Second THAW FEST Set to Kick Off

The second annual THAW FEST, a collaboration between South Fork arts organizations to celebrate the spring, is working to deepen the collaboration between 19 arts institutions and the South Fork’s transportation and hospitality network.

This year’s THAW FEST will be held the weekend of March 23 and 24, 2019, with four free trolley tours taking visitors between the arts institutions — three on Saturday departing from and returning to Guild Hall, the Parrish Art Museum and the Southampton Arts Center and one on Sunday departing from and returning to Guild Hall. Attendees can visit the individual institutions in their own personal cars as well.

DJ Twilo
DJ Twilo will perform at the opening night festivities at the Parrish Art Museum.

The festival is organized by the Hamptons Arts Network, a collaboration spearheaded more than two years ago by Elka Rifkin, Terri Sultan and Andrea Grover, directors, respectively of The Watermill Center, Parrish Art Museum and Guild Hall.

“We decided that there are ways we could be and should be working together,” said Ms. Rivkin at a press conference announcing this year’s festival at the Parrish Art Museum in early March.

The ad hoc group is comprised of year-round non-profit institutions that hold at least two public events per year. THAW FEST is an acronym for The Hamptons Arts Weekend Festival.

“Think of it almost like an open house for the organizations involved. It is threefold in its purpose,” said Ms. Grover of Guild Hall. “To promote the arts and the cultural organizations of the region, to make access to the arts more convenient…and also, this is a big one, to stimulate the local economy. This is happening at the time of year when, if you walked into a restaurant on March 3 and went to every table and said ‘are you a local or are you a tourist?’ it would be primarily people who live here.”

“Cultural production is not just about pictures on the wall,” she added. “We are the architects, the designers, the people who infuse creativity into every part of our lives on the East End.”

Charnele Brown
Actress Charnele Brown will speak at Guild Hall on Saturday afternoon as part of the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreation Center’s Thinking Forward lecture series.

This year’s festival kicks off on Friday, March 22 with All Star Comedy at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor at 8 p.m. and dancing with DJ Twilo at the Parrish Art Museum from 7 to 9 p.m.

Saturday’s schedule is chock full of programming, including local bites with the Amagansett Food Institute from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Southampton History Museum, InProcess with Marina Rosenfeld at the Watermill Center, The Thinking Forward Lecture Series with actress Charnele Brown at Guild Hall in East Hampton at 3 p.m. and a two-piano program of the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church with pianists Shai Wosner and Orion Weiss from 5 to 7 p.m.

Sunday’s program continues with a Hamptons Doc Fest film screening of “Kusama” at 2 p.m. at the Parrish Art Museum, and Center Stage’s matinee performance of “Mamma Mia!” at the Southampton Cultural Center at 2:30 p.m. There will be tours of many of the institutions throughout the weekend.

Film Still from Kusama—Infinity: The Life and Art of Yayoi Kusama. Photo: Copyright Harrie Verstappen
Film Still from Kusama—Infinity: The Life and Art of Yayoi Kusama, to be screened by the Hamptons Doc Fest at the Parrish Art Museum on Sunday. Photo: Copyright Harrie Verstappen

A full schedule of events is online at and ticket information and registration are on the individual arts organizations’ websites.

Members of the Hamptons Arts Network include: Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts, Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, Dia: Dan Flavin Art Institute, East Hampton Historical Society, Eastville Community Historical Society, Guild Hall,  Hamptons International Film Festival, Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival,  LongHouse Reserve, Madoo Conservancy, Parrish Art Museum,  Pollock-Krasner House & Study Center, Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center & Museum, Southampton African American Museum, Southampton Arts Center, Southampton Cultural Center, Southampton Historical Museum and The Watermill Center.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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