Old Mill Art Show: A Resident’s Dissent

Yesterday, “06880” previewed Clark Hanford’s art show. Set for Old Mill Beach this weekend, it drew readers’ praise for its open-air creative funkiness.

But Westport is not Westport without controversy.

A beach-area resident writes:

The so-called “art show” has an impact on the neighborhood, legal and otherwise. It makes the already difficult parking situation horrible for residents, and anyone else wishing to use the beach.

This event is a commercial enterprise. As you can see in the sign, there will be an auction. Old Mill Road, Compo Cove and the beach are zoned residential areas. The parking lot isn’t Jesup Green or Parker Harding Plaza, serving commercial businesses.

A Parks & Rec study indicated there are not enough spaces for residents and fellow Westporters. There will never be enough spaces. Adding in the folks on Hillspoint and in the area who “dump” their cars there, and regular legal usage for enjoying the beach, it is problematic at best.

Is there a need to hold a for- profit event during the summer months? Wouldn’t a time before Memorial Day or after Labor Day be more appropriate (unless of course there is a financial incentive)?

Should someone be compelled to support this art show, park at Compo Beach and walk over. It’s a lovely walk (ask Dan Woog — he does it!).

There is limited parking at Old Mill Beach. An arrow (top right) shows the site of this weekend's art show. (Photo/Google Maps)

There is limited parking at Old Mill Beach. An arrow (top right) shows the site of this weekend’s art show. (Photo/Google Maps)

18 responses to “Old Mill Art Show: A Resident’s Dissent

  1. I agree with Dan Woog that people who would like to visit the Art Show, but not contribute to possible parking congestion at Old Mill, could walk there after parking at one of the two Compo lots. This is a festive event, and while it may be technically commercial, the flavor is very un-commercial. It’s too bad that a nice occasion like this engenders controversy. Will it be necessary to close down kids’ lemonade stands too?

  2. Nancy W Hunter

    Why didn’t the resident sign his/her name to this letter?

    It really is a shame when something as community-oriented as an art show draws complaints.

  3. Parking at the beach makes perfect sense. And it’s a beautiful walk down to the cove.

  4. My wife and I have attended Clark’s show in the past (and I love the new doghouse sign) but I must say the neighbor raises some interesting points. For one thing, that lot is frequently packed during the summer. So, in the future, why couldn’t this show be held at the end of September or the beginning of October? That’s still a beautiful time of year with temperate weather. I would imagine the show would still get a very nice turnout a month later.

  5. James Holmes

    Probably the same neighbor that helped push Allen’s Clamhouse out of business

  6. Bobbie Herman

    And what about those of us who don’t have beach stickers because we live in Fairfield (or somewhere else that’s not Westport)?

  7. Stephanie Bass

    In fairness, Dan, who wrote the letter?

  8. Jill Turner Odice

    While I no longer live in Westport, it seems to me that the event could be scheduled at a later date that would be easier for all concerned. I bet there are plenty of other things going on during summer season to entertain folks. Probably not so much to do during Indian Summer…when having a fun art show would be appreciated and I bet just as many people with money in their pocket to buy art would attend…

  9. It appears to me that this “art show” is akin to any kind of estate or yard sale, so why shouldn’t the owner of the property be responsible for hiring someone to control the traffic flow and enforce parking regulations in the area? This is not a town sponsored event.

  10. Nancy W Hunter

    Okay, while I’ve never been to an Old Mill Art Show, I’m still perplexed why a two day 10 – 5 event has caused such havoc on the streets of Westport!
    Do hundreds of people really show up throughout this one weekend small potatoes event?
    It doesn’t look or sound like the Cannes Film Festival. Or is it?

  11. Michael Calise

    If it was a tag sale starting Friday thru Sunday would it have been OK?

  12. Wonder how many commenters above are from this specific beach area. If I were a homeowner on Old Mill Road and couldn’t find a place to park my car I would be complaining too. I thought the comments about “who wrote the letter” and linking the letterwriter to Allen’s Closing to be out of place…but comments here are that way sometimes.

  13. Nell Mednick

    I can only agree with Tom Leyden and Michael Calise !

  14. This may be a pointed question, but it is still an honest question.

    Is Old Mill where many residents converted garages to home living areas and then expected free parking on town property?

    • Nancy W Hunter

      Then, surely, there must be “Residents Only” parking signs?

    • Loretta Santella Hallock

      I think they forget that it is Town property and anyone can park there if they have a beach sticker.

  15. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Having four parking passes is a luxury. Are there “Residents Only” parking signs on the streets?

  16. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    What happened to the Dissenter’s dissent?