Southampton Arts Center raised half a million dollars at its 6th annual SummerFest benefit event on Thursday, August 29 – the final major fundraising event of the Hamptons summer season. This year the Champion of the Arts Award went to Diane Tuft for her incredible contribution to the arts and the world around us

Guests strolled through the galleries of the National Geographic Photo Ark by Joel Sartore and passed through the Studio @ SAC where Takeover: Artists in Residence alumni artists Scott Bluedorn, Kara Hoblin, and Ruby Jackson worked on marine sketches, a wildlife conservation-themed chalk art wall and a glitter glue creation where guests were invited by Jackson to participate in a collaborative community mobile.

Upon entering the grounds from the studio and galleries, over 500 attendees were awestruck by the beautiful décor, including whimsical centerpieces for the tables created from marine plastics found on local shores by artist Cindy Pease Roe of UpSculpt – many of which were purchased at the end of the evening to benefit both the artist and the arts center. Guests savored signature dishes from the most celebrated chefs on the East End, sipped artisanal cocktails (and Plain-T mock-tails), and enjoyed DJ and dancing under the stars on the historic grounds of 25 Jobs Lane.

SAC’s premiere annual event generates a vital source of revenue to help support 5-6 world-class exhibitions and 200-plus programs annually, many of which are free of charge.

Distinguished guests included honoree Diane Tuft along with event chairs Simone and David LevinsonAnnie and Michael Falk and Erica and Michael Karsch as well as Jill Braufman and Dan Nir, Peter Marino, Lisa Dennison, Alex Roepers, Wilbur Ross, Jane Holzer, Andrea Glimcher, Marigay McKee and Bill Ford, Holly Peterson, Jean Shafiroff, Kara Ross, Chris and Richard Mack, Fern Mallis, Nina Garcia, and artists April Gornik, Michael Halsband, Paton Miller, Michael Paraskevas, Cindy Pease Roe, and Will Ryan as well as actress Gloria Reuben. 

Elected officials included Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren and Village Trustees Kimberly Allan, Mark Parash and Richard Yastrzemski plus Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, Southampton Town Board Member John Bouvier and Trustee Ann Welker. SAC Board Members in attendance included Mark Epley, Anke Friedrich, Elyn Kronemeyer, Fairley Pilaro, Siamak Samii, Connie Tarrant, Rob Vahradian, and Founding Co-Chairs Simone Levinson and J. Whitney Stevens.

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