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Hamptons Life

May 30, 2017 11:54 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Wings Over Haiti To Hold Benefit At The Watermill Center

May 30, 2017 11:54 AM

By Kelly Ann Smith

Coco Myers has come full circle with her art collective, Folioeast.

“I have a deep connection to artists out here,” she said while sitting on a bench in Amagansett Square on a rare sunny day. “My parents moved out here in the 1960s from Greenwich Village and were friends with the abstract expressionists.”

“Herman Cherry, Ibram Lassaw, Esteban Vicente, Syd Solomon, Ray Parker and James Brooks were all family friends and their artwork hung on our walls.”

The artists and writers migrated to the East End to live more affordably. “My dad wrote his fiction and my mom taught kindergarten at the Southampton school. They were very involved with local politics and my mom was at one point town supervisor,” she said.

Her parents’ coterie of friends inspired Ms. Myers to study art history at Princeton, but she was sidetracked into the land of fashion magazines and worked for Mirabella, Allure and ELLE throughout the 1980s and into the ’90s. In 1993 she married the modern architect Daniel Rowen, and two years later they purchased a house on the same East Hampton street as her mother, Astrid Myers.

Ms. Myers stayed in East Hampton and freelanced for Martha Stewart Living and ELLE Decor, while Mr. Rowan continued to work in the city, designing galleries, retail space, and private homes, many masterpieces of minimalism.

“Over the years my late husband and I would buy art for our anniversaries,” she said. The subject of her husband’s passing seven years ago is obviously a difficult one. “It wasn’t easy,” she said of raising her three sons, now aged 16, 20, 22, alone. “Anyway, they’re good kids.”

She’s not quite an empty-nester but her boys are getting to the age where she has more time on her hands. “I wanted something to get me out of house,” she said. Artists were always her passion, and she realized there was a gap she could possibly fill.

“So many artists are not represented or don’t have a gallery,” she said. She prefers the word “facilitator” to “representative,” however. Semantics aside, Folioeast was formed to help artists and collectors come together.

Her first show was at Ashawagh Hall last fall. Then came a couple of shows at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in Bridgehampton. But it was Folioeast’s winter shows at Malia Mills in East Hampton that really struck a chord with local art lovers.

Thanks to artist Philippe Cheng—a mutual friend of Ms. Myers and the swimwear designer Malia Mills—Folioeast showed four artists every other Saturday. Instead of an empty retail space, artists, their friends and fans had a warm place to gather on Main Street, something that has not happened in a very long time.

“It really was fun,” said Ms. Myers. “W even sold some pieces.”

Best of all, 10 percent of sales went to four local charities including Project Most, Hayground Culinary Arts Program, Bridgehampton School’s Edible Garden Project and the Perfect Earth Project.

Currently, folioeast.com is previewing “Hamptons Artists for Haiti,” a gallery of artwork for sale, to benefit Wings Over Haiti, a nonprofit organization founded by artist and pilot Jonathan Glynn of Sag Harbor.

Wings Over Haiti is now raising money to build a second school since an earthquake devastated the area in 2010. “The first school is very successful and has over 180 children now,” said Mr. Glynn. “They are fed twice a day and it goes from preschool to seventh grade. It is in one of the poorest neighborhoods in our hemisphere and we are lucky to be able to see these destitute children transform into happy, healthy and well-educated individuals.”

The first school is now run by Haitians, and each year they add a grade to accommodate the growth of the children. The new school will serve 400 children in the mountains of North Central Haiti, Ranquitte. “These children currently have no education or recreation,” said Mr. Glynn. “The new school will take between $50,000 to $100,000 to get it off the ground.”

The benefit auction will be held at the Watermill Center. Director Elka Rifkin, formerly a teacher at the Hampton Day School and an old friend, hooked Ms. Myers up with an incredible space.

“Their ‘summer office’ is a big room with a long wall for art. The other side has glass garage doors that open up to the lawn and gardens,” Ms. Myers said. “It will be held on one of the longest nights of the year.”

Noah’s in Greenport is catering the affair and even donated dinner for 16 for the raffle, a “fun side gig” to the main art auction. Tickets are a reasonable $125 and include food, libations supplied by Channing Daughters and Wölffer Estate vineyards, Montauk Rumrunners and Sagaponack Farm Distillery, and music by Alfredo Merat.

Forty-five artists have contributed paintings, photographs, collages and sculptures. Bidding in increments of $50 are considered lower than normal retail value. “Good starting prices and a nice range of styles, from representational beach scenes to more abstract to really abstract,” said Ms. Myers. “Nothing’s going to be outrageous price-wise; $300 and up to $4,000. It’ll be a nice show to go to for anyone, not just art collectors.”

“I love figuring out which artists to put together, how to hang it and throwing a party,” said Ms. Myers. “Those three things are the best part of the plot, plus I love the artists.”

There’s an obvious social aspect of the job that she enjoys. “Not just talking to artists but to clients too. I’ll be at Nick and Toni’s and the next thing I know I’m putting people on my mailing list.”

In the end, it’s the friendships that are formed that matter most. “It’s a win-win,” she said.

Folioeast will be curating five shows this summer at the Golden Eagle’s “Studio 144,” an old barn in the back of the art supply shop at 144 North Main Street in East Hampton, from July 9 through October. “I want to show artists I haven’t shown before; fresh blood,” she said.

The barn’s rough hewn beams will contrast nicely with the contemporary artwork she has in mind. “Fun, big-scale pieces that really pop off the wall.”

Beyond that, who knows what the future holds for Folioeast. “I’ve always wanted to own a gallery,” she said. “One day I might.”

Buy “Hamptons Artists for Haiti” tickets in advance at wingsoverhaiti.net, as they are expected to sell out and will not be offered at the door. The silent art auction begins at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. at The Watermill Center, 39 Water Mill Towd Road, Water Mill, June 17.


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