Hamptons Life

Southampton Arts Center

Annual SummerFest Fundraiser for Southampton Arts Center raises close to a Million dollars with donations still coming in. 

August 22, 2023: Last Saturday, August 19 just as the sun was setting in Southampton, dinner guests were settling in at the Southampton Arts Center Annual SummerFest fundraiser where Academy Award winner Ariana DeBose was set to perform later. The lavish celebration honored Simone Levison with the 2023 Champion of the Arts Award. She is SAC’s founding board co-chair and has demonstrated a long commitment to the arts scene of Southampton. 

Mark Employ, Simone Levinson and Christina Strassfield (Executive Director).

Annual SummerFest Fundraiser for Southampton Arts Center raises close to a Million dollars with donations still coming in. 

August 22, 2023: Last Saturday, August 19 just as the sun was setting in Southampton, dinner guests were settling in at the Southampton Arts Center Annual SummerFest fundraiser where Academy Award winner Ariana DeBose was set to perform later. The lavish celebration honored Simone Levison with the 2023 Champion of the Arts Award. She is SAC’s founding board co-chair and has demonstrated a long commitment to the arts scene of Southampton. 

The event was attended by an eclectic mix of Southampton Arts Center supporters including Frederick Anderson, Ross Bleckner, Candace Bushnell, Lisa & Jimmy Cohen, Renee Cox, Lisa Dennison, Wendy Federman, Ivy Getty, Caroline Hirsch, Robert Longo, Sondra & David Mack, Gaia Matisse, Aoki Lee Simmons, Ming Lee Simmons, Lisa & Steve Tananbaum, Pamela & Edward Panzer, John Paulson, Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Peter Thomas Roth and Stefani Sanchi. 

Guests enjoyed a visit to Change Agents: Women Collectors Shaping the Art World, on view through September 30, 2023, marking the first exhibition of its kind at the Arts Center to unite the unparalleled visions of 14 women collectors dedicated to championing artists and further impacting the cultural landscape through dynamic discourse and an ambition for change.   

Jessica Vosk

The evening’s entertainment was provided by Academy Award Winner Ariana DeBose and Broadway Star and Grammy Nominee Jessica Vosk. Guests enjoyed food from Acqualina and participated in a live and silent auction of works including celebrity photographer Harry Benson, whose exhibition A Moment in Time: Iconic Images by Harry Benson was recently on view at Southampton Arts Center. Sponsors included Sotheby’s, Donum Wines, Bvlgari, Peter Thomas Roth, Splash, Donum Wines, and Meredith Marks Caviar. 

2023 Honoree Simone Levinson shared, “Having long held both the arts and the Southampton community dear, I am thrilled and honored to receive this year’s Champion of the Arts Award. The 10th anniversary of Southampton Arts Center marks a successful decade of serving a local and international community, which I am proud to be a part of, through dynamic programming feeding lively discourse – currently exemplified by our exhibition Change Agents: Female Collectors Shaping the Art World.” 

Following SummerFest, After Dark welcomed guests from 10pm to 2am with a surprise performance by Saucy Santana and a set from DJ Professor from Set Artist Management.From the sponsors, guests enjoyed drinks from Absolut; desserts by Baked by Melissa; a Bvlgari set up; Golden Espresso Martini Maker with Eva Longoria’s Casa Del Sol Tequila; Catering; wine from Sonoma vineyard The Donum Estate, home to the world’s largest private sculpture collections including works from Yayoi Kusama, Ai Wewei ,and many other renowned artists, at their first event outside of California; event design by Geo Events; Meredith Marks debuting her caviar on a cart “Meredith Marks Caviar”; whisky by Mortlach; drinks by Splash; and gift bags byPeter Thomas Roth. 
Photography: Patrick McMullen