Montauk Artists Association Plans a Dozen Shows at Depot Gallery

Collage Maker-13-Mar-2023-12-17-PM-268

As it embarks on its spring 2023 opening, the Montauk Artists Association will mark a major milestone in the organization’s history.

“Twenty-five years ago, our organization was founded by jazz legend Percy Heath,” says Donna Corvi, vice president of the association.

A frequent visitor to the area, Heath, a bassist who jammed with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker and other jazz luminaries, eventually made Montauk his permanent home and “founded the association because he felt Montauk had so many musicians and artists, and we needed to join together,” says Corvi.

As founder and first president of the Montauk Artists Association, Heath befriended a who’s who of VIPs, including the president of the Long Island Rail Road, with whom he negotiated the use of the Montauk train station depot building to serve as the new arts organization’s headquarters.

“That’s how the Depot Gallery came about,” says Corvi.

In addition to the first-floor gallery space, which hosts rotating exhibitions throughout the season, the association’s Depot Gallery has second-floor office and studio space, the site of recent impromptu jazz sessions.

Students Open the Season

This season opens with a first-ever show of East Hampton High School senior class artists, which runs May 18–21, with an opening reception on May 20.

“We’re very excited that we can give them the gallery space to show the student work, because we’re a not-for-profit gallery so we love helping our community however way we can,” Corvi says.

Due to high demand, this year, the gallery will host 12 shows — instead of the usual 10 — including Memorial Day weekend’s The End I Members Exhibit, which runs May 25 to June 5, and The End II Members Exhibit, from September 28 to October 9. The season closes with The Wednesday Group/Plein Art Artists of the East End, running October 12–23.

When not hosting live music, the gallery plays Heath’s music during exhibits, notes Corvi.

“We like to keep his spirit going.”

One of the unique aspects of the gallery is the eclecticism of its art, which runs the gamut from modern to abstract, traditional, photography, glass, ceramics and sculpture.

“We do curate the people that we show, but we’re open to all types of art,” says Corvi, a painter and mixed-media sculptor who will be part of the gallery’s four-artist show running August 31 to September 11. “And I think that’s exciting and fresh, not just for the artists, but for visitors and the community.”

Montauk Inspired/Art al Fresco

Many of the association’s 110 artist members feature Montauk in their work, including Tom Carroll, a photo collage artist who has a unique abstract take on the Montauk Point Lighthouse; Pat Brennan, who makes framed mirrors out of local driftwood; Montauk-based Candace Ceslow, whose art focuses on the surf; and Gary Kuehn, an artist with a penchant for dramatic works of sky and shoreline.

“They all have something that they do that relates to Montauk, in a sense, because they all do spend a little bit of time out here,” says Corvi.

In addition to gallery shows, the association also runs juried Art Shows on the Green near the gazebo in the center of town. This year’s shows, scheduled for June 2–4 and August 18–20, will each feature over 70 exhibitors, including painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramicists and artisans.

“We were very successful with them last year,” Corvi says. “We had more people that wanted to be on the Green, and we had to turn away so many.”

Longer Season Down the Road

Plans are afoot this season for intensive one-day workshops held by exhibiting artists, including a glass artist helming a glass fusion class, and possibly classes for children during summer.

Noting that John Papaleo, a board member and musician who leads the jam sessions at the gallery, is also an artist member of the association, Corvi says she hopes to add more musicians to the roster of

Since the depot building isn’t winterized, Depot Gallery’s season runs from May through Columbus Day weekend.

“As any homeowner knows, it takes a lot of money just to maintain a property,” says Corvi, adding, “That’s our goal this year: To raise enough funds this year to winterize it, so maybe we can stay open a little longer.”

Praising her fellow board of directors, including newest member Jane Bimson, for their efforts in promoting the arts in Montauk, Corvi singled out member Chris Lucore, who serves as gallery consultant.

“Chris is the best,” Corvi says. “He owns the other gallery in town, The Lucore Art gallery, and he curates our shows at our gallery. He’s the best curator I know. He has a real gift for putting the right work at the right place at the right height.”

Depot Art Gallery is open May 18 through October 23, noon–5 p.m. daily, and closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Receptions are held the first Saturday of every show. For a complete list of exhibitions, go to

The Depot Gallery during a busy opening reception
The Depot Gallery during a busy opening receptionCourtesy Montauk Artists Association
Donna Corvi
Donna CorviCourtesy Montauk Artists Association
One of the annual Montauk Shows on the Green
One of the annual Montauk Shows on the GreenCourtesy Montauk Artists Association

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