Depot Art Gallery in Montauk
The summer of 2022 marks the beginning of a new era for the Montauk Artists Association (MAA) Depot Art Gallery in Montauk. With a new management team, an updated gallery, the infusion of music and a new, more welcoming vision for exhibitions.
After decades as treasurer of the MAA and director of the Depot Gallery and the biannual Shows on the Green, Anne Weissman has stepped back and is now a board member emeritus. In her place, MAA President Rosa Hanna Scott and the Board of Trustees have Donna Corvi who manages the gallery and Shows on the Green, along with Vice President John Papaleo, Treasurer Jim Levison and Board members. directors Chris Lucore and Teresa Lawler working alongside him.
This new team quickly began making sweeping changes to the Depot Gallery, beginning with a major renovation that included replacing the old carpet with new flooring, removing the center wall to open up the space of the gallery and the addition of improved lighting and a fresh coat of paint. “It looks like a gallery should,” Corvi says, describing the finished ground floor. “With Anne’s resignation and our arrival, our goal was to bring the gallery up to date. It was long overdue. »
Refurbished Gallery Depot
The gallery floor, which was once used for art classes, is currently used for free jam sessions, and once renovated like the ground floor, will likely be used for art classes and music for all ages and/or weekly jam sessions. The music’s introduction with the Depot Gallery jam sessions is a fitting tribute to founding member and jazz bassist Percy Heath.
“Our goal is to have a more organized way of offering music. We don’t know if it’s about lessons or the opportunity to continue jam sessions one night a week, but we want to integrate music because, after all, founder Percy Heath was a legendary jazz musician,” says Corvi. “So we want to make sure we bring music, which, oddly enough, never made it into the Repository.”
With work on the gallery taking two weeks longer than expected, the season kicked off June 16-27 with a show featuring Phyllis Chillingworth, Mary Daunt, Teresa Lawler and Rita Zimmer. This was then followed by an exhibition showcasing the works of East End outdoor artists from July 14-25 and The enda collective exhibition of MAA members, from July 28 to August 8. While not immediately clear, this lineup is a major departure from the Depot Gallery’s usual schedule, with the big change being as simple as opening the gallery’s exhibitions to non-MAA members.
“While we wanted it to be a space that gave people of all skill levels a place to hang out, what I did was provide two members with shows, one to kick off the season and one to end the season. season, in which all of our members are invited to hang a painting or two or three, depending on the number of responses,” explains Corvi, adding that these members’ exhibits are non-judgmental and retain the same eclectic mix of art as the MAA exhibitions of the past, even more thanks to the new members.
By branching out beyond members-only shows, MAA now caters to high-caliber artists across the South Branch. And the irony is that by becoming a more inclusive gallery space—per the bylaws established in 1998 when nonprofit MAA acquired Long Island Rail Road’s Montauk Station for use as an art space Community – Depot Gallery has brought an increase in membership to the MAA ranks.
“I have the impression that our members have increased and that they are much more dynamic. … And I like the fact that young people are enthusiastic about exhibiting, because that says a lot too. I think they’re happy with the new space, happy with the caliber of the exhibitions going on, and they want to be a part of that,” Corvi says, adding that MAA board member Chris Lucore, the gallery’s young owner Montauk The Lucore Art, was a welcome addition. “He calls us his sister gallery; we call it our gallery brother. … My goal for the Montauk Artists Association is to bring in a few young people like Chris to keep the gallery relevant and current.
What’s New at Depot Gallery
In addition to artists and gallery owners, the MAA also seeks to recruit members who are grantmakers with expertise in funding proposals, artisans who can build a bench or repair a roof if the need arises. feel, and others willing to spend more than membership fees. to make the Depot Gallery a year-round Montauk hub for arts, culture and music.
“I wish we had the funds to winterize the gallery space. …I would like to see the Depot open year round, because while the winters can be calm here, they are not so with the art. Artists work and need places to exhibit. Even though the summer tourist crowds aren’t there in the winter, it’s crowded here, more so than in the past,” Corvi says. “I know so many families who lived in town and then with Covid decided to live here full time. So we have this group, and I just think it’s going to get better.
Currently, the season runs until October, with the final member exhibition, The end II, on view October 6-17. The weeks leading up, however, are filled with shows featuring non-member artists who inspired Corvi and his team.
The current show is John Tuttle’s The calm seaThe Depot Gallery’s first-ever solo exhibition, which opened August 11 and will run through August 22. Corvi describes the Eastport artist’s work as “very mystical landscapes.”
Then, next week will kick off a 50-year retrospective of Lou Spitalnick’s fine photography, August 25-September 5, with an opening reception on Saturday, August 27 at 5 p.m. that, although he has continued to work over the years, this will be his first exhibition in nearly two decades.
Next up will be a group show with Thomas Alfano, Anne Palermo and JoAnn Zambito, September 8-9, followed by a group show of works by Sarah DiOrazio, Karen Kirshner and Ted Shaine, September 22-October 3.
Additionally, the MAA hosts its annual Late Summer Show on the Green August 19-21 at the Montauk Village Green. These shows on the green generate more revenue for the MAA than any other exhibit and help pay for the Depot Gallery’s next season, though surprise maintenance fees and the Percy Heath Scholarship and Arts Program require additional donations.
“We are not in a position to launch a fundraiser and do all of this. We don’t want it to be a burden on others and are asking artists to donate paintings and all that, maybe later,” Corvi says, acknowledging the association’s reliance on donations and memberships. “We need new people, and we need more people.”
This summer, the MAA shook up its gallery structure to let the communities of Montauk and the Hamptons know that their artists and art lovers are welcome to explore and showcase great art at the Depot Gallery.
“However, people have perceived that in the past, that’s no longer true,” Corvi says. “And it’s not that people took it the wrong way, I think people just thought of it as a club, and it’s not. When you read the history of it and all the statutes, it’s meant to be a vibrant and functional gallery in Montauk, and I think we’ve taken a big step this season to achieve that.
To learn more about the Montauk Artists Association and the Depot Gallery in Montauk, visit montaukartistsassociation.org.