The 2016 fire that brought down the iconic Sag Harbor Cinema façade was nothing short of devastating to the quiet village, but its destruction was quickly met by fund-raisers who sought to return the institution to its former glory. A short three years later, the façade is rebuilt, the beloved neon sign is re-lit and the theater’s doors seem as if they’re anxiously awaiting the day they can welcome guests into the renovated space, replete with a state-of-the-art VR classroom, café, rooftop terrace and multiple screens, including 4K digital and 3D. With hopes of reopening the Cinema this fall, fundraising efforts have only gotten stronger in the final weeks, and there’s an incredibly enticing eBay for Charity Auction rapidly approaching.
Running August 28–September 4, the auction boasts a treasure trove of gorgeous artwork and mind-blowing experiences to win, with 100% of proceeds going toward Sag Harbor Cinema’s completion. Many internationally acclaimed artists have generously donated works to the cause, including Cindy Sherman, Ross Bleckner, Michael Halsband, Eric Fischl and Michael Morley, while East End favorites such as John Alexander, Mary Ellen Bartley, Erica-Lynn Huberty, Cornelia Foss, Paton Miller and Dan Rizzie have also turned up in support of their community.
“The responses came back so fast that we filled up [the art auction] within a day or two,” says Sag Harbor Cinema Restoration Campaign Chair April Gornik. “Sag Harbor Restaurants were also very generous, and we filled up our allotted 20 experience slots in a blink!” Cinema board members and friends of the restoration project managed to secure tickets to myriad exclusive events, including the NY Film Festival premiere of The Irishman with Martin Scorsese, Wicked on Broadway with a backstage tour, a walk-through on New York City’s High Line with Board President Robert Hammond, a Nicole Miller fashion show with lunch in the showroom, tickets to Saturday Night Live, Joel Grey’s production of Fiddle on the Roof in Yiddish, a Fern Mallis fashion talk at 92Y with Billy Porter, lunch with Carl Bernstein and more.
The first eBay for Charity Auction benefiting Sag Harbor Cinema was a roaring success in 2017, raising more than $86,000 for the theater’s restoration through unbelievable experiences such as tea with Julie Andrews. eBay has proven to be an overwhelmingly powerful fundraising platform, with over $912 million raised for various global and local charities to date. “We are dedicated to finding inspirational causes to support, including important local causes like this,” eBay for Charity General Manager Brenda Halkias says. “Since our first auction following the Sag Harbor Cinema fire in December 2016, we have continued to support the rebuild of this iconic institution by leveraging our platform for good.”
Like fine wine and artisanal cheese, the 2019 online auction is paired with an epic Tumbleweed Tuesday extravaganza. The auction’s 60 artworks will be on display across the Sara Nightingale, Julie Keyes and Grenning galleries on September 3 from 2–8 p.m. for potential buyers to get close to the stunning pieces they’ll be bidding on. A reception takes place at Sylvester & Co. Modern General from 5–7 p.m., where Don Lenzer’s impressive Sag Noir Cinema photographs will be prominently displayed. The party rages on at Page from 5–10 p.m. with a cash bar, free popcorn, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction featuring gift baskets, jewelry, gift certificates and a 13” MacBook Air. And the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce has arranged for businesses to stay open extra late just for the occasion. Gornik adds, “We hope everyone will come out to relax—and bid—and enjoy themselves, and help get the Cinema open as soon as possible!”