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Hamptons arts fest kicks off with dance party

First weekend of spring fling features exhibits, workshops, film screenings and more.

The Hampton Arts Weekend Festival will be held

The Hampton Arts Weekend Festival will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Photo Credit: Jessica Dalene Weber

Spring is here — time to celebrate with a good thaw.

You can do just that at The Hampton Arts Weekend Festival (THAW), being held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, when you can get out and about and enjoy a large variety of arts and cultural offerings before throngs of summer tourists descend on the East End.

The second annual event, being arranged by nearly 20 nonprofit organizations that belong to the Hamptons Art Network (HAN), will include music, art exhibits, workshops, film screenings and tours of historic properties and gardens at different venues in the Hamptons. Free public trolleys will also be available to and from the sites.

“I think it’s a great collaboration of very diverse art and cultural institutions who truly want to invite people to feel welcome and understand the degree to which the Hamptons is an art destination,” Maria Vann, director of the East Hampton Historical Society, says of THAW. A decorative arts tour of the Historical Society’s Mulford Farm will be among the Saturday events.

There will be a charge for some events, while others will be free.

“THAW Fest was created by HAN as a way to shed light on the vibrant year-round arts and cultural community of the Hamptons, and at the same time support the local economy during a time of year when it is relatively quiet in the Hamptons,” explains Elka Rifkin, director of the Watermill Center, a participant in the festival. “If you love art and culture and you love the Hamptons, there is no better time to come out when the restaurants, hotels and shops aren’t crowded, there is no traffic and parking is easy." She adds, “Nineteen arts and cultural organizations will offer a variety of interesting and inspiring events throughout the weekend for the local community and beyond.”

The Watermill Center provides time and space for artists from around the world to work. As part of the festival, one of its resident artists, Marina Rosenfield of Ridgewood, Queens, will share her creative process with the audience.

Dancing to music provided by a disc jockey at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill and a comedy show at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor will kick off THAW. Other festival events will include a Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, and at the Parrish will be a screening of “Kusama: Infinity: The Life and Art of Yayoi Kusama” — copresented with Hamptons Doc Fest — and two special photography exhibitions.

There also will be an Eastville Community Historical Society Sip and Paint and a Goat on a Boat puppet show at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, Local Bites with the Amagansett Food Institute at the Southampton History Museum, a Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, and a Madoo Conservancy of Sagaponack art exhibition and garden tour. 

According to information provided by the Parrish, Kusama, a Japanese artist known for her dot and net motifs, is considered to have had a major influence on Andy Warhol and is the top-selling female artist in the world. The film follows Kusama’s story from her arrival in New York in 1957 to her move into avant-garde circles that included Donald Judd and Eva Hesse.

“We’re presenting a well-rounded program to celebrate the arts and culture of the Hamptons,” says Corinne Erni, curator of special projects for the Parrish. “We hope a great number of community members, weekenders, and tourists young and old will take advantage of this special weekend to experience the museum’s rich programming.”

For a complete list of The Hampton Arts Weekend Festival events and shuttle schedules please visit www.hamptonsartsnetwork.org.

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