Alec Baldwin is a Hamptons hero. He has become part of the upper echelon of celebrity, and is now an American icon-and he lives in the Hamptons.
Recently, I laughed out loud while watching a commercial for Capital One Bank in which Alec Baldwin is in New York City and is visiting various New York landmarks, talking about Capital One Bank and greeting the Capital One Vikings at the end of the commercial at Lincoln Center, which he describes as one of his most favorite places in the world.
When you see Alec Baldwin on screen and he wants to be funny, you just get charmed by him. He’s simply hilarious. He doesn’t even need to do anything anymore he is so funny. I literally could watch a video of Alec Baldwin staring at a camera saying nothing, and if he were trying to be funny, I would laugh. How he has this talent, I do not know, but we are all lucky that this talent is within a person who cares about the community in which he lives.
Alec Baldwin got a big payday from the Capital One commercials, and instead of buying a fancy yacht or something, he decided to give it away to organizations that make New York, and I dare say, the Hamptons what they are all about-the arts. Alec Baldwin has been spearheading a promotion and fundraising effort for Guild Hall in East Hampton since before it was fashionable to do so. And so he just gave $250,000 to Guild Hall and he also gave money to the Hamptons International Film Festival, in addition to other institutions in New York City that support the arts. All of this money came from the money that he recently earned from his latest Capital One commercial, and to top off the gesture, Baldwin negotiated with Capital One in advance, as part of their agreement with Baldwin for Capital One to matching his donations on their website to Americans for the Arts.
Baldwin stated in a press release, “My partnership with Capital One serves as a platform to generate awareness about the need for arts funding. Government funding has been significantly reduced and I think that is bad for arts education and America’s cultural heritage. Guild Hall serves the community throughout the year by providing inspiring performances, films, readings and exhibitions, along with arts education in schools and other activities that are needed.”
The money that went to Guild Hall is very much needed, according to the Executive Director of Guild Hall, Ruth Appelhof. “Alec’s generous donation will help support our mission which is to nurture, cultivate and promote visual and performing artists on the East End. Over 40,000 people visit Guild Hall every season. With the recent cut in government funding, we are depending more and more on private and corporate giving to achieve our goals. We very much appreciate Alec’s support which will go toward paying off the final $2 million left in our Capital Campaign following our recent renovation.”
And it’s this kind of relentless fundraising and effort that is required to keep arts in New York alive and well. Arts programs are always scrambling to find money, especially in live theatre and in local theatre, which constantly need basic funding. You might be able to find local actors to get up on stage for free, but the wood and paint to build sets on the stage, the cost of keeping the lights on in the theater and all of the other expenses involved, are impossible to do without money.
So we could all learn a thing or two from Baldwin this week, and we could all get out there and see as clearly as he does the importance of the arts and support them with a little bread.