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

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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