WEST PALM BEACH — The newest mural in town is also the world’s longest, as artist Steed Taylor’s mile-long “road tattoo” was dedicated at a ceremony May 1 at the block along Rosemary Avenue that borders the police station.
In attendance were some of the people who make public art happen in West Palm Beach, including Mayor Jeri Muoio, Art in Public Places’s Sybille Welter, Gopal Rajegowda, senior vice president at Related Companies, and many more from the Community Redevelopment Association.
“Steed just said to me ‘I heard you like art,’” Muoio sad. “I said, ’Yes, I like art that bridges communities together,’ and this project does just that by stretching Rosemary Avenue from the heart of downtown up to the Northwest area by the Sunset Lounge.”
Before the ceremony started, Taylor was seen finishing painting names of dozens of members of the area into the mural who had contributed to the ecological and conservation history of South Florida. His mural pays homage to them in flowers and plants native to the area. The northwest part of the mural uses notes from Thelonious Monk’s jazz classic “’Round Midnight.”
Also at the dedication ceremony was Ricky Aiken of Inner City Innovators Inc., a Florida nonprofit committed to breaking the perpetual cycle of youth delinquency and gun violence in the inner city.
He read from a powerful statement that said in part “Today we gather under the unified purpose of celebrating ‘Genii Loci,’ a symbol of hope for our city … but before we can embrace the hope for a brighter future we must acknowledge and release the pain of our collective past.
“The people who were displaced by the development of the area we know as CityPlace … how could we expect to desire unity … the injustices of the past is now the foundation of our hope for progress in creating a more equitable future,” Aiken said. “We acknowledge the effort to create an integrated economy as opposed to a gentrified community. Though progress is inevitable, we’re grateful that our leaders have made it inclusive.”
The mural will remain on the street until it wears away, a process that may take several years.
Philanthropist Forkas donates $300,000 to The Symphonia
BOCA RATON — The Symphonia Boca Raton will rename its 2018-19 concert series in honor of Boca philanthropist Marleen Forkas, who has donated $300,000 to the orchestra.
“We are beyond humbled and so grateful that Marleen Forkas recognizes the importance of providing world class classical music to our community,” said Carole Boucard, president of The Symphonia board of directors. “Her gift will help us share world-class orchestral music with new audiences across South Florida.”
Forkas’s gift will also enable the Symphonia, founded 14 years ago, to establish its first endowment fund. “I’m delighted to enable more people to be able to hear our world-class Symphonia,” Forkas said.
Marleen Forkas and her late husband, Harold, endowed the Marleen and Harold Forkas Alumni Center at Florida Atlantic University, among other contributions to the school. Harold Forkas, who died in 2009, owned a string of Midas Muffler franchises on Long Island, N.Y., before retiring to Boca Raton.
Marleen Forkas, an embroidery designer, has been active with a number of local organizations, including the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation, B’nai Torah Congregation, Boca Ballet Theatre, the American Heart Association, Boca Raton Museum of Art and the Marleen Forkas Camps at the Jewish Community Center.
Those camps include the Marleen Forkas Camp Kavod, which provides a year-round camp for children with special needs.
The Marleen Forkas Connoisseur Concert Series will open Dec. 2 with Gerard Schwarz and pianist Marika Boumakai at the Roberts Theatre on the campus of St. Andrew’s School in western Boca Raton. Other concerts are scheduled for Jan. 6, Feb. 3 and March 31.
Kravis to host first-ever awards for high school musical theater
WEST PALM BEACH – The Kravis Center’s first-ever Dream Awards, which honor excellence in high school musical theater, have been scheduled for Sunday, June 3.
The event will feature student performers from 10 local high schools, in shows including Beauty and the Beast, Bye Bye Birdie, The Drowsy Chaperone, Fiddler on the Roof, Ghost, Hairspray, Kiss Me Kate, Legally Blonde, Oliver! The Musical, Sweet Charity and White Christmas.
“We have always wanted to create a high school musical theater awards program here at the Kravis Center, so we’re thrilled to be hosting our first Dream Awards,” said Judith Mitchell, CEO of the Kravis Center. “Our community has become the cultural capital of Florida, and these awards are a testament to the mission of the Kravis Center.”
This new performing arts education initiative for high school students was launched for the 2017-2018 school year and sponsored the Arts Alive program of the PNC Financial Services Corp. Judges reviewed and critiqued productions at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts, The Benjamin School, Boca Raton High School, Boynton Beach Community High School, Cardinal Newman High School, The King’s Academy, Oxbridge Academy, Palm Beach Central High School, Suncoast Community High School and Wellington High School.
At the ceremony June 3, two student actors, one of each gender, will be chosen to travel to New York City to take part in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, known as the Jimmy Awards, and take part in a weeklong musical theater intensive. The culmination of the intensive will be the Jimmy Awards ceremony performance June 25 at the Minskoff Theatre.
“The Dream Awards is the epitome of how the arts can catapult a young artist to the next level,” said Cressman Bronson, PBC’s regional president for South Florida. “This program shines a light on the next generation of the best and brightest performing artists in Palm Beach County and we support it wholeheartedly.”
The Dream Awards ceremony is set for 7 p.m. June 3. Tickets are $15. To buy them, call the Kravis Center box office at 561-832-7469 or visit kravis.org/events/dreamawards.