Dear Supervisor Wilkinson and Ladies and Gentlemen of the Board,
I am writing in support of keeping the Montauk Artists Association Art Show on the Montauk Green on Memorial Day weekend. This letter of support is in no way meant to imply that the Memorial Day holiday and the local Veterans group should not receive their well deserved recognition. I am of the firm opinion that if cooler heads prevail, we should be able to maximize the opportunities and exposure for both organizations.
I've heard that the current proposal is to move the Art Show to Lion's Field or to the Second House property. This idea sounds practical on the surface but upon closer examination is a terrible idea. Simply put, the success of this show depends on its location in the center of town. Putting it anywhere else will have a serious impact on its ongoing viability. I can speak from experience in that when the Chamber sponsored the show in the past, we moved it to Lion's Field for one year and it was a complete bust. If the show is forced to move off of the green it will most likely not be offered in the future. If this were to occur, it would be a terrible blow to the Montauk Artists Association and to the entire economy of Montauk. These shows have brought hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy over the past several years and much needed funds to the Montauk Artists Association, funds needed to keep this non-profit, fledgling organization afloat.
Regarding the local Veterans group, I am strongly in favor of organizing events over the Memorial Day holiday period that recognize and honor all of our veterans both living and deceased as well as all those servicemen and women currently serving our great country. All of these brave men and women must never be forgotten! With a cooperative effort, this can certainly be accomplished without upsetting the Artists current plan for their show. Parades can occur, displays and flag raisings can take place, speeches and wreath laying ceremonies can all certainly occur on the Memorial section of the green (which is not being utilized by the show) as well as at other various locations in town throughout the weekend. I believe the end result of a cooperative effort such as this could be a fantastic win-win situation for all parties involved.
You may ask why should the Veterans be asked to use various areas for their events and not the Artists. The answer is quite simply that the artists event can only be successful at the central location while the Veterans events will be recognized and well-attended at all of the suggested locations. For example, a parade starting at Second House and running east through town, pausing for a ceremonial wreath laying at the Memorial corner of the green, proceeding around the green and ending at Lions Field where a series of displays could be set up and perhaps a re-enactment could take place is just one scenario that could work while the Montauk Artists were set up on the green. And wouldn't it be appropriate for Third House to be considered as a site to recognize its historical significance as the home to our troops returning from the Spanish American war? It should also be noted that besides the Memorial section of the green being available throughout the weekend, the entire green is available for use by the Veterans all day on Monday, the officially recognized holiday.
These are just a few ideas that can be kicked around if the Town Board decides to allow both groups access to the green in various areas and on certain days. I see no reason why you can't allow the Artists to use the area to the east of the Memorial section for their weekend event and allow the Veterans to use the Memorial section all weekend, the entire green on Monday and Main Street and Lions Field on Saturday and/or Sunday for a parade, etc. Sounds like a workable plan to me and a shining example of local government helping various local benevolent groups to co-exist for the benefit of all.
While this letter is only signed by me, rest assured that it is the sentiment of many citizens of the Montauk community, a community that must remain united in its support of all of our local organizations.
All the best,
General Manager & CEO
Gurney's Inn Resort, Spa & Conference Center
290 Old Montauk Hwy
Montauk, New York 11954