From Southampton to East Hampton, the arts culture of the Hamptons — from performances to sculpture gardens, film, cooking exhibitions and more — was on full display Saturday during the second annual THAWFest, The Hamptons Weekend Arts Festival.
The three-day festival, sponsored by the Hamptons Arts Network, kicked off Friday night and ends Sunday evening. It features several of the South Fork’s arts institutions playing host to a variety of events designed to draw attention to the hidden cultural gems of the Hamptons.
Andrea Grover, executive director of Guild Hall in East Hampton and one of the key organizers, said the event's goals were to streamline access to arts exhibitions and institutions by offering trolley rides between destinations and stimulate the local economy during the normally slower March period.
“This is really just the beginning of what we envision to be a regionwide celebration of the arts and getting people into thinking of the Hamptons as a cultural destination in ways that other parts of the country are, such as Aspen or the Berkshires,” Grover said.
Kathleen and Michael Sheedy , a married couple from East Setauket, were enjoying a wild foods cooking demonstration using ingredients like fermented oyster mushrooms, wild mustard, and dandelions by Amber Waves Farm chef Jack Formica at the Southampton History Museum in Southampton. For Kathleen Sheedy, it was her second time at the festival.
“I had such a great time last year that I decided we’re going again this year,” said Sheedy, who also decided to invite her friend Ruth Martinen.
Martinen, 78, of Coram said as a chef herself, she particularly enjoyed the cooking exhibition and thought that her late husband, Jens, would have also.
“It is a most wonderful place,” said Martinen. “We enjoyed this to no end.”
At The Madoo Conservancy in Sagaponack, conservancy director Alejandro Saralegui said the festival brought 50 people into the Sagaponack home/studio, established in 1967 by artist, gardener and writer Robert Dash. Saralegui said the festival was a great way to highlight the Hamptons’ cultural scene.
“People can have lunch, hop on the trolley and then hit four spots,” said Saralegui. “It’s all about creating awareness and arts in the Hamptons and pushing that aspect of it instead of ‘America’s Wealthy Playground.’ It lets people know that there are really great things going on here.”