By Emily J. Weitz
The idea for the Hamptons ArtWalk dawned on Kathy Zeiger as she was walking down Main Street in East Hampton a couple of years ago. She realized that, while the Hamptons didn’t possess the hundreds of galleries Chelsea does, it did have dozens and dozens of galleries, curators, and artists that comprised a vibrant community passionate about art.
She decided it deserved to be showcased.
“In East Hampton,” says Zeiger, “there were 16 galleries in 2011. To have such a wide scope, and each gallery operated by gallery owners who partner with curators and artists that are very passionate about what they present — that’s what they have in common with Chelsea.”
The same is true for Sag Harbor, says Zeiger.
“The sculptures, the photography,” she says. “The Richard Demato Gallery has an amazing collection of emerging artists, Laura Grenning has work of the Renaissance style. There are all these different niches that they meet, and people can really learn about art.”
This year’s ArtWalk is on Saturday, November 24, and all East End galleries were invited to participate. As a result, an abundance of art events will be happening this Saturday in all the towns and hamlets between Southampton and Amagansett. There will be tours with artists, lectures, demos and panel discussions happening between 1 and 4, and some evening events as well. People can sign up for events at www.artwalkhamptons.com. And of course, the gallery doors will be open and people can feel free to wander in and out on their own.
For those interested in getting a different perspective on the art, tours begin in each town at 1p.m. Each tour is led by a local artist. Here in Sag Harbor, artist and teacher Paton Miller will guide people from gallery to gallery, starting at Arthur T Kalaher at 197 Madison Street.
“I’m doing this because I think it’s important to know what’s going on,” says Miller. “If you’re an artist or you’re interested in art, you should get out and about… it’s about being aware of what’s going on around you.”
For the lay-people who want to get closer to art in a comfortable context, Miller thinks walking around with an artist is a great way to do it.
“This is my profession, so it’s giving them an insider’s view of what’s going on,” he says. “It’s good to have someone who knows what he’s talking about… An artist has a view from the inside looking out, as opposed to outside looking in.”
Multidisciplinary artist Andrea Cote will lead the East Hampton tour, and Molly Morgan Weiss will lead the Bridgehampton tour. Kathy Zeiger, the founder of ArtWalk Hamptons and a photographer herself, will lead the Southampton tour. The cost for art tours is $10 per person, they all begin at 1p.m., and you need to register online.
In Sag Harbor, the Richard J. Demato Gallery in Sag Harbor will host an artist demo during the day, where one of Demato’s featured artists, Donato Giancola, will explain his artistic process as he paints in the upstairs gallery. That evening, there will be a salon, or panel discussion from 6 to 7 p.m. about connecting to art, and how to find art that resonates. Featured speakers include Giancolo, a realist painter, and Demato.
“We want to create a multilayered experience for our patrons that will help them connect their inner experience with the art,” says Demato. “Our hope is that the art lover will become more comfortable sharing their experience in this environment. What moves one to create or collect?”
The salon will be an opportunity for people to share their ideas and perspectives on the art itself as well as the collecting process.
“[We will encourage people] to identify their passion for art through a unique interactive salon discussion, to share our perspectives and enlighten one another,” says Demato.
This is in harmony with the idea behind the ArtWalk at large.
“The whole idea is to give people a neighborhood feel,” says Zeiger, “and to be less intimidated in the art community and feel comfortable. A lot of people are intimidated to walk into art galleries.”
Zeiger believes as art becomes more accessible, it benefits everyone. The galleries will sell more work, she finds, and people will feel more connected to and inspired by the art that’s hanging on the walls in their town. In addition to events like the Sag Harbor American Music Festival and Harborfest, ArtWalk is a way to keep the East End alive and kicking well into the “off-season.”
“There’s a longing, for people who live in New York,” says Zeiger, “a longing to be a part of this place. The season is longer and longer now, because there’s an event almost every weekend, and the community steps up.”
She hopes that as ArtWalk grows, it will draw locals as well as people from outside.
“I think if it becomes a tradition,” she says, “it’s a community builder. This art community has been around longer than most of us. The art community supports itself and supports each other. These galleries do a great job. They are passionate, and this provides a way for the community to come together.”
The idea of ArtWalk wasn’t born as a money-maker or a business booster. It was born out of love.
“It’s absorbing, it’s what I love passionately,” says Zeiger. “Combining my love for my home in East Hampton with another love: art.”
The Sag Harbor galleries taking part in ArtWalk are Dodds and Eder Sculpture Garden, Monika Olko Gallery, Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery, Romany Kramoris Gallery, The Grenning Gallery, The Hooke Sculpture Gallery, Tulla Booth Gallery, Arthur T. Kalaher Fine Art Gallery.