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May 29, 2015 12:19 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Surf Lodge Mural Gains All Types of Attention

The owners of the surf lodge had a mural pointed on the side of the building by an artist in residence. KYRIL BROMLEY
Jun 1, 2015 4:14 PM

On the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, the Surf Lodge in Montauk boasted something more than its fresh seafood, celebrity sightings, concerts and nightlife: a huge and colorful mural was newly painted on the structure.

Los Angeles-based artist Jen Stark, whose work has been featured in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, brought attention to the Surf Lodge from the entire town—including the town’s Office of Code Enforcement, which issued the restaurant, bar and hotel a citation on Friday.

Director of East Hampton Town Ordinance Enforcement Betsy Bambrick said a change in the exterior design of a building warranted Architectural Review Board approval, which is spelled out in the East Hampton Town code.

“As a pre-existing, nonconforming business that has been taken to court for previous violations, it would be good business practice to refer to the town code (or seek advice from legal counsel) prior to any changes, alterations, etc.,” Ms. Bambrick said in an email. The bar has received noise complaints in the past.

The mural does, however, give insight into the Surf Lodge owner, Jayma Cardoso, and her passion for creating art partnerships through an artist-in-residence program.

Alan Rish, a spokesperson for the Surf Lodge, explained that artists can live at the hotel for free. “We put them up and they do something great, so it works out great for everybody,” he said.

Artists are not required to make something in exchange for their stay, he explained, but often they do, because it adds an element to the ambiance of the location. The Eric Firestone Gallery in the Village of East Hampton helps with the artist collaborations, Mr. Rish added.

Jen Stark’s mural stood out because of its size—the art that usually stems from the artist-in-residence program is never so big. “It has never been on this scale—this was the first,” Mr. Rish said, explaining that the norm by other artists has been installing sculptures and hosting dinners.

“It’s not advertising. It’s just a beautiful mural that kind of blends in with the building,” he said. “We never thought that we would cause any kind of friction, because we believe in being good neighbors.”

The mural was not planned ahead of Ms. Stark’s stay at the Surf Lodge, but instead was a product of it.

“These things happen organically. We had planned to have Jen stay with us and do something, and then this [mural] kind of grew from her being here and getting all inspired and doing it,” Mr. Rish said, adding that it took Ms. Stark only three days to complete the mural.

At this point, it is not clear if the Surf Lodge will have to remove the mural. Ms. Bambrick said there is a court date set for June 1, where the prosecutor will propose a settlement.

“Hopefully, they don’t make us remove it,” Mr. Rish said.

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They didn't change the exterior design of the building. They painted on it. Can the village dictate your paint color/colors?

The venerable, and sorely missed, Hansom House in Southampton wouldn't have stood a chance in this day and age.
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Jun 1, 15 9:16 PM
Do we really care about the Surf Lodge?
By G (342), Southampton on Jun 1, 15 9:22 PM
it look like um like, a rainbow, dude . .let's go surfing yea . . . it's like from Smithtown I read somewhere . . .oh it was here...
By nazznazz (276), east hampton on Jun 1, 15 9:59 PM
Just clam it represents GBLT rights and they will never be able to remove it.
By Baymen87 (135), Lugoff, SC on Jun 2, 15 8:04 AM
1 member liked this comment
Better yet, an American flag and a couple of bald eagles and FREEDOM in big letters.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Jun 2, 15 9:02 AM
Seriously there are more pressing issues than to worry about a rainbow painted on a building. Are they in an association where they need to have colors approved? Did they ignore height requirements and build onto the structure? It appears not.
By hbaysboomer (15), Hampton Bays on Jun 2, 15 10:50 AM
1 member liked this comment