You never know what masterpiece you might find or what celeb might pop up at the Clothesline Art Sale. The annual event, which spreads out Saturday across the lawn and galleries of Guild Hall in East Hampton, gives locals the chance to nab affordable, authentic South Fork art, from an oil painting of a local landmark to an abstract piece in the style of local legend Jackson Pollock.
“There are a lot of things that are quintessential Eastern Long Island, particularly oil paintings of beach scenes,” Cailin Kaller, Guild Hall’s director of Institutional Advancement, says of the 2,000 works of art on exhibit by 400 artists, many of whom live and work on the East End or elsewhere on Long Island.
The sale attracts thousands of art lovers and collectors, including celebrities such as actor Ethan Hawke and “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker, who can be found roaming about. Parker, in particular, is a sale regular who collects the works of specific local artists, Kaller says. Also in Guild Hall’s three galleries, the art is hung on the walls from ceiling to floor. Several local artists can be found chatting with guests and talking about their entries.
Connecting all these diverse talents and media is a rule in effect since the first sale in 1946, when the art actually was strung up on clotheslines, and sold for $5 to $25. Now each artist has to sell one piece for less than $200, “so that people have access to affordable art,” Kaller says. The prices run on a sliding scale up to the maximum price of $2,200.
The sale is both a fundraiser for Guild Hall, which netted $83,709 last year in the traditional 50-50 split with the artists, and a celebration of East Hampton’s history as an artists’ colony, Kaller says.
Among the artists participating this year is Barbara Bilotta, 57, of Yaphank, who is both a creator and a collector of Abstract Expressionist paintings. “The most exciting thing is when you go there and see your piece is gone, and you walk out of there with a check,” Bilotta says. “If they chose mine with hundreds of artists’ pieces there, it’s exhilarating.”
Kaller recommends that visitors arrive early and take their time to look through the sale. If you’re interested in particular artists, look them up at the biography table. “If you like the $2,200 piece, you might be able to find something by that same person at $200 or less,” Kaller says, adding: “If you see something you think you love, pick it up because it won’t be there when you go back.”
WHAT Theater 294 gets into an artistic vibe this weekend. The performing arts theater hosts “The Art Factory,” its monthly exhibition, featuring 14 visual works of art, including pieces by “many Long Island artists as well as artists from abroad,” curator Allen Brutus says. On exhibit are landscape and abstract paintings, mixed media, photos and at least one sculpture. Musicians and a DJ providing the soundtrack as you shop for a masterpiece.
WHEN | WHERE 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, Theater 294, 294 Rte. 109, East Farmingdale
INFO $12; 516-531-3525, theater294.com
WHAT Clothesline Art Sale
WHEN | WHERE 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Guild Hall, 158 Main St., East Hampton
INFO Free; 631-324-0806, guildhall.org