Photo by Rossa Cole
Please take a few minutes to see John Alexander (artist and part-time raconteur) and me in conversation—it’s about Guild Hall, many of the wonderful people in the community who helped while I was there and the great staff—past and present. Enjoy!
About Ruth Appelhof
In the Ruth Appelhof version of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” those stepping up to list the ways Guild Hall might look without her contributions over the past 16 years as director would cite the huge renovation and restoration of the East Hampton arts institution’s building and theater, the expansion of public programs to more than 270 per year, or the consistently well-received art shows in the museum.
As it turns out, residents of East Hampton and the regional artistic community will have to imagine the institution without her. Last week, she announced her retirement at the end of 2016 to the staff and board. A search for a successor will begin over the next few months.
Seated at the round white table in her sunny basement office on Friday, she said it was time to reinvigorate the institution with younger blood and new ideas. At the same time, long-simmering personal plans for two books will finally take precedence, a return to the scholarship she mostly put aside to tackle the administrative responsibilities of her job.
Asked to rank the challenges that she faced in 1999 and her greatest successes, she said the first and most significant thing she sought to improve was community involvement in the institution. “One thing I learned early on is that the community here is invested in Guild Hall and has a real sense of ownership about its programs.” She added that, at the time she started, the criticism she was hearing was that “Guild Hall wasn’t in touch with the community and nobody knew what we were doing.”
By visiting a number of service organizations, she discovered the full range of East Hampton’s diversity and developed confidence to present varied programs to bring different audiences into the institution. As time went on, Guild Hall grew its offerings to include a variety of musical acts, talks on food and fashion, films, dance, simulcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, and free discussions and “how-tos” in its Table Talk series. These programs attracted more than 50,000 visitors to Guild Hall this year, a record.
The excerpt above is from an interview in The East Hampton Star by Jennifer Landes.
To read more: http://easthamptonstar.com/Lead-c/2015818/Ruth-Appelhof-Moving-Guild-Hall-Not-Out-East-Hampton
The Guild Hall Awards
The Guild Hall Awards were a smashing success and Ruth Appelhof, the Executive Director of Guild Hall, who recently announced her retirement after over 18 years was honored with a surprise tribute at the Annual Awards Dinner. Ruth was unaware that Sarah Jessica Parker was going to present her with a Lifetime Achievement Award after accepting her own award, which everyone thought would be the last of the evening. The tightly kept secret turned into a loving tribute to the woman who has been literally rejuvenating Guild Hall for going on two decades now.
Below are a few quotes and pictures from the annual Lifetime Awards at held at the newly renovated Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Plaza:
Ruth Appelhof with Sarah Jessica Parker
Ruth Appelhof at the Lifetime Awards
Mary Heilmann, Charlotte Moss, Barry S. Friedberg, A.M. Homes,
Sara Jessica Parker, Ruth Appelhof, Marty Cohen