Supporters rally as women find rights under attack

Benefit For Planned Parenthood




Margaret Sanger, a nurse-turned-activist, founded Planned Parenthood in the early 20th Century. Her belief that women should control their own bodies, and, by extension, their own destinies, was revolutionary.

Planned Parenthood usually makes the headlines for the wrong reasons: political attacks on its abortion services or physical attacks on its clinics and doctors.

Actually, the organization offers services not just to women but also to men, young people, and transgenders. The Hudson Peconic branch has been serving this community for 85 years, providing education and training programs, counseling, contraception, pre- and post-natal care, HIV testing, cancer screening, hormone replacement therapy, STI testing, abortion services and, when necessary, transport and translation.

The 31st Annual “Artists for Choice” Planned Parenthood East End Benefit will be held this year at Julie Keyes’ new Sag Harbor Gallery at the American Hotel, starting with a kick-off preview and Paddle8 art auction and cocktail party on Sunday, June 2, from 1 to 6 PM.

The second is a garden party and Paddle8 viewing and bidding followed by a concert with the Tony Award-winning Billy Joel musical “Movin Out” band at Guild Hall of East Hampton, Saturday, June 15.

“The artists are key — very generous — and many made pieces just for this event, as they all realized how hard we need to work for women’s and reproductive rights,” said curator Pamela Willoughby. “I grew up on the book ‘Our Bodies Ourselves.’ I just had to jump in and volunteer on this project. We all thought the deal was done when we protested as young women, and the Roe v. Wade decision from the Supreme Court came down.”

Willoughby, in turn, called Brontë Zunis, a bright young woman who conceived and organized last year’s benefit at Tutto il Giorno along with Planned Parenthood in Sag Harbor and asked her to curate at the last moment. Out of the 24 pieces of art last year, 22 were sold as the community supported the event.

This year, 54 local, New York City, and Brooklyn artists all wanted to donate. Zunis and Willoughby went to work organizing, starting in November. Jenifer Van Deinse, Director of Development, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, along with Yvonne Mann, Coordinator Special Events PPHP, met with Zunis and Willoughby, “and voila, it happened,” said Willoughby.

The auction items include many different genres: painting, drawing, prints, photography, sculpture, ceramics, and tapestry. The art will be on display at the reception, and guests will have a chance to meet many of the artists, from local luminaries and established artists, to up-and-comers.

Works by Betty Parsons, April Gornik, Kenny Scharf, Bronte Zunis, Mary Heilman, Michael Halsband, Randy Palumbo, Steve Miller, and Bert Stern will be among those up for auction.

To participate in the online auction, visit www.paddle8.com/auction/planned-parenthood. The auction will go live for bidding on May 30, and will close on June 15 at 8 PM. Each piece will have a “Buy It Now” price. If the bidder places a bid at this price, it immediately goes to him or her.

Tickets for the fundraiser, which includes the concert at Guild Hall in East Hampton on June 15, range in price from $100 for individual tickets to $25,000 for a Presenting Sponsorship. Tickets can be purchased at www.bit.ly/PPHPJune15.