Creative Anchor - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1784670

Creative Anchor

I read in The Express that Bay Street Theater is weighing anchor, or at least threatening to do so [“Bay Street Theater Says It May Have No Choice But To Move Out Of Sag Harbor,”, May 25]. This news is disappointing and may also be short-sighted. Sag Harbor is becoming a wonderful new version of an older self, and at the heart of this new version of resilience, adaptability and opportunism lies the arts. I believe it is the arts and art production that will drive and sustain the economy of Sag Harbor for many years to come.

If Bay Street Theater departs, they will leave an empty berth. That means a music venue or an immersive high-tech experiential space, or even another theater, could possibly dock here.

I do not want to see Bay Street Theater leave. April and I have been subscribers and donors to the theater for years and have profited from the richness of theatrical experiences they have given us. They have been an anchor of this town’s creative voice for nearly 30 years and have proven their grit time and time again through difficult financial challenges.

They have a committed staff, loyal and talented actors, directors, staging designers, sound managers, acclaimed playwrights, and determined board members. You can see immediately that the theater is its own industry of makers. I would love to see them have a permanent home with as much state-of-the-art equipment and design flexibility that they can, within the limitations of zoning and the village’s character and scale.

I wish I understood the arrangement that “Friends of Bay Street and Sag Harbor Re-Development” has guaranteeing that Bay Street Theater has a permanent home. It would go a long way toward easing our collectively anxious minds if we could be assured that the theater is not being used by developers.

We have all heard the language of developers trying to sell a vision of renewed vitality that is really a scheme for commercial development and profit, models that have short-term success as economies falter and popularity shifts, and, most importantly, that ignore the character and composition of a place, draining it of its soul.

I would love to see this village take a creative and adventurous lead when it comes to the arts. Our parks and public spaces could be made available for installations, exhibitions, theatrical productions, movies and concerts. There could be something here to see, feel, witness and experience every day, adding to the year-round economy, helping Main Street thrive.

The arts amuse us, blow our minds, sensitize us to other people’s joys and sorrows, and allow us to share our struggles and sense of wonder.

April and I have been very fortunate in our lives, and it gives us immeasurable pleasure to be part of this great community.

Eric Fischl

Sag Harbor