CAN ART AND COMMERCE REALLY COEXIST? IN THE HAMPTONS, IT’S ESSENTIAL THEY DO, SAY BUSINESS LEADERS, WHO REVEAL THE IMPORTANCE OF NONPROFITS, COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT— AND BUYING LOCAL. MODERATED BY MICHAEL BRAVERMAN
Can art and commerce really coexist? In the Hamptons, it’s essential they do, say business leaders, who reveal the importance of non-profits, community engagement—and buying local.
Let’s get started with the ways your business interests intersect with our nonprofit arts organizations. Claudia Pilato: The arts are part of what the Hamptons are all about. As a community bank, it’s been important for us to get very involved with the nonprofits. We have a whole area that focuses on how we can help support them. We have a corporate responsibility, because most nonprofits can’t move forward without the support of the community and corporations like ours. When grants are pulled back, how can they fulfill their mission? Nunzio Zappola: One of my slogans for our advertising is “We build art you live in.” Alicia Longwell: I love that slogan. NZ: Building is a form of art in itself. In a gut renovation, we appreciate seeing the quality built into the house by the guys who had time to actually carve it and make it. We don’t have that luxury anymore, so it’s great to leave that exposed. Tim Davis: Our struggle, oddly enough in my business, is helping people understand the value of our community’s heritage in these structures. More often than not, they’re looking to tear them down or find ways around the laws protecting them. There’s so little appreciation for the architectural history of our communities with those who are buying out here, at least today.
How do you make your clients aware of that heritage? Aleksandra, you deal with a lot of people on the service end. Aleksandra Kardwell: Yes, ours is a domestic staffing agency. We tell our domestic professionals how to take care of artwork, antique furniture, things like that. That’s very important here. TD: One of my responsibilities as a trustee of the Parrish is to make people aware of the museum. It’s amazing how many people don’t even know it exists! It’s our responsibility as those who reap the benefits of living and working in this community to give back in that way. Dan B. Scotti: It’s important to bring clients’ attention to our great cultural institutions, but there are still working artists here. As an interior designer, I feel an obligation to support local artisans. Elizabeth Dow is an amazing textile designer; I encourage my clients to buy her fabrics. There are furniture designers and fabricators here, painters, photographers—the list goes on. A lot of my high-networth clients buy art at auction or at their favorite gallery [elsewhere], and I encourage them to buy locally, even if they’re not purchasing a local artist. On the real estate development side of my business, I really enjoy working with local artisans—like the steelworkers erecting a breezeway for a project I’m doing right now. Raphael Avigdor: All of us are in a position to affect people’s lives, so what’s our intention? That’s key for an artist, but it applies to all of us. As brokers, a lot of the work we do is having conversations that are just educational, about the community. Brokers have the client’s trust and appreciation of their point of view. Those are powerful things. NZ: A lot of our clients are very © cultured, they have worldwide exposure, and they still choose