2007 Southampton Press Article

Southampton Press/ East Hampton Press  October 13 2007

For East End Birds, It’s Home Tweet Home

Artists and celebs craft avian domiciles for benefit

By Pat Rogers

They’re birdhouses like you’ve never seen. Some look like trees or water towers or log cabins. Others look like a saloon set atop a Manhattan high rise, moose antlers or earrings hanging from a giant woman’s ears. Still others conjure images of cubist paintings or a modern home. Then there’s the star power: Renee Zellweger, Mandy Moore, Brooke Shields. Aretha Franklin, CBS news anchor Maurice DuBois, figure skating champion Peggy Fleming, the New York Jets, “Today Show” host Ann Curry. All of these and more donated their time to make birdhouses to benefit the South Fork Breast Health Coalition through the third annual Artist and Celebrity Birdhouse Auction. Actress Lynn Redgrave decided not to make a birdhouse but opted to become an event co-sponsor instead. The birdhouses go on display on Saturday when this year’s silent auction begins. Bids will be accepted during a wine and cheese preview reception at Hampton Road Gallery in Southampton from 6 to 8 p.m. The event is free. The final auction is slated for Saturday, October 13, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 for this event, at which an auctioneer will help seal the deal on each of the 75 or more birdhouses. Providing a home for the birds or securing a collectible by a favorite artist is just part of the fun. Underlying the lighthearted event is a critical initiative to raise money to help East End breast cancer patients and to support early detection efforts. Money raised at the auction go to ensure that Lend a Helping Hand and wellness and prevention programs can continue, and to provide some of the funding for construction of a place where breast cancer assistance can always be found. Lend a Helping Hand helps women who have breast cancer in small but meaningful ways. Aimed at relieving some of the day-to-day pressure, money has been used to pay utility bills because cancer patients can’t work during chemo treatment, or to pay for babysitters so the children don’t have to come along. Eyeglasses, doctor bills and housecleaning are other expenses women have covered with Lend a Helping Hand donations.
“At first, I thought women would want to have a massage or pamper themselves,” said Breast Health Coalition
president and founder Susan Barry Roden. “One woman said the best thing for her was to pay the electric bill. It was one less thing she had to worry about. For her, that was the best way to relieve the pressure. It seems like most women feel that way. They’d rather take care of the practical than pamper themselves as I originally thought.”
The dream of building a Community Center is already on its way. More than $70,000 has been raised through private donations. Proceeds from the auction will keep the dream going. Having a permanent home is important to raise awareness of services available through the South Fork Breast Health Coalition. “So many people don’t know the types of services we offer and we would like to change that,” Ms. Roden said. The
Tony Rosenthal’s “Boid Hause.”
Bird house Auction was founded three years ago to raise awareness, raise funds and promote a whole lot of fun. The brainchild of artist Karyn Mannix, the auction was her way of giving back after the Breast Health Coalition helped her during her battle against breast cancer. After she had pledged that she would find a way to give back, Ms. Mannix surprised Ms. Roden when she contacted her and suggested an artist’s auction of collectible birdhouses.
“A lot of people say they want to do something to help, but we don’t see too many people actually come back,” Ms. Roden said. “It’s okay—they don’t have to. But that’s why I was really surprised when Karyn contacted me.”
So far the event has been a fun one that brings together artists, the community and celebrities. Many of the artists who donate their time to make the birdhouses are breast cancer survivors or have one in their family. Academy Award-winning actress Renee Zellweger is no exception. Her grandmother and two aunts had breast cancer. Moved by witnessing the battle and recovery of a close friend, Ms. Zellweger turned up at the first Birdhouse Auction and ended up lending a hand.
Ms. Zellweger, who has a house on the East End, was the honorary chair for last year’s event, and is returning in the same role this year. She also made birdhouses for both events. Co-chairs are Ms. Mannix and Karen Saco.
While only three years old, the Birdhouse Auction has garnered a reputation as a community event at which birdhouse art can be picked up for (maybe) a song. Bids begin at $35 and every one of the birdhouses sells. To mix things up, each auction features both new and returning contributors.
And actors aren’t the only stars at the auction: there is plenty of artist star power as well. The artistic lineup includes Dennis Oppenheim, Michael Lownie, Tony Rosenthal, Don Saco, David Salle and others. Artists who have exhibited locally include Abby Abrams, Stephanie Brody Lederman, Paton Miller, David Slater and Dennis Leri. Artists Karyn Mannix, David Gamble, Eric Ernst, James DeMartis, Grant Haffner, and Trish Franey also made birdhouses for the event.
Architects have gotten into the mix this year as well. Maxine Liao, Preston Phillips and Russell Blue all made birdhouses. So did builder Bruce Turnball. Birdhouse builders Dan McAllister and Steve Marciw also contributed.
In reviewing the submissions, Ms. Mannix believes this year’s birdhouses surpass those of prior years in artistic range and detail. “People are becoming competitive,” Ms. Mannix. “They see the types of birdhouses that were made the first and second years and want to go further with it. I also think artists are becoming familiar with the form, which makes it easier to make something interesting.”
This year’s auction marks the first time a limited edition poster is being offered. Artist Dan Rizzie created a poster from one of his sold paintings. His birdhouse was created to complement the image. Signed posters are still available for $40.
The third annual Artist and Celebrity Birdhouse Auction will be held on Saturday, October 13, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Southampton Cultural Center, 25 Pond Lane, Southampton. A preview with a wine and cheese reception will be held on Saturday, October 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hampton Road Gallery, 36 Hampton Road, Southampton. Birdhouses will remain on view through October 12. They can also be seen at http://www.southforkbreast.com. The event benefits the South Fork Breast Health Coalition, originally founded in 1994 to help educate women about the importance of breast self examinations and annual mammograms as preventive measures.

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