Tag Archive | "Montauk"

Surfrider Targets Army Corps’ Montauk Project

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DontBagOurBeach

Members of the Eastern Long Island chapter of the Surfrider Foundation staged a protest of the Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal to construct an artificial dune on the publicly owned beach in downtown Montauk on Thursday, October 9.

The proposed work includes placing 14,000 sand bags—each weighing 1.7 tons—along 3,100 feet of the ocean intertidal zone seaward of the existing motels and seaward of the natural primary dune line in that area. The bags will be covered with a layer of sand and planted with beachgrass, a cosmetic touch that coastal geologist Dr. Robert Young describes as “the lipstick on the pig.”

In a press release, the foundation charged that the Army Corps’ proposal flies in the face of the advice offered by three well known and respected coastal geologists who have reviewed the situation in downtown Montauk: Dr. Young, Dr. Stephen Leatherman, and Dr. Orrin Plikey. All three have stated that sand-filled geotextile bags mimic bulkheads and other hard structures in terms of their impact on beaches.

The Army Corps’ proposal prioritizes the value and protection of privately owned commercial structures over that of the public beach, the group said in a release. “Surfrider Foundation’s position is that the public beach is the East End’s greatest asset and its long term protection warrants top priority. Reflected wave energy from the geotextile bags will quickly erode the public beach.”

The foundation also said that the motels on the beach were constructed many years ago on top of the existing primary dune, destroying that natural resource. “This proposal will compound the mistakes made in the 1960s and 1970s: it will result in the destruction of the beach in addition to the already destroyed primary dune,” the group’s release stated.

Laraine Creegan

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Laraine Creegan has been the executive director of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce for the past 10 years. She discusses how Montauk businesses fared this summer and the upcoming Fall Festival, the Chamber’s biggest fundraiser of the year. 

In recent years, Montauk seems to have blown up in popularity. Streets seemed busier than ever this season, how was the summer for local businesses?

It was good, it was very good. I think the weather makes for a big difference – anytime you have good weather out here it really carries you through, particularly in the fall.

And how has the fall tourist season changed? Has that also become busier?

Oh yes. I think, again, it goes back to the weather. Fishing is always good in the fall. Through September and October, there are striped bass, people go crazy – whether they be surfcasting or taking charters, fishermen are pretty busy because the fish are running, so that’s really what it’s all about. And the fall generally has been busy because of all of the events. People come out to Montauk to relax and go out to dinner and to lay back, but they also want something to do. And so other than shuttling them off to the North Fork, we like to have events and we do pretty much try to do that. There was an event this past weekend – the archaeology festival – at the Second House Museum. And the seafood festival we had last weekend – all of those things bring people out. And also weddings, weddings have become increasingly popular out here particularly in September and October.

Have businesses been staying open longer into the season to accommodate for this change? 

A few more, I think what’s going to make a difference is keeping that Long Island Rail Road available. You know what it is, [business owners] are working so hard, to work seven days a week throughout the whole summer that it makes it difficult; they do start to take time off after Labor Day. I try to talk them into staying open, but the issue with that is finding help. That’s the toughest part.

This weekend is Montauk’s 33rd Annual Fall Festival, and with that, the annual Clam Chowder Competition on Saturday. How does that fierce competition work?

Well the chowder competition is almost an event of its own. The idea was to get people involved, we didn’t want to start voting, because people only got two tastes, how can you fairly do that? So I really insisted that we have to have judges. This will be the sixth year we’ve had a panel of judges and it really has worked out very well. We really are very cautious of how we do it: the pots are numbered so nobody knows, the judges sit behind, away from the checks. There are about five or six people on the panel, (including our very own Gavin Menu from The Sag Harbor Express.)

How else has the event evolved in your tenure?

When I first started here, ten years ago, it was pumpkin decorating, we sold hot dogs, hamburgers and sodas and we had pony rides, a wagon ride and that was about it. So we started to think of how to make it a little bit more festive. Then I was able to get the inflatable rides, from there it went to the carousel. The food tent has grown so we’re doing sausages and peppers, roasted corn, hot dogs and hamburgers, those big pretzels and beer and wine – that was added as well. The farmer’s market will also be under the tent. And this is also the third year we’ll have fireworks, that’ll be at 7 p.m. on Saturday night. We just try to make it fun and exciting – it’s really a fun family event.  It’s also a nice way for locals to get a chance to enjoy their hometown in the off-season.

The Fall Festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13, from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. right in the heart of Montauk’s Main Street. For those craving a cup of chowder, Ms. Creegan suggests getting to the festival before 1 p.m., when the soup usually runs out. For more information about the festival, or if you’re interested in volunteering, call the Chamber of Commerce at (631) 668-2428.

 

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Southampton Hospital and the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at the hospital have planned a slew of events to increase awareness and raise funds to support local breast cancer survivors, starting with the lighting of a Pink Ribbon Tree at the Southampton Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

Other events include a Breast Cancer Awareness Health Fair on Friday, October 3, at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.;  the fourth annual Breast Cancer Summit at The Coral House in Baldwin from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, October 7; the Give Where You Live Campaign Kickoff at Parrish Memorial Hall at Southampton Hospital at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, October 8; Look Good, Feel Better at the Hampton Bays Library on October 14 from 1 to 3 p.m. the Shelter Island 5k Run/Walk on October 18 at 11 a.m. at Crescent Beach on Shelter Island; a Birdhouse Auction at the Southampton Social Club on Elm Street at 6 p.m. on October 18; a Shopping Benefit at Calypso at 21 Newtown Lane in East Hampton on October 23 from 5 to 7 p.m.; and Free Makeovers for Breast Cancer Survivors at Macy’s in Hampton Bays on October 24 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In addition, there will be three Charity of the Month promotions. Sabrosa Mexican Grill on Montauk Highway in Water Mill will donate the total bill amount for the 100th customer each day in October to the Coalition for Women’s Cancers. The Deborah Thompson Day Spa at the Plaza in Montauk will donate 10 percent from all treatments during the month, and Panera Bread on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of pink ribbon bagels to the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program and the The Breast Cancer Research Program at Cold Spring Harbor Research Laboratory during the month.

For more about the various breast cancer awareness events, call (631) 726-8715.

East Hampton Calls for Volunteers for Beach Cleanup

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The East Hampton Town Recycling and Litter Committee announced this week that it will participate in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day this Saturday, September 20.

The program asks volunteers to come out and clean up any local beaches while recording the types of trash found on the beaches, according to a press release from Councilwoman Sylvia Overby on September 16.

“This information will help the Conservancy collect and analyze data that will raise awareness, identify debris hotspots of unusual trash events and can help communities adopt policies that will work towards cleaner oceans,” the release read.

Garbage bags and disposable gloves will be supplied by the town of East Hampton; anyone interested in participating can pick up free bags and gloves and a data collection form from Town Hall through Friday, September 19. Volunteers can leave full trash bags by town garbage cans on Saturday and they will be picked up by the parks department.

Volunteers who document their day of cleanup on Saturday are asked to e-mail them to soverby@ehamptonny.gov so they can put on the town’s website. For more information about the Ocean Conservancy’s Coastal Cleanup Day, visit oceanconservancy.org.

 

Surfing for Autism in Montauk

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By Tessa Raebeck

With the goal of helping to foster an understanding and acceptance of autism, Surfers Healing uses the “transformative experience of surfing” to both support kids and families living with autism and show others just how much kids with autism are capable of accomplishing.5

A fundraiser for Surfers Healing will be held at Solé East Resort in Montauk on Thursday, September 11, at 6 p.m. A barbecue and live music by the Dan Bailey Tribe will be followed by the screening of “Expencive Porno Movie,” “a delightfully retro 45 minutes of experimental surf film shot entirely on Super 16mm,” according to a press release, and more music from Winston Irie and the Selective Security Band.

There will be a raffle of new gear from Montauk’s homegrown clothing company, Whalebone Creative, with proceeds going to Surfers Healing. Ales from Montauk Brewing Company will supplement the all-you-can-eat barbecue.

Over the last 15 years, Surfers Healing has made a difference in the lives of families and kids living with autism. The organization took 4,500 kids surfing last year and plans to continue growing. The camps are free and Surfers Healing hopes to add sponsorships for families who are unable to afford to travel to camp.

The Backyard at Solé East is located at 90 Second House Road in Montauk. Tickets are $25 per person for the BBQ, but entrance to the event is free. For more information, call Solé East at (631) 668-2105.

CCOM Reports Water Tests

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Now in its second year, the Concerned Citizens of Montauk in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation’s nationwide Blue Water Task Force water quality testing program has been sampling Montauk and Amagansett water bodies for the bacteria enterococcus.

Each week trained volunteers collect and test samples from Ditch Plain, Lake Montauk and Fort Pond in Montauk and Fresh Pond in Amagansett and post the results on Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force portal.

In the most recent test results, collected during the week ending August 22, bacteria levels ranged from low to high at the 15 sites tested, with the highest levels reported at the Fort Pond launching ramp and East Creek in Lake Montauk. Medium levels of the bacteria were found on the Industrial Road side of Fort Pond and Little Reed Pond Creek near Lake Montauk, with all other tested sites showing little or no bacteria.

PSEG Gets an Earful in East Hampton

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Heller_PSEG Public Meeting 8-26-14_4568_LR

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach, Jr., and East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell listened to a presentation by Mike Voltz of PSEG and a public hearing at the East Hampton Emergency Services Building on Tuesday, August 26. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Mara Certic

There was hardly a spare seat in the house on Tuesday, August 26, for an informational session and public hearing hosted by the State Department of Public Services on PSEG Long Island’s Utility 2.0 Long-Range Plan.

PSEG Long Island, a subsidiary of New Jersey-based PSEG, submitted the plan to the DPS on July 1, and almost immediately came under fire for failing to provide specifics about it as well as its decision to install 50-to-65-foot utility poles through portions of East Hampton Village last winter.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell and East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. wrote a joint letter to PSEG, asking that it hold a public meeting in East Hampton because the utility targeted the East End for major upgrades in the plan.

“We believe the Utility 2.0 Long Range Plan needs clarification, detail and public discussion, and we urge a public dialogue for this plan for the Town and Village of East Hampton,” they wrote.

“This is a time my office can hear you, your concerns and take it all into account,” said Julia Bovey, director the New York State Department of Public Services, who hosted the meeting.

And hear from people she did, with many people lining up to once again voice their objections to the installation of the poles.

“They’re an assault on our very core,” said town resident Elena Prohaska Glynn.  “We cannot afford to despoil the landscape. Remove them; bury those lines,” she said to much applause from the audience on Tuesday night.

The new poles have resulted in the creation of two organizations—Save East Hampton and Long Island Businesses For Renewable Energy, a stop-work order issued by the town and even a lawsuit.

Some wore bright orange Save East Hampton t-shirts with “Bury The Lines” written on the back. Many of the orange shirt wearers spoke not about the new plan, but about what they feel to be a more pressing issue: the danger and unsightliness of the new, taller poles in the village.

“It’s not only a matter of aesthetics, it’s a matter of life and death,” said Helen Mendez. “Be the company that you say you are, help us have green solutions. Do what’s safe, do what’s right and bury the lines.”

All three elected officials who spoke at Tuesday night’s meeting also called for the new lines to be buried, including State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.

“They have been willing over and over again to tax themselves to protect the quality of life here,” he said of his constituents.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell also called for the lines to be buried, to thunderous applause.

Jeremy Samuelson, president of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, gave DPS and PSEG Long Island some “history.” He explained that the public meeting process prior to the installation of the taller poles left much to be desired. The process lacked any transparency or community engagement from the utility company, he said.

“You come back a year later, and you have to eat some crow,” he said to the representatives from the DPS and PSEG. “You guys got it wrong, so that’s the history.”

“The question is,” he continued, “are you going to be our partners in fixing this mess? This thing is an atrocity; I won’t sugarcoat it for you. So the question is: LIPA isn’t in charge anymore. Are you going to help us find the somewhere between $20 million and $30 million to fix this mess?” he asked.

Elected officials and environmentalists also seemed unsatisfied by the lack of consideration for the town’s existing policy. “With regard to the presentation: that is something we would like to see more of, alternatives to fossil fuels,” Mr. Thiele said.

“The town has adopted a very important and ambitious goal,” Mr. Cantwell said of East Hampton’s decision to power all of its community-wide electricity needs with renewable energy by the year 2020. “I would urge that the power sources on the South Fork be met with renewable energy sources,” he said.

Gordian Raacke, president of Renewable Energy Long Island (RELI) criticized the shortsightedness of the plan. “I know you will make sure that while PSEG may not be in the room anymore, they will hear our comments,” he said to Ms. Bovey—about 20 minutes prior to that, it had become apparent that Mike Voltz, the director of energy efficiency and renewables for PSEG Long Island, who gave an overview of the plan, had left the meeting in the middle of the hearing.

“The plan is not a 2.0 plan. At best it’s a utility 1.1. It’s more business as usual and fails to provide a vision for utility or the future,” he said. “Work with the Town of East Hampton, work with us to build a sustainable energy future and we’ll work with you.”

PSEG needs “to be a collaborator, not an opponent,” he added. “You need to propose a better plan.

The meeting kicked off with a presentation by Mr. Voltz, who tried to shed some light on the plan and presented a series of slides and bullet points.

Mr. Voltz discussed items on the five-year plan, including a call to spend approximately $60 million on energy saving steps over the next five years, including providing programmable thermostats to upward of 60,000 residential customers.

The plan also includes a four-year-long educational campaign, at a cost of $8 million, an energy efficiency expansion in the Rockaways, which was explained in great detail as well and a $15 million initiative that would aim to install 6,000 new advanced meters in hard-to-reach locations.

The information on South Fork improvements left much to be desired, according to some of those who spoke at Tuesday night’s meeting. In that section of Mr. Voltz’s presentation, he discussed plans to use solar energy, battery storage and programmable thermostats, and also discussed the need for new generators to boost electricity output during periods of peak usage in Montauk, and other places. “They’re very old,” Mr. Voltz said of the generators, “they’re getting worn out.”

East Hampton Wins $9.9 Million Federal Grant to Acquire Flood-Prone Properties

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Cantwell coastal erosion

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell visits the Napeague-Lazy Point neighborhood with a resident of Mulford Lane, Amagansett.

By Mara Certic

The Town of East Hampton announced on Tuesday, August 26, that is has been awarded a $9.9 million federal grant to purchase a number of properties in Amagansett in order to turn them into protective storm buffers.

According to a release, the money will go toward purchasing approximately 16 properties in the Napeague and Lazy Point area, on Mulford Lane and Bayview Avenue. Some of the properties are vacant lots and some are developed and owned by people who have expressed in interest in selling out.

The program will enable homeowners to voluntarily choose to move out of the high-risk waterfront area and also to protect and possibly restore the coastal floodplain, the town said.

“With the help of this grant, achieved with the support of the Nature Conservancy and the hard work of Kim Shaw of the Town Natural Resources Department, we can preserve building parcels that will otherwise be developed and eliminate existing development clearly vulnerable to erosion and future storms,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said.

Areas of Napeague are particularly narrow, and Route 27— which is the only road connecting Montauk and the rest of the town—has been breached by water in the past, most recently for a short time in October 2012, during Hurricane Sandy.

Mr. Cantwell mentioned the very delicate stretch of land at a public hearing about PSEG Long Island’s Utility 2.0 Long Range Plan on Tuesday, August 26, when he called for an emergency energy plan for Montauk. “Montauk it 25 miles from here, it’s separated by some of the most fragile land areas,” he said. “It’s been breached more than once in our living history.”

Ms. Shaw, the town’s natural resources director, said, “We can look forward to this area being restored to natural conditions which will enhance water quality, wildlife habitat and floodplain resiliency.”

According to the town’s press release, land parcels with structures already on them will be cleared in order to put floodplain restoration efforts in place.

Director of the Nature Conservancy on Long Island, Nancy Kelley said

“The Nature Conservancy applauds the Town of East Hampton for bringing Sandy recovery funds to Lazy Point in Amagansett,” said Nancy Kelley, the organization’s Long Island director.

According to the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery website, Congress approved roughly $60 billion in disaster aid for the states hit by Hurricane Sandy, with New York State expected to be allocated half of that total.

“Efforts like these,” she said, “as part of comprehensive plans to manage our coasts in the face of rising seas and excessive nitrogen pollution from wastewater, are vital to ensuring healthier and more resilient coastal communities across Long Island.”

A resident of Bay View Avenue for the past 30 years, Steve Graboski said the plan is “a good thing.”

“People will be able to reclaim the value from their properties,” he said. “The nor’easters are the storms that really affect us the worst. The erosion is like a chip-away effect, chipping away at the shoreline over the years.”

 

Whether Legal or Criminal, Street Art Brings Art to the People

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"Structures of Thought II," 2013, unique handcut stencil and spray enamel on canvas, by Chris Stain. Courtesy Karyn Mannix Contemporary.

Chris Stain, “Structures of Thought II,” 2013, unique hand cut stencil and spray enamel on canvas. Courtesy Karyn Mannix Contemporary.

By Tessa Raebeck

An image by Los Angeles street artist becca in Sag Harbor Village. Photo by Michael Heller.

An image by Los Angeles street artist becca in Sag Harbor Village. Photo by Michael Heller.

A few years ago, Chris Stain was arrested for spray painting graffiti in a public space. While on probation for the crime, he was commissioned $60,000 to paint a mural, also in a public space. As the line between “graffiti” and “mural” gets thinner, the public is beginning to catch up in understanding the common thread—art.

Mr. Stain is one of 13 street artists featured in East Hampton art dealer and curator Karyn Mannix’s new show, “For the People: Beat of the Street.” Years in the making, the opening reception for the pop up art show will be held at the Atlantic Terrace Motel on Saturday, August 23.

Long miscategorized as the work of vandals and heathen teenagers, street art seems to finally be earning recognition for what it is: bringing beauty to public spaces and art to those with no private collections or museum memberships to speak of. In New York City, Baltimore and London, streets without galleries and apartment buildings with bare hallways are being decorated and enlivened with giant murals and powerful stencils of social commentary created neither for profit nor recognition, but for the culture of the people.

The show’s artists include: Mr. Stain; Andre Woolery of New York City and Jamaica; becca of Los Angeles, who has stencils on walls around Sag Harbor Village; Billy Mode of Baltimore; DOM from the United Kingdom; Brooklyn’s gilf!; Jason Poremba of Southampton; Karen Bystedt of Los Angeles; Leon Reid IV of Brooklyn; Harlem’s Ruben Natal-San Miguel; and T.Wat, also from the United Kingdom. Peter Tunney and Rolland Berry also collaborated.

The latest way these public artists show their work is through an “art drop,” in which an artist takes a painted canvas and leaves it without any publicity or fanfare in a public space.

Mr. Poremba has been doing art drops around the East End one or twice a week for the past few months, his most recent drop was last Friday in East Hampton.

Most of the pieces included in the show, which the artists prefer to keep affordable, were originally done on the street.

For Mr. Stain, an urban kid who started painting graffiti when he was 11 years old growing up in Baltimore, decorating the street was the natural artistic development.

There were no subways to speak of in Baltimore in the early 80s, but the book “Subway Art” by Martha Cooper, which documents the paintings being done during the graffiti movement of the 80s in the New York City subway systems, nonetheless inspired the young artist.

“They were being made by kids, for the most part, and when I saw the book and when I found out that it was kids making the artwork, I got really excited,” Mr. Stain said. “Because I was already into art, a little bit, but that really piqued my interest and art became a way of self-expression for me.”

He took a class on printmaking and learned to make stencils in high school and, around 1998, Mr. Stain’s art evolved from graffiti lettering to more figurative work “because I wanted to tell more of the story of the person and what was going on around me and my life and my neighborhood—the people I knew.”

"Corporate Greed" by T.Wat. Courtesy Karyn Mannix Contemporary.

“Corporate Mugging” by T.Wat. Courtesy Karyn Mannix Contemporary.

When he moved to the city in 2006, “I just transferred my putting stuff on the streets in Baltimore to putting stuff on the streets in New York.”

“I want to tell the story of common people and by putting the work on the street, everyone gets to see it, it’s not just those people who go into galleries,” Mr. Stain said, before being interrupted by a question from “one of the kids in the neighborhood.”

Mr. Stain’s commitment to depicting the “struggles of the unrecognized and underrepresented individuals of society” has garnered him classification as an American Social-Realist.

Started in the 30s and 40s during the time of the depression and Roosevelt’s New Deal, social realism is an international art movement comprised of artists of various mediums united in their desire to draw attention to the conditions and everyday struggles of the common people, painting narratives of the lives of the working class and the poor. Naturally, it takes on political and social criticisms of the social structures and powers that be that keep those conditions in place.

Those included in “Beat of the Street” vary widely; The line-up includes sculptors and photographers, street art pioneers and those new on the scene, and paintings of Hollywood Stars by Mr. Poremba next to “Corporate Mugging,” an image of Mickey Mouse brandishing a broken Coca-Cola bottle by T. Wat.

The only common ground is that their art is, first and foremost, for the people. As Ms. Mannix explained, “Their work goes out on the streets, that’s the only thread between them all.”

Often an illegal art form, subversion is inherent to street art. Political commentary is a natural extension of a means of expression that often lands the artist in jail.

“You do the crime, you gotta do the time,” said Mr. Stain. “The first time I was arrested I was 11—and it didn’t really stop me.”

Mr. Stain was arrested again as a teenager and a third time as an adult, each time with different fines and implications. His most recent imprisonment was when he would leave meetings with his probation officer to work on the large-scale—and legal—public mural for which the artist was commissioned.

“It’s pretty funny, it’s pretty ironic,” he said, adding, “It’s kind of ridiculous.”

The opening reception of “For the People: Beat of the Street” is Saturday, August 23, at the Atlantic Terrace Motel, located at 21 Oceanview Terrace in Montauk. From 5 to 6 p.m. a special preview for ticket holders and collectors will offer a first glance at the work, which Ms. Mannix expects to be sold out quickly. The gallery is open to the public from 6 to 10 p.m. and will be on view through September 7 by appointment only. For more information, visit karynmannixcontemporary.com.

Montauk Green Becomes Outdoor Gallery

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Alem by Yoram Gal

 

Alem by Yoram Gal

Now in its 20th year, the Montauk Artists’ Association will host its annual Juried Fine Art Show on the Montauk Green during the weekend of August 15 to 17.

With nearly 80 national and international artists presenting their work, the Montauk Green will be transformed into an outdoor gallery full of original, handmade art. The nationally ranked art show will feature all different types of mediums, including jewelry, ceramics, painting, photography and sculpture. The art show will also give locals a chance to meet the artists behind the works.

This year, the show will feature both new and returning artists from all over the world. Edward Loedding of Vermont will showcase his digital artwork, and Israeli artist Yoram Gal will present his paintings. There will be work by photographers Bill Kinney, John Deng, Bruce Reinfeld, and Evan Reinheimer, who exclusively shoots using kite aerial photography.

The Juried Fine Art Show is free to visitors and all of the works presented will be available for purchase. It will be open on Friday, August 15, from noon to 6 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 6 p.m. The Village Green is on Route 27 in downtown Montauk.

For more information, visit montaukartistsassociation.org.