A stand-down doesn't look to be on the horizon.
Ken Walles, who is organizing a several salutes to veterans over Memorial Day weekend in Montauk, told the East Hampton Town Board on Thursday night that sharing the Montauk Green with an art show isn't something he's willing to do. "At this point, I don't really see a compromise," he said. "I think the veterans deserve more."
The Montauk Artists' Association fifth annual Juried Art Show is slated for Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the holiday weekend on the same green in the center of the downtown area, but could be displaced if a solution isn't found.
Rosa Hanna Scott, who lives in East Hampton and is president of the artists' association, said she has the utmost respect for veterans. "In fact, my son is a veteran," she said. "If we could work together on the green that would be wonderful."
She said the fine art show is listed as 21st in the nation among such events and brings hundreds of artists from across the country to Montauk.
A suggestion Walles had made that the show move to Lion's Field would not work because it's dusty and another suggested move to Second House Museum's lawn was not visible enough due to a high hedge, according to Hanna Scott. "Could you think it over?," she asked.
Supervisor Bill Wilkinson had said Walles put in an application for a mass gathering permit first and that he had asked the two organizations to compromise. Without one, the board will be left to make a decision at a future meeting. "If I have to recuse myself because I'm a veteran so be it," Wilkinson said on Thursday.
Gurney's Inn owner and general manager, Paul Monte, who serves as the Montauk Chamber of Commerce president, said that "if cooler heads prevail" a compromise would be best for all. "I cannot see why these two organizations cannot co-exist." He suggested the board approve both mass gathering permits and let the two groups work out the minutia.
He also spoke of the chamber's fear that declining the art show's permit would lead to a domino effect of moving such events off the green. He said there is a economic benefit for downtown businesses.
Walles, who owns Oceanside Resort and has been a chamber member for 13 years, said that he wants to see, "Patriotism over profit."
"I don't understand why there has to be a fight here," said David Posnett, a Springs artist that takes part in the show and a veteran, noting that there's a large section of the green that isn't used for the show. He thought those that were there for the art might be interested in observing the parade, flag-raising and other events even though they might not normally come out to see it.
With Montauk's rich history, including Third House, where Col. Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders slept after returning from the Spanish-American War, and Camp Hero, the former airforce base, Monte said, "I would love to see Montauk as a place people go to to celebrate Memorial Day."