Benefit : An Evening in Tuscany for the Edgartown Library
More than 100 guests enjoyed an exquisite array of fine Italian wines and cheeses at An Evening in Tuscany on Friday, at Lattanzi's Restaurant in Edgartown. The Edgartown Library Foundation hosted the evening to raise both awareness and support for the library's planned renovation and expansion campaign.
The event was a great success. Tickets sold out days before and, based on the demand, the foundation is already considering future events to accommodate those left without tickets. Danielle Pendergraft of Holiday Public Relations and Events, a passionate Edgartown Public Library supporter and seasonal resident, organized the evening. Owner Albert Lattanzi donated his restaurant for the evening, "Our participation in this project will now help ensure that a new library will be enjoyed by the community for generations to come."
An impressive range of cheeses from across the Italian peninsula and a delicious selection of wines, mainly from Italy's most famous region, were on offer. As guests made their way from one seductive display to the next, they took time to mingle with library trustees or foundation members or to buy a raffle ticket to further support the cause. The raffle prizes included a Valentine's dinner for two at Lattanzi's, several bottles of famous Chianti wine, and a beautiful Tuscan oil painting by Italian artist and seasonal resident Claudio Gasparini.
"The library always does their events right," Edgartown selectman Art Smadbeck said.
The evening's organizers were likewise thrilled with the support and turnout. They said they see the event as marking a fresh start for the building initiative.
"This is a great chance to regroup and move forward as one cohesive unit," said Ms. Pendergraft.
The Edgartown Library Foundation is a non-profit organization responsible for raising funds and awareness in support of the town's library. In recent years, the foundation has turned its attention toward the expansion and renovation of the current library, most recently renovated in 1975. The proposed plan has stumbled recently, mainly because of criticisms of its size and cost. That in turn has hurt private funding.
Plans will now be reconsidered. Library trustees voted Monday to withdraw a town meeting request for $4.068 million for the project. Instead they'll ask, with the support of the selectmen and members of the finance committee, for $300,000 for architectural, engineering and other related expenses to re-evaluate the project and apply for a new grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). The new grant round offers up to 50 percent of construction costs, as opposed to the current grant at 33 percent.
An Evening in Tuscany, however, marked a new beginning for the building fundraising effort.
"We have finally been able to consolidate support for the project and really welcome the recent change of events which have given us a fresh start," said Rob Hughes, chairman of the Edgartown Library Foundation's capital campaign committee.
Mr. Hughes stressed the importance of unity moving forward. "The good news is that the dialogue continues in earnest, and private donors will welcome greater unity among the town's leadership that heretofore has not existed," he said.
The evening was one of many to come for the library foundation, which will host more events on the Island, as well as similar events across the country in coming months.
Sam Griswold, a freelancer, lives in West Tisbury.