DISPATCH - JULY 5, 2012 (9:45 p.m.)

EAST HAMPTON, NY.

On Saturday, the spotlight will shine on select East Hampton galleries when Gallery Walk Hamptons comes to town. The volunteer group opens its second year of guided art walks with something special: a kick off reception, artist talks in two locations, and two simultaneous walking tours led by art world professionals.

Tours begin at 5 p.m. and meet at Sotheby's International Realty in East Hampton, NY. The event concludes at 8 p.m. There is a $45 fee for the guided talks. The price includes a VIP ticket to artMRKT Hamptons. Proceeds benefit The Clamshell Foundation.

Participating galleries include Eric Firestone Gallery, Vered Gallery, HALSEY MCKAY GALLERY, Gallery Valentine, Birnam Wood Galleries, Wallace Gallery of American Art, Davenport and Shapiro Fine Arts and Linde Gallery.

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Dara Ross among a few of the artworks on view at Gallery Valentine in East Hampton.

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Gallery walks will be led by Esperanza Leon and Pat Rogers (Yes, it's me). Leon is the gallery owner of Solar Contemporary Art and Design in East Hampton. Rogers is a long-standing arts journalist and founder of Hamptons Art Hub.

Exhibitions will presented by a gallery representative. Art exhibited ranges from cutting edge Contemporary to Modern art to historic landscapes.

Artist Talks will be led by Harriet Joffee at Davenport and Shapiro Fine Arts and by Nicholas Papadakis at Sotheby's International Realty. Joffee is having a solo show at Davenport and Shapiro Fine Arts. Papadakis is exhibiting in a two-person show with Rolph Scarlett (courtesy of Eric Firestone Gallery). The exhibition is co-curated by Catherine Debackere and Janet Goleas.

Vered Gallery's Last Bid Party takes place during the same time ArtWalk Hamptons is present. The gallery's annual art auction opened last week and culminates at the close of the Last Bid Party. It runs from 5 to 7 p.m.

ArtWalk Hamptons is founded and led by Kathy Zeiger, an arts affectionato with an eye on art scenes in the Hamptons and New York City. Last year, she quietly began holding art walks in East Hampton as East Hampton Gallery Walk. The name was changed to ArtWalk Hamptons to reflect other possible art walks led in Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton.

Zeiger started ArtWalks to draw attention to the vibrant art scene in the Hamptons and to create an easy environment where art can be viewed.

“Art is important,” said Zeiger. “I’d like to remove the barriers to viewing art and engage the whole of the community. By building an audience, a new lover of art is created. ArtWalk events, if they become successful, will draw more attention to the vibrant art scene in East Hampton and other villages in the Hamptons.”

So far, response to the walking gallery tours has been positive. People expressed surprise at the number of art galleries in East Hampton and the different themes presented by each, said Zeiger. Dialogues between walkers and gallerists were a highlight of last year's tours, she said. Some participants returned and purchased art after seeing it on the walk, said Zeiger.

Gallerists surveyed about last year's walks said it was a positive experience. Select galleries interviewed on the upcoming tours said the idea for a formal Gallery Walk is a good one.

"I think it's a good way to engage people who may not otherwise come into the gallery," said Patrick Dawson, a managing partner at Birnam Woods Galleries. "People's time here is very limited...They may not know the galleries and what they may have in inventory."

Birnam Woods Galleries exhibits American Modernist with an emphasis on Post WWII artists plus select contemporary artists.

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Birnam Wood Galleries Managing Partner Patrick Dawson at his East Hampton Gallery.

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Terry Wallace of the Wallace Gallery of American Art separately agreed. "People interested in art will see a lot of different types," he said. "It's a chance to hear what the gallery owners have to say about it and just find out for themselves the art that's here."

The Wallace Gallery exhibits American paintings from 1870 to 1940 with an emphasis on Long Island painters.

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Terry Wallace of the Wallace Gallery among paintings made by Long Island artists.

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BASIC FACTS: ArtWalk Hamptons will be held on Saturday at 5 p.m. with a reception at Sotheby's International Reality. Check-in for guided tours and maps for those preferring to explore on their own will be available. Information on ArtWalk Hamptons plus nearby art exhibitions and venues can be found at www.artwalkhamptons.com.

Tickets for the guided gallery walk are $45. The price includes a VIP ticket to artMRKT Hamptons. Proceeds benefit The Clamshell Foundation.

Walks in East Hampton are being planned through the fall. Information will be posted on ArtWalk Hamptons website as it become available.

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© 2012 Pat Rogers and Hamptons Art Hub. All rights reserved.

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