After 18 years, final curtain call for The Arts in Southold Town

02/28/2011 4:11 PM |

After more than 18 years of bringing major performing artists to the North Fork, The Arts in Southold Town won’t be raising the curtain on another season of productions.

Group leaders aren’t willing to talk about the decision beyond a single page letter they’ve written explaining that they believe it’s time for “younger, stronger, more energetic people to carry the music torch on the North Fork.” The letter, signed by seven board members, does not say whether efforts were made to recruit others to run the organization which puts on five productions a year.

“It takes enormous time, enormous energy and many people, businesses and entities to present just one, let alone the five concerts we have featured each year,” the letter said.

Agreeing to an interview later in the week, after the full letter appears in Thursday’s Suffolk Times, co-chairman Neboysha Brashich said his co-chairwoman, Carole Donlin, wants the letter to stand on its own until then.

When the group began hosting the programs almost two decades ago, members were younger, the letter said. Now that “grey has crept into our hair, or in some cases, the actual absence of hair,” the board decided it was time to stop.

“After much talk, soul searching and more than a few tears, we’ve decided to pack it in and retire,” the letter said. The effort has been “fun and rewarding” and board members have enjoyed making a contribution to the community, it said.

Concerts — including  Roseanne Cash, the Ramsey Lewis Trio, The Alvin Alley Dancers, The Juilliard String Quartet and Orchestra and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band — have always been well supported.

Handling the dissolution of the nonprofit organization will depend in part on how much money remains in its coffers after it has settled its debts. However, under New York State Law it is up to a court to determine how remaining assets are to be distributed.

The Arts in Southold Town has been dedicated to bringing cultural opportunities to the North Fork and Shelter Island, especially during the summer season, when the area’s population of approximately 20,000 more than doubles.

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62 Comment

  • What a huge loss. As a young family whose interest in such programs has just begun, I feel we have missed a wonderful opportunity. I wish there was a way to continue hosting so many talented artists.

  • Hmmm perhaps some of the local “industry” that benefits directly from these enterprises would care to stand up?


  • Let’s hope that the thought of what a huge loss this will be to the North Fork will spur some good citizens to step up to carry on the program.

  • This is so heartbreaking for me to hear. I grew up in Mattituck and now work in the music industry in Nashville, yet every time I am back home to visit the family, I am always impressed by the amount of local music and arts that are represented in the community. It would be ideal if younger people in the area could step up and take the torch, but let’s be honest, how many young people in the 25-35 crowd can truly afford to live on the beautiful North Fork and pursue art? In my age range, even in affordable Nashville, people are struggling to make it in these difficult economic times. I truly hope that more festivals like the one Josh Horton organized this past year will become a regular occurrence. Perhaps even Winterfest could become a seasonal offering? A big thank you to those who kept The Arts in Southold Town going for so long, but what a large void you will leave until someone else steps in!

  • What a fun experience for you Brian and a great article capturing every moment of your reincarnation!