the photos I snapped on Friday night.

Living Well is the Best Revenge: Photos from the East Hampton Historical Society’s Sara & Gerald Murphy Exhibit

The opening reception for the newest exhibition at Clinton Academy Museum, “Living Well is the Best Revenge: A Jazz Age Fable of Sara and Gerald Murphy”  was a huge success. Held at the Clinton Academy Museum in East Hampton last weekend, the new exhibit explores the fascinating lives of the Jazz Age’s most intriguing couple, whose story started and ended in the Hamptons.

Gerald and Sara Murphy were, to many of their contemporaries, the most beautiful couple of the 1920s.  They influenced many works of art and literature of the period: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ”Tender Is the Night,” Ernest Hemingway’s ”A Moveable Feast,” Philip Barry’s play ”Hotel Universe,” John Dos Passos’s ”Big Money,” and Pablo Picasso’s neo-classical masterpiece ”Woman in White.”

For the opening reception, Laura Donnelly, the Murphy’s granddaughter, was a special guest of honor.  Her gift to the East Hampton Historical Society of nine antique file boxes full of Wiborg family papers (Sara’s parents) dealing with the running of their East Hampton summer mansion, the Dunes, during eight summers starting in 1912, was the inspiration for the exhibition.  Also in attendance was Laura’s brother, Sherman Donnelly, Robert A.M. Stern, Peggy and Ed Sherrill, Nina Gibson, Joan and Bob Osborne, Patsy LaBranche, Jennifer Borg, Mary Libby, Cassandra and Rich Look, Frank Newbold, Pamela Eldridge, Kendell Cronstrom, Alejandro Saralegui, Whitney Fairchild, Dorothy Spears and Alexis Rockman, Frazer Pennebaker, among others. In case you missed it, there’s still plenty of time. Make sure to stop in to check it out sometime between now and October 10 when the show closes.

Photos: Midsummer Cocktails for Thomas Moran Trust

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Richard and Rosanne Barons, Mary Busch, Charles Savage. All photos by Richard Lewin.

The Thomas Moran Trust held its Midsummer Cocktail Party last Friday night (July 29) on the historical grounds of the Thomas Moran and Mary Nimmo Moran Studio on Main Street in East Hampton Village.

The benefit party celebrated the final phases of the Trust’s sensitive restoration project and also offered  a sneak-peek of the interior, as well as access to the outbuildings and grounds. Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the Moran Studio’s restoration completion, which is now in sight and planned to be unveiled next summer.  Attendees at the benefit included: April Gornik, Ralph Gibson, Mary Jane Marcasiano, Bryan Hunt, Lucy Wintor, Susan Wood, Neda Young,  Hollis Forbes, Michael Clifford, Frank Newbold, Grier Eliasek, Tristana Wlatz, Charles Savage, Curt and Angel Schade, Doris and Gil Meister, Alan and Jackie Mitchell, Bruce and Laura Siska, Arthur (Tiger) and Katy Graham, and  East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. and his wife, Jean.