DISPATCH - FEB 27, 2013 (8:03 a.m.)
Vito Sisti, an unlikely art curator and unofficial "mayor" of Springs, died unexpectedly on Monday at his home. He was 51 years old. The cause of death is pending. A memorial will be held on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Springs Community Presbyterian Church in Springs, NY. A reception at Ashawagh Hall will follow.
Sisti was known for annual group shows that he presented at Ashawagh Hall in Springs. An auto mechanic by trade, he found himself gravitating towards the artists and art shows in Springs, he had said in an interview held in 2005. Deciding to run with it, he began bringing artists together and curating sprawling group shows.
The "Vito Sisti Presents" exhibitions grew into a 20-year tradition. Two shows were presented annually: "Paintings & Sculpture" and "The Women's Show." "The Women's Show," in particular, occupied a place in Springs's legends even while being presented. His exhibitions gathered together a hit list of Springs and Hamptons art talent.
Sisti was involved with Ashawagh Hall and The Springs in other ways. He was a board member for the Springs Improvement Society Board and helped spearhead a renovation of Ashawagh Hall several years ago. Sisti was a volunteer for the Springs Food Pantry and had helped organize several of the annual Fisherman’s Fairs.
Following is an excerpt of the obituary supplied by Sisti's family and published by Southampton Patch.com:
"Born in Brooklyn on September 14, 1961, [Vito Sisti] was the son of Francisco Sisti, who died last year, and Marie Ali Sisti, who lives on Staten Island. He grew up on Staten Island, attending schools there, and after a stint at Wagner College joined the U.S. Coast Guard, serving on the U.S.S. Midget stationed in Alameda, California, and traveling to Alaska and back.
When he asked for a transfer to the East Coast, Mr. Sisti ended up in Montauk in the mid-’80s. Ultimately he dropped anchor in Springs.
...A part of the local art scene, Sisti was immortalized as a "Vito-lope" — a gold life mask with antlers — by Billy Strong, and as a life-size replica by Springs artist Trish Franey. Said statue could be found wearing a Santa hat at Christmas, or occasionally took up residence in the middle of Pussy's Pond.
Vito Sisti and Coleen Curtin were married on April 26, 1990. Ms. Curtin survives her husband, as does her son, Nick Stevens, and her daughter, Janine Maloney. He is also survived by a brother, James, who resides on Staten Island.
Sisti will be cremated and his remains interred at the Calverton National Cemetery at a later date. Memorial donations to the Springs Improvement Society, Springs Food Pantry and the Springs Library are suggested.
BASIC FACTS: A memorial for Vito Sisti (1961 - 2013) will be held on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Springs Community Presbyterian Church, 5 Old Stone Highway, Springs, NY.
RELATED STORY - Vito Sisti: New York Magazine: Fine Arts and Auto Parts by Greg Donaldson. Published July 30, 2001.
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