Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- The yoga mat is gaining traction as a fundraising tool in the Hamptons.
A private yoga session with Hilaria Baldwin went for $10,000 at Guild Hall’s benefit on Aug. 10, auctioned by her husband, Alec, to hedge-fund-manager-turned-entrepreneur Nick Lobaccaro. (The package also included a night with Alec Baldwin in his box at Guild Hall’s theater.)
On Aug. 24, Hilaria Baldwin will lead a class to benefit the Child Mind Institute Inc., organized by the Southampton-based studio Yoga Gives. Tickets are $250, which goes to the institute to improve mental-health care for children. Baldwin is once again donating her services.
Yoga Gives has organized several similar events alongside its for-profit offerings. Kelly Morris, a popular instructor in New York, led one to benefit the Retreat, an East Hampton shelter for victims of domestic violence. Heather Mnuchin, whose husband, Steven T. Mnuchin, runs OneWest Bank Group LLC, went to the mat for the Sag Harbor Food Pantry.
Mnuchin has also taken classes, along with Julia Koch, wife of David H. Koch of Koch Industries Inc., and Christine Mack, wife of Richard Mack, North American chief executive officer of Apollo Real Estate Advisors.
“To me it’s a natural pairing,” said Amanda Taylor, founder of Yoga Gives. “The idea of yoga is to be of service, to be present to other people, to be aware, awake and alive.”
Taylor got the idea after hearing about the one-hour SoulCycle spin class that raised more than $35,000 for Baby Buggy.
“If they can do that with bikes, I thought, I can do that with yoga mats,” she said.
Taylor sees the classes as a welcome alternative to the evening gala. They’re certainly cheaper: Yoga Gives has been charging $50 a class or less.
“A woman can say, ‘I don’t have to buy a dress, book a baby sitter, drag my husband -- this is just a part of my day,’” Taylor said.
Like last season, the studio is open for six weeks through Labor Day. Next year Taylor hopes to open for the whole summer.
The galleries at the cultural center Guild Hall in East Hampton are currently filled with paintings of beach scenes by Eric Fischl, who lives year-round in Sag Harbor.
The artist himself is no beach bum.
“I’ve only been to the beach twice this summer,” said Fischl at the opening of the exhibition on Aug. 11. “I tend to play tennis and work.”
These pursuits have a lot in common, according to Fischl. “Tennis and painting are very similar to each other,” he said. “They both take place inside a rectangle and use an extended reach. It’s all about intention and execution. It’s all about gesture and force of gesture.”
With so many of his thick books stacked in front of him, Robert Caro almost had to stand up to see the fans greeting him at the East Hampton Library’s trade-show-cum-literary-cocktail-party.
Caro was one of more than 120 authors who participated in the library’s eighth annual Authors Night, which raised more than $200,000.
The affair was a significant upgrade, with a larger tent (the same used by Guild Hall for its benefit the night before) and much better food from local purveyors including Lucy’s Whey.
Dick Cavett, Robert K. Massie, author of a biography of Catherine the Great, Kati Marton and Patty Farmer, author of “The Persian Room Presents: An Oral History of New York’s Most Magical Night Spot,” were among the signers.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
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