With its lively atmosphere, colorful walls and avenue bustling with locals and tourists, Delray Beach is known as one of Palm Beach County’s creative hubs. But, while the city may have a reputation, the area has been somewhat lacking in art ever since Artists Alley—a hub of 30 artists working on and presenting their work—turned into an abandoned warehouse.
A revitalization project called the Arts Warehouse is meant to bring back Delray’s renown. Located in a warehouse adjacent to the previous home of Artists Alley, Arts Warehouse is a converted 15,000-square-foot space. It houses an exhibition room, mixed-use spaces for classes, programs and workshops, and two floors of artist studios, which will also be home to the incubator program.
“The incubator program is the business, the artists are the entrepreneurs, and [through the incubator program] we are trying to help them go out and become their own businesses in the community,” says Jill Brown, manager of Arts Warehouse.
But hobbyists beware: Although the Arts Warehouse doesn’t have any specific guidelines for the art types it accepts, its sole focus is on career artists.
“It focuses on emerging to mid-level commitment artists in their careers,” Brown says. “There is no age or style attached to it, but they are all people trying to establish themselves in the business and [who] need help with contacts, learning how to present themselves or how to get a marketing program in place.”
The second phase of the Warehouse is to include resources for those who simply love art. The warehouse will host a gallery for art lovers to browse and enjoy, and a space for workshops, facility rentals and events. Joining the incubator and the community space in one area will create a sense of togetherness for artists and art lovers in Delray Beach.
Grace Gdaniec, assistant manager of Arts Warehouse, is excited for Delray to get back to being that artistic hub it was once known as.
“It’s important for people in the community to see what art is about and that artists are working hard and want to make it a living,” she says. “It will be exciting for locals and visitors to have a window into an artist’s life.”
Looking into that window, Delray residents and visitors will see an array of art forms, from paintings and sculptures to digital arts and jewelry. But after the incubator program gets going, Brown and Gdaniec hope to see the art expand beyond the warehouse walls.
“Hopefully we’ll start seeing more artists [open businesses] next to a restaurant or a bank and this is the type of thing that can help do that,” Brown says.
Gdaniec agrees, saying, “[We want to show] people around the community that art is active and you don’t have to go all the way to a museum to see art. It’s a way to educate the community about all the different mediums that are used and show them that you don’t need to go to Miami or West Palm—we have art right here.”