The East End has long been a haven for artists and a breeding ground for creative minds.
Now our narrow strip of island has developed unique ways to display artwork, as businesses that aren’t known exclusively as galleries have begun to curate exhibitions. Restaurants and tasting rooms in particular have latched onto the trend, offering artists a more eclectic space to hang their work. Jamesport Manor Inn, Montauk Brewing Company and Wölffer Estate Vineyard invite Hamptonites to enjoy food and drink in the company of great friends and even better conversation starters.
On the North Fork, the Rosalie Dimon Gallery in the Jamesport Manor Inn is the most established of the three, having displayed work by the members of the East End Arts Council for the past six years. The restaurant came up with the idea and contacted East End Arts, a not-for-profit arts organization based in Riverhead, about collaborating. “We look for an artist who has a series that works well [in the space],” says Jane Kirkwood, the gallery director at East End Arts and curator at Rosalie Dimon Gallery, explaining that the room calls for a larger series. Gail Kar, the owner of Jamesport Manor Inn is “very open-minded and somewhat edgy,” says Kirkwood.
The current exhibit, which will be up through February 5, 2014, showcases artists Kryn Olsen and Meredith Rose. “[Rose’s work is] quite fantastic and unusual,” Kirkwood says. Olsen is an abstract acrylic painter who portrays “growth and edibles, [particularly] root vegetables” in her work, explains Kirkwood.
Serving brunch, lunch and dinner year-round, Jamesport Manor Inn informs all of its diners about the upstairs gallery space by handing out announcement cards with the bill. “The reception has been consistent,” Kirkwood says. “It’s starting to get recognized as a gallery.”
At the Montauk Brewing Company, displaying artwork and serving craft beer was a natural combination. The space at 62 South Erie Avenue is referred to as a gallery/taproom because the intention was always to showcase photographers and artists, particularly those with local ties.
“We’ve found that art and beer go well together,” says Vaughan Cutillo, co-founder of the brewery. “We wanted to create a space for conversation,” he continues, noting that not having a television in the taproom was also a deliberate decision.
The current exhibition at Montauk Brewing Company is work by Emma Field. “My style is inspired by the beachy atmosphere of the East End and the colorful pages of Surfer magazine,” says Field, whose works are a collage of cut-out magazine pages. “Many people that come in to the gallery/taproom are struck by the detail and clarity of her work,” Cutillo says. The brewery, which is open on weekends through the winter, will continue to showcase the exhibit into 2014.
Art has always been a priority for the brewery, as they frequently sponsor art openings on the East End, particularly at Neoteric Fine Art in Amagansett.
“[Montauk Brewing Company] is a unique space right in town,” Cutillo says. “It’s a celebration of beer, as we celebrate local artists.”
Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack also invites revelers to appreciate the art of the drink, as the tasting room featured its first artist cooperation over the summer. “It’s bringing more culture to the winery,” says Melissa Principi, the marketing and wine club manager at Wölffer. “It adds another dimension to the tasting room.”
The vineyard’s foray into the art world was primarily the brainchild of Joey Wölffer, who purchased her late father’s vineyard with brother Marc Wölffer this past January. “[Displaying art] is something we’ve always thought about doing, and it’s nice to have the family so in love with culture and art,” says Principi. Finding new ways to celebrate the arts made sense for Wölffer Estate, as it has long promoted music with weekly series. “We have these great big walls in the tasting room,” says Principi, so there was very much a “why not” mentality behind the decision to hang work.
The current exhibition, up through March 3, 2014, features paintings by Sag Harbor artist Jameson Ellis. “Our first exhibit was more of an international vibe [with artists Alistair Frost and Elias Hansen], and now we’re focusing on local artists,” Principi says.