Curator Conversation: “Play with Your Food!”

Cultural Council of Palm Beach County

Nichole Hickey, Manager of Artist Services

When asked to write about “Play with Your Food!”, our current exhibition in the main gallery, I was prompted to explain what inspired me to select this theme. As we know, inspiration can come from most anywhere, but I view food as a communal activity where you can break bread with friends, family and really get to understand one another. During our opening receptions, this is what people do as well—see old friends, get to know new people, all in the name of art. Why not put a fun twist on the food concept and comingle these ideas? Working 12–18 months in advance to prepare a show, I am able to wrangle artists I have not shown before—or in a while—and ask them to create a new work with this food theme. I wanted whimsical, quirky, personal, straightforward, unusual and weird interpretations of what food means to them—and got them all.

After assembling and curating a large exhibition, putting one’s heart and soul and hundreds of screws in the wall, only then can I step back and take a look at what I really have and ask myself, “what have I done?!” The answer to that is a very personal one; you won’t find it here. I prefer to have the viewer, patron, art-lover, (or even the angry visitor who thinks there’s a waste of bread on the floor) to answer that. I’ve heard many responses to this show, good and sometimes bad, and I love them all. Art is all about your own interpretation, whether it be whimsical or wise. It brings out creativity, passion and curiosity. No matter the exhibition’s theme, art is a vital component for any community to thrive and connect.

Speaking of which, the exhibition to follow “Play with Your Food!” is a focus on both our up-and-coming and established art stars in a different format. “X Marks the Spot” will feature the art of graffiti artists and muralists in Palm Beach County, as well as showcasing the same concept through photography, painting and sculpture. This will be a totally different way to view what many think of as just another mural or some graffiti on a train car, even though one artist did confess that it was still his favorite thing to do…yet another answer I will keep to myself. But you know who you are!