Guild Hall of East Hampton: An Adventure in the Arts, the First 60 Years

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Guild Hall of East Hampton, 1993 - Art - 261 pages
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Drawn by the sea-distilled light, rich landscape and beautiful beaches, artists, writers, actors and directors have settled on the eastern end of Long Island for more than a century. For more than sixty years, they've inevitably been drawn as well to Guild Hall, said to be the first center in America to combine a theater, museum and community meeting place under one roof. The generous gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lorenzo E. Woodhouse, Guild Hall opened its doors in 1931, in a ceremony dedicating the north gallery to legendary artist Thomas Moran and the "jewel box" theater to the dashing matinee idol John Drew, both of whom had adopted East Hampton as their home. There was no way to anticipate in those early days, when ladies still wore long dresses to the theater and formal teas were de rigueur, the profound changes that would take place in the arts over the next half century - or that Guild Hall would prove such a dramatic venue from which to view them. In an evocative narrative with hundreds of photographs, Guild Hall of East Hampton records the years, center stage and behind the scenes, presenting in the process a veritable who's who in the visual and performing arts. To weave together Guild Hall's story, Enez Whipple, executive director from 1943 to 1981, compiled dozens of interviews with the "players" themselves, letting, wherever possible, those who passed in and out of Guild Hall tell what happened in their own words. She also draws on archives and pictorial records, which together reflect the changing tenor of a unique community mingling newer arrivals with the generations of farmers, fishermen and other permanent residents, many with roots going back to colonial times. All thesetalented people have made Guild Hall's "experiment" in the arts a stunning success and a vivid story.

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