There is something for everyone at the marvelous Midsummer Weekend at the Parrish Museum. The “best summer party in the Hamptons” has tripled its broad reach into a dazzling three-day affair. The museum’s rich history has been entwined with that of the creative community which supports and enriches its experiential mission of bringing art and people together.
From early days the East End has been a haven for artists drawn to the area by the light, the quality of the air, and the affordability of the land — way back then. The Parrish has been a hub of one of the most concentrated creative communities since its founding in 1898 as a single gallery to house the Italian Renaissance Collection of Samual Longstreth Parrish. Today’s home was designed by the internationally acclaimed firm of Herzog & de Meuron. The building is integrated into the landscape and suggests the origins of the artistic and agricultural communities who settled here.
On Friday, August 13 the festivities commence with a Midsummer Dance as Chair Larry Milstein and his art & fun loving committee are going all out for a dazzling and delightful celebration. With Whispering Angel and Harridan Vodka as the libations sponsors, these young connoisseurs combine serious philanthropy with some serious phun!
This extraordinary event funds so many community arts programs in education, including Artists in Residence, Summer Camps, and Workshops.
The Parrish partners with regional schools, after-school and summer programs.
For what to wear to a shimmering, artsy party, we shimmied through Saks.com, a generous sponsor of the event to find a worthy ensemble. These frocks are retro glam and made for a celebratory spin around the dance floor and well into the night.
Co-Chair Debbie Bancroft enjoys a long history with the museum: “I’ve chaired the Parrish Midsummer party, first as a Junior, 35 years ago, and for the next three decades, as an all too, grown up. I’m sure they are trying to devise a way to lose me, and I don’t blame them. My brilliant co-chair, Preston Phillips, came up with idea of a Parrish Midsummer Weekend, beginning with the Friday night Midsummer Dance Party, helmed by the party master himself, Larry Milstein, followed by our Saturday dinner honoring the extraordinary artist Tomashi Jackson whose exhibition runs here till November 7th.”
“Our beloved Dorothy Lichtenstein, whose late husband Roy’s show just opened here, is our honorary Chair. Sunday is our Midsummer Family event with circus and art projects. All will be smaller, by design and carefully managed in light of Delta, but in spite of that, we are expecting it to be a joyous weekend, with a special celebration of the arrival of our new director, Kelly Taxter. And I’ll be wearing Calypso St. Barth that I helped re-launch two weeks ago!”
The clever committee members Mary and Howard S. Frank, Christina and Alan MacDonald, Sandy and Stephen Perlbinder, Patti and Mark Renton, and Robin and Frederic M. Seega are working alongside Debbie and Preston to make this year’s fundraising a roaring success.
The next night, the frivolity continues at the Midsummer Dinner, honoring a brilliant young artist, Tomashi Jackson. Her current exhibit, The Land Claim, is a multi-part exhibition of newly created work in painting, sound, photography, and archival materials that centers on the experiences — past and present — of communities of color on Long Island’s East End.
In 2019 Jackson was named Whitney Biennial participating artist with an exhibit which delved into the history of Seneca Village. It was a predominantly Afro American settlement in Central Park which disappeared with the construction of the park in 1857.
For the Midsummer dinner, we discovered these free flowing frocks — midi-length, painterly and patterned. They are so flattering especially with a bit of height supplied by the platform sandals and Lionessa’s spectacular statement earrings.
Hilary concurs: “The Midsummer Weekend at the Parrish Museum has something for everyone. And it offers so many opportunities to wear your fun summer looks … new finds and old that were put on hold last year. Time to dress up and celebrate this amazing museum as we cherish the hot days of August in all its glory.”
Then roll right into Sunday’s soiree, Midsummer Family. A lively afternoon for families featuring a performance by the National Circus project and a creative workshop with artist Nathan Carter.
Chairs Samantha Brand and Darice Fadeyi have created an assemblage of activities, sure to be a hit with the little ones and big ones alike!
For a sunny afternoon, we brightened our palette with bold pops of color and patterns. Then added a few summer-chic raffia accessories, to complete the composition. Don’t miss the trio of footwear, designed for comfort and style.
3 x 3 Parrish Art Museum Midsummer Weekend is on the horizon. If you can’t attend, please consider making a contribution. The museum is grateful for your support! If you join as a member you are entitled to many perks and enlightening events.
Party photographs by Patrick McMullan