Hamptons Scene: Elite Donors Forge Local Ties, NYC Links

When Simone Levinson talks about her vision for the Southampton Arts Center, she brings up “Stone Soup.” The folk tale of visitors and villagers coming together to make a meal is her perfect metaphor for the multi-disciplinary indoor and outdoor space located at 25 Jobs Lane, where the Parrish Art Museum used to reside.

“Everyone in the community -- Upper East Siders who have homes here, year-round residents, families, young couples, retirees, local businesses -- needs to take part in the center’s creation,” said Levinson, the center’s co-chairman.

Many of them have been drawn in over the past few months by programming including a Jazz at Lincoln Center quintet, a screening of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” a series of author’s talks, and a comedy night featuring Ali Wentworth. Tonight, all the cooks get their chance to come together, at the center’s inaugural SummerFest benefit.

The event features tastings from East End restaurants including Harlow, Nammos Estiatorio, Tutto il Giorno, and 75 Main. Tickets are $150, which is pretty reasonable considering the names on the event committee, such as SAB Capital’s Scott Bommer and Apollo Management’s Josh Harris.

Another event with local cooks, literally, is the inaugural Dyes & Pies party, a fundraiser for food education at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett. On Sunday, Aug. 31, guests will cut flowers and use them to dye scarves, then eat pizzas made with vegetables and wheat from the farm. Tickets are also $150.

Jazz, Circus

While local institutions take root, New York City cultural organizations have been busy cultivating audiences and donors on East End turf, and it’s not over: tomorrow Jazz at Lincoln Center has a concert and dinner at the home of Joan and George Hornig in Water Mill.

The Big Apple Circus on Sunday gathered families for some one-on-one time with the clowns at the East Hampton home of Mary Jane Brock, a board member of the circus for 33 years. Stilt walkers led guests down the street to Guild Hall’s theater for a preview of the circus’s new show “Metamorphosis,” which comes to Lincoln Center Oct. 17.

Guild Hall was also the venue for a tribute to choreographer Jerome Robbins by a group of New York City Ballet dancers. Jared Angle created, narrated and danced in the program, which was supported by ballet board member Barbara Slifka. Afterward, Charlotte Moss and NYCB chairman emeritus Barry Friedberg hosted a supper at Topping Rose House where the dancers mingled with Marty Cohen, executive chairman of Cohen & Steers Capital and Guild Hall’s new brimming-with-ideas chairman.

Black, Lauders

On another Friday evening, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s director, Thomas Campbell, and Sheena Wagstaff, who leads the department of modern and contemporary art, gathered at the East Hampton home of museum chairman Daniel Brodsky.

Among the guests, according to the museum, were Leon Black, James Keith Brown, Ronald Lauder, Aerin Lauder, Howard Marks, author Andrew Solomon and Michael A. Steinberg of Steinberg Asset Management.

The cocktail party was a “thank you event to our generous supporters and friends,” Nina Diefenbach, the Met’s vice-president for development and membership, said in an e-mail.

And on still another Friday night in Wainscott, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s director, Adam Weinberg, chief curator, Donna De Salvo, and curator Scott Rothkopf convened at the home of its co-chairman, Brooke Garber Neidich.

Guests included Thomas H. Lee of Lee Equity Partners, Carlo Bronzini Vender of Sonenshine Partners, curator and art dealer Vito Schnabel, and artists Cindy Sherman, Ross Bleckner, and Josephine Meckseper.

$750 Million

The occasion was a thank-you to those who’ve helped the museum raise almost $750 million to build its new home in New York’s meatpacking district, which is scheduled to open to the public in 2015.

“We’re almost 90 percent there,” Neidich said in her backyard.

It felt like a family gathering, which seemed to be the point.

“The Whitney started as a family museum, and it feels like a family,” Weinberg said. “It’s the sense of intimacy, community, the risk-taking, the sense you don’t know what’s going to happen. So when the new museum opens, we hope it’s the kind of place people will gather and feel a sense of ownership over.”

With that, guests filled plates from a buffet and migrated to tables including one inside the house that had a Jeff Koons puppy vase filled with white flowers.

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