By Christine Sampson
The Sara Nightingale Gallery’s arrival on Main Street in Sag Harbor is a homecoming for its owner, who has relocated the business from Water Mill after 17 years there.
Sara Nightingale has been a Sag Harbor resident since 1985, when she moved here to teach sailing at Devon Yacht Club “and never looked back,” she said in an interview this week.
“I love Sag Harbor. My favorite thing is that I can see the water,” she said. “I love all the businesses here. They are so personal and creative, and every shop has their own point of view and voice, including the restaurants. It’s like the last Main Street.”
Ms. Nightingale, who had studied mathematics in college, got her start in the art world as a framing technician in Newport, Rhode Island. That’s how she gained her expertise about materials, taking care of art, and curating shows.
The gallery is located at 26 Main Street in the space formerly known as Beach Bungalow. One of its most distinctive features is the walls, which consist of embossed metal panels with an antique feel, and which are painted a warm, off-white shade. It differs from the flat, stark white walls in most galleries.
“The walls are unusual, but it’s kind of funky, and I like it,” she said. “I think it’s going to inspire my programing. It’s this old Sag Harbor character. It’s really inviting. It’s closer to the color people have in their houses.”
The gallery had its grand opening on Saturday with an exhibit titled “Namibia: Exploring Endangered Species through Photography,” featuring the work of Aaron Kresberg, a Ross School student. All of the proceeds from sales of his work will be donated to the Rare and Endangered Species Trust in Africa; during opening weekend alone, the gallery generated about $3,000 in donations. The show is on display through February 8.
The philanthropic approach to her first exhibit in Sag Harbor is something Ms. Nightingale is committed to, in addition to hosting more traditional solo and group artists’ shows and projects.
“It’s not only about me and what I like. I want to do lot of collaboration,” she said. “If people approach me with an idea, I’m open to discussing it. . . . What can I do for society? I can offer my space.”