Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center Now $3 Million Dollars from Goal

Chris Denon, April Gornik, Clayton Orehek and John Battle with the neon sign
Chris Denon, April Gornik, Clayton Orehek and John Battle with the neon sign, Photo: Stacy Dermont

On Sunday the July 16, more than 1,000 people joined the Sag Harbor community on the Long Wharf in the village to give their support—and more than a little bit of money—to the effort to purchase and rebuild the Sag Harbor Cinema, which burned down last December.

There was face paint, raptors from the Wildlife Rescue Center, delicious food from local restaurants, including burgers grilled up and served by the Sag Harbor Fire Department and, because no Hamptons summer party is complete without it, rosé.

Guests of the event included, but were not limited to: CNN news anchor Don Lemon, co-founder of Bay Street Theater Steve Hamilton, hero donor Eric Fischl, Salon Xavier owner Xavier Merat, artist Eric Ernst, members of The Sag Harbor Whalers Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, Bobbie Stein, New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Renée Shafransky and, of course, April Gornik, whose tireless support and boundless energy resonated throughout the event. Annette Hinkle was also on hand signing copies of her new book, Sag Harbor: 100 Years of Film in the Village, which April Gornik, from the Sag Harbor Partnership, describes as “a deliciously colorful book and reminds people of the hundred-year history of the cinema.”

Perhaps the most special guests were inanimate and quite photogenic. Partygoers paused from their good times for photo ops with the Sag Harbor neon. “‘Sag’ has been repaired and was lit up at the party,” Gornik said. “It’s beautiful!” The ‘Harbor,’ neon she said, needs more work. “It was facing the other way on the same truck.” The iconic signs have been stored by Chris Denon of Twin Forks Moving & Storage and repaired by Clayton Orehek, master neon artist, and John Battle, sculptor and master metalsmith. “They have worked so hard to bring that sign back to Main Street. We can’t thank them enough. It’s such a symbol of the spirit of Sag Harbor,” Gornik said.

Annette Hinkle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele
Author Annette Hinkle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Photo: Stacy Dermont

The effort to purchase the cinema from long-time owner Gerald Mallow and rebrand the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center has now raised over $5 million. According to Gornik, a number of screening and parties—public and private—are being planned in order to get to the $8 million dollar mark needed to complete the purchase. “We love connecting with the whole spectrum of folks who live in the area and love the cinema,” Gornik said. There’s also the Sunswell Pool House Pop Up coming to 168 Main Street in Sag Harbor. A portion of their profits during the July 28 weekend will go to benefit the Cinema.

At press time, sales from the art auction were still being tallied, but Gornik said the 91 artists and their work raised well over $100,000 including her own seascape painting, which sold for $32,000. A limited number of paintings that did not sell at auction are available.

Visit for more information about how to help and to stay in the loop about all the goings on surrounding this important community initiative.

Terri Doyle
Terri Doyle, Photo: Stacy Dermont

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