Goodbye winter and hello THAW Fest, aka The Hamptons Arts Weekend Festival. In celebration of the changing seasons, The Hamptons Arts Network (HAN), a partnership of 19 nonprofit Hamptons cultural and arts organizations, presents the second annual THAW Fest from March 22–24.
“What I’m excited about is that HAN is in its second year of coming together as a cohesive unit to achieve common goals: to rewrite the narrative on the Hamptons as the important cultural mecca it has been for generations; and to welcome visitors from near and far to experience all this unique region has to offer,” Parrish Art Museum Director Terrie Sultan explains. To achieve these goals and help stimulate the local economy in the off-season, THAW Fest features the gamut of East End arts and culture, including theater productions, art exhibitions, films, concerts, garden tours, museum exhibits, workshops and more. This year HAN is also making an increased effort to include local inns and restaurants in the festivities.
The festivities kick off on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. with an epic night of music and dancing to the infectious tunes of DJ Twilo at the Parrish Art Museum. “She’s amazing and just exudes joy,” Bay Street Theater Executive Director Tracy Mitchell raves. All weekend long the Parrish will display masterful art in two fresh exhibitions: Parrish Perspectives, featuring works by Renate Aller and Jean Luc Mylayne, and Every Picture Tells a Story, a new installation of the permanent collection.
On Sunday, the Parrish welcomes Hamptons Doc Fest for a screening of Kusama-Infinity: The Life and Art of Yayoi Kusama. The screening is followed by a talk between Terrie Sultan and John Torreano, a Parrish permanent collection artist whose practice gives him a unique appreciation of Kusama’s work. Jacqui Lofaro, founder and executive director of the annual film festival, is thrilled by the collaboration, saying, “It’s doubly exciting for us to show a stimulating film on an artist at a museum dedicated to exhibiting other exceptional artists.” 279 Montauk Highway Water Mill. 631-283-2118, parrishart.org
At 8 p.m. on Friday, Bay Street Theater presents an All Star Comedy night featuring top standup comics, including Joseph Vecsey, Corinne Fisher, Justin Silver and Moody McCarthy. On Saturday, children will have a blast watching puppet theater performed by Goat on a Boat and CactusHead Puppets at 11 a.m., and adults will love rocking out to songs by two of the ’80s biggest acts, performed by cover band Foreigners Journey at 8 p.m. 1 Bay Street, Sag Harbor. 631-725-9500, baystreet.org
The schedule for Saturday is packed with insightful tours of several Hamptons institutions. At 10 a.m., the East Hampton Historical Society will begin a Decorative Arts Tour, curated by Richard Barons, at the historic Mulford Farm. (10 James Lane, East Hampton. 631-324-6850, easthamptonhistory.org) From 11 a.m.–4 p.m., the LongHouse Reserve will offer tours of its expansive garden. “End of March is a very exciting moment in the garden, with many of the daffodils working hard on welcoming spring,” Executive Director Matko Tomicic notes. (133 Hands Creek Road, East Hampton. 631-329-3568, longhouse.org) At the same time, the Madoo Conservancy will host its own garden tours, which will include a venture into its gallery to view its 25th anniversary exhibition, Madoo: A History in Photographs. 618 Sagg Main Street, Sagaponack. 631-537-8200, madoo.org
The Watermill Center leads visitors through a one-hour public tour on Saturday at 1 p.m., and directly after, guests who registered online are invited to attend the free In Process with Marina Rosenfeld. “Her work as a composer interweaves visual, sound and performing arts in exciting ways. It is a pleasure to share her new project, in process, while she is an artist resident at Watermill Center,” Director Elka Rifkin says. (39 Watermill Towd Road, Water Mill. 631-726-4628, watermillcenter.org) At 3:30 p.m., the Dan Flavin Institute welcomes the public to an open house tour of the gallery and it’s feature exhibition, Keith Sonnier: Dis-Play II, which will be on view throughout the weekend. 23 Corwith Avenue, Bridgehampton. 631-537-1476, diaart.org
In addition to the exhibition Morris Studio: The Unseen Collection, Photographs of Southampton 1892–1940 on display this weekend at Southampton History Museum, the museum will also host THAW Fest’s main food event, Local Bites with Amagansett Food Institute, from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. on Saturday. 17 Meeting House Lane, East Hampton. 631-283-2494, southamptonhistory.org
The fun continues into the afternoon when Guild Hall hosts Straight Talk, Real People with Charnele Brown, best known for portraying Kim Reese in A Different World, at 3 p.m. The lecture, moderated by ABC journalist Lynn Sherr, is part of the Thinking Forward series presented in partnership with Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center. At 6 p.m., the Hamptons International Film Festival will screen Field of Dreams to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary. Free tickets must be reserved in advance. The 81st annual Artist Members Exhibition will be on display throughout the weekend. 158 Main Street, East Hampton. 631-324-0806, guildhall.org
The Eastville Community Historical Society hosts a sip and paint with exhibiting artist Michael A. Butler at the Heritage House on Saturday at 6 p.m. His Genesis & Transcendence exhibition can be seen all weekend. 139 Hampton Street, Sag Harbor. 631-725-4711, eastvillehistorical.org
“I’m thrilled that we will be presenting two world-renowned pianists [Orion Weiss and Shai Wosner] in a rare collaborative effort and love their program, which includes Schubert’s truly grand “Grand Duo” as well as an almost never heard sonata for two pianos by Brahms,” Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival Executive Director Michael Lawrence says of his THAW Fest program. “In addition, they will bring two gorgeous little gems by New York composer David Lang, a founding member of the Bang on a Can composer collective.” The show takes place on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church, and tickets are $40–$60. 2429 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton. 631-537-6368, bcmf.org
THAW Fest marks the closing weekend of the smash-hit ABBA jukebox musical Mamma Mia! at Southampton Cultural Center. Performances take place on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $30. 25 Pond Lane, Southampton. 631-287-4377, scc-arts.org
Southampton Arts Center Executive Director Tom Dunn can’t wait to share what SAC has planned for Saturday at 8 p.m. “Our Songs of the Silver Screen concert promises to be a fun, nostalgic evening delivered by a collection of dynamic local and NYC-based singers,” he says. “Valerie diLorenzo is such a singular talent and great friend to SAC. Our collaborations always make for compelling, joyful evenings of live music.” The ingenious Takeover! Artists in Residence exhibition remains on view through the weekend, and exhibiting artist Kara Hoblin will conduct The Chalk Art of Letting Go, a chalk drawing therapy class, at 3 p.m. before the concert. 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton. 631-283-0967, southamptonartscenter.org
Sunday’s festivities include a special open house at Pollock-Krasner House from 1–4 p.m., where guests can view the exhibition The Permanent Collection: A Thirty-Year Survey, decorate Pollok-inspired cookies and create Krasner-inspired collages. “It’s fun to watch people get creative, especially when the results are edible,” Director Helen Harrison says. 830 Springs-Fireplace Road, East Hampton. 631-324-4929, stonybrook.edu/commcms/pkhouse
With so much to see in one weekend, the Hamptons Visitor’s Council has arranged a free shuttle service to a long list of events on Saturday and Sunday. On March 23, the first trolley departs from Guild Hall at 9:45 a.m.; the second departs from Parrish Art Museum at 10:30 a.m. and the third from Southampton Arts Center at 12:45 p.m. The next day, the lone trolley departs from Guild Hall at 12:30 p.m. Get out there and discover the wealth of East End arts and culture to enjoy during the off-season.
To learn more about the Hamptons Arts Network, THAW Fest or the inns offering specials throughout festival weekend, visit hamptonsartsnetwork.org.