From Worth Avenue and Antique Row to arts districts in Downtown Delray Beach and Lake Worth Beach, The Palm Beaches are home to dozens of top-notch galleries and studios offering curated selections for collectors at any level.
If you’re eager to support the work of emerging artists and the creative economy at large, you can do so by collecting works by artists based here in Palm Beach County. Here are four galleries and organizations that’ll inspire you to hang local art on your walls—in addition to spending a fun weekend exploring cultural hot spots in The Palm Beaches.
The Box Gallery, West Palm Beach
Activist, designer, performer, entrepreneur, writer, critic—there are not enough words to adequately describe the award-winning artist Rolando Chang Barrero. He also happens to be a gallerist and owner of The Box Gallery in West Palm Beach, which started as an empty storefront on Belvedere Road.
“We gutted it and turned it into what it is now: an empty, white box that can be used for a number of different art forms,” explains Barrero. “We have performing arts, music, dance, print media, visual arts, kinetic works…I just wanted it to be a very flexible space.”
Barrero saw a dire need in the area to serve alternative artists seeking to show their work and “do things in a nonconventional way, in a non-dainty space in case things needed to get roughed up a little bit. That’s why the walls and floors are concrete.”
The driving force behind The Box Gallery’s programming and exhibitions is “activist art” that addresses current civic engagement issues and topics curated either by Barrero or guest curators. The artists featured within these exhibitions come from around the world, though most are currently living and working here in South Florida.
The main question Barrero asks when interviewing new artists interested in showing their work is, “How much have you invested in yourself before coming to ask me to invest in you?”
The Box Gallery rotates its exhibitions monthly and is a must-visit for any collector seeking to add well-crafted, thought-provoking works to their home. Barrero’s tip for budding collectors is to start practically: “Buy a variety of different smaller works and see what you could live with, what you enjoy being with the most, and then head in that direction.” The Box Gallery, 811 Belvedere Road, WestPalm Beach, theboxgallery.info, 786.521.1199
Mtn Space, Lake Worth Beach
One of the newer additions to the gallery circuit is Mtn Space, which is centrally located in the heart of Downtown Lake Worth Beach. What started as a project for gallerist/owner Melissa Delprete to hone her skills as a painter ultimately evolved into something she wanted to share with the community. “I really wanted to make sure that when I decided to do this, that I stepped up to the plate and made [Mtn Space] a cultural and educational space for those outside of the Miami area to be able to visit,” she says.
Mtn Space looks to exhibit emerging and established artists from the local and global arts communities and build relevant, diverse, and self-aware programming. “I think it’s really important to support local artists because of the reward that you get from it,” says Kenneth Schofield, Mtn Space’s gallery director. “You get to know your community. It’s easier to start conversations. It’s immediate and close and intimate. I think that [collecting local] is something that should be done because it connects you to where you are.”
Delprete agrees. “When you start investing in your own community, you are not only lifting up that one artist, but you’re lifting up the entire community,” she adds. Though the team at Mtn Space deals with collectors of all levels, they know how to speak to the nascent art-lover who walks through their door. Delprete points out that these individuals should “see art, go to museums, go to galleries, go to open studios. That’s kind of the best thing that you can do as a collector is just to be informed.”
Schofield also advises collectors to “actively look as often as possible and engage with what you’re looking at. Constantly overstimulate yourself with as much art as you possibly can.” Mtn Space, 502 Lake Avenue, LakeWorth Beach, mtnspace.com, 561.285.4883
Arts Warehouse, Delray Beach
More than a dozen galleries dot the bright, beautiful streets of Downtown Delray Beach’s Pineapple Grove Arts District. One gallery in particular stands out among the rest for its unique mission and makeup.
Arts Warehouse is a nonprofit organization that works as an arts incubator funded and staffed by Delray Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The organization is home to three galleries and 15 individual studios, which local artists can apply to use at an affordable rate and hone their craft in a communal space among other creatives. They can also take part in professional development opportunities (workshops, events, technical assistance) during their tenure (a maximum of four years).
“The vision of the CRA when Arts Warehouse was developed was to really be a hub for visual artists and also artists as businesses,” explains Arts Warehouse’s manager, Grace Gdaniec. “One mission of the CRA is to support small businesses, which a lot of artists are independently owned businesses trying to make their way.”
Each of the studios are a working and selling space, where artists can host collectors interested in their creative process. Each year, Arts Warehouse mounts an exhibition of their resident artists’ work within their public gallery. For the other 11 months of the year, the Arts Warehouse staff curates shows based on a theme, material, social concern, etc.
Gdaniec explains why it’s important to collect work by local artists: “It’s about acknowledging artists as you would any local business. It’s generating goodness at a local level. And, if you like the work, if [the piece] is in your price range and if you’re wanting to support local, there are so many positives to shopping at Arts Warehouse or other galleries in the area. Purchase because you are getting that personal attachment to the work. I like to think that knowing the artist makes that investment easier.” Arts Warehouse, 313 N.E. 3rd Street, Delray Beach,artswarehouse.org, 561.330.9614
The Village Art Studios, Tequesta
At the northern tip of Palm Beach County sits the laidback village of Tequesta, home to many artists inspired by the area’s seaside environment. One of Tequesta’s hidden gems, The Village Art Studios has spotlighted and sold the original works of local artists for 10 years.
The gallery offers small studios and gallery space at an affordable price to creatives who live in Palm Beach County year-round. The gallery’s owner and founder, Julie Silk Beaumont, prides herself on the organic process of sourcing the artists featured within. “A lot of [artists] have heard about the gallery and they’ll come walking through just to take a look,” she says.
Though The Village Art Studios mainly serves as a space for creative professionals to create and sell their work, it also invites visitors to come by on the second Saturday of each month for live music, sidewalk painting, and more.
Beaumont offers this advice to collectors who are just starting to source at local galleries: “You really need to go after what attracts you. If it doesn’t attract you again and again, it means nothing. It has to speak to you.” The Village Art Studios, 578 N. U.S. Highway One,Tequesta, 561.310.8499