At one year, we can’t quite say The Peach Artist Collective (named for its location at 3950 Georgia Ave.) is fully ripe, but the newest art destination in West Palm Beach, which celebrated its one-year anniversary Sept. 24, is well on its way to flourishing.
The former auto body shop deteriorating under the overpass at Southern Boulevard east of Interstate 95 was waiting to be gentrified. When Rodney Mayo of the Subculture Restaurant Group, which includes Subculture Coffee, Kapow in Boca Raton and Dada and Honey in Delray Beach, spotted the property, he hired local artist Craig McInnis to manage the artist program.
Mayo says he has fond memories of visiting his sisters, both artists, in 1970s Soho in New York City and hanging out with them at art collectives.
“There were large warehouse spaces with galleries on the ground floor and loft space upstairs,” he recalls. “I always thought it was a great concept to have a shared gallery space with resident artists and open it up to the community.”
“There were always artists around, pot-luck dinners and discussions about art,” says Mayo, using these recollections as his guiding force. “It’s not New York City, but we’re creating something new in the area,” he says.
In 2021, he hired McInnis, a multimedia and multi-faceted artist known for his murals, and co-founder of Art Synergy and Continuum in West Palm Beach, to manage the artist program at the collective. Luckily, McInnis was finishing a residency in Northwood and jumped at the opportunity.
“I love collaborating with Rodney,” McInnis says. “He’s a visionary. We’re creating a community of creatives in multiple genres, including music, art, photography, comedy and film.”
“The real power is the people involved,” he says, “including visitors rubbing elbows and people finding ways to network and collaborate with each other.”
In a vision of the area as the Wynwood of Palm Beach County, it doesn’t hurt that Troy’s Barbeque, originally of Boynton Beach, is located on-site in a 1870 historic carriage house.
The building has been renovated to include six artist bays, currently home to McInnis (in Bay No. 3), Brady Aaron Grissinger (Bay No. 5), Adam Sheetz and Byron Miller (Bay No. 6), Alex Lorenzo Bay (No. 4), Alex Powers and Bree Heyniger (Bay No. 2), and multi-disciplinary visual artist Gina White in Bay No. 1.
Originally from Ocala, White, 35, met McInnis 15 years ago and says he has been like a big brother and mentor to her.
She joined The Peach at its inception and during the opening events last year sold two of her paintings to TV news journalist Soledad O’Brien, which are now hanging in O’Brien’s New York home.
“The Peach is giving me a space to do my work, the opportunity to meet the public, have a community of fellow artists and the motivation and reason to keep creating,” says the former massage therapist.
Her murals appear at Grow Yoga and The Seed in Boca Raton, and Willy Cafe in Boynton Beach. She painted her first mural for the Achievement Centers for Children and Families in Delray Beach.
“I’m not painting in my living room anymore,” she jokes. “I’m grateful for The Peach for allowing my art career to flourish. It has been an amazing opportunity to take myself seriously as an artist. It’s so much easier when you have an establishment and community of other artists that support you and your work.”
Likewise, welder Grissinger, 38, who owns Tig Time, a welding company, came to art after working as a welder for a number of big-name artists, including lenticular photographer Jeff Robb and Paul Nagy, known for his 3-dimensional wall art. With a background in aerospace and race car fabrication, Grissinger is well-versed in tig welding, CAD files and engineering.
Now creating his own large-scale polygon-shaped sculptures, he utilizes high-end materials such as marine-grade 316L stainless steel used in high-end yachts, since it never pits, rusts or corrodes. In the works are a 10-foot-tall polygon-shaped Marilyn Monroe with a twirling skirt, a Rocky Balboa glove pose at the top of the iconic steps and an Andy Warhol, all mirror-polished.
He joined The Peach two months ago. “It’s so awesome to be a part of The Peach,” he says. “It’s a great team.”
Grissinger says his transition to fine art is happening quickly; he’s already received six high-end commissions both in Palm Beach and on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.
“I love art,” says Grissinger, a divorced father of two. “I do as much art as I can.”
In Bay No. 6 since last March are Adam Sheetz, a local artist and designer, and owner of Nº 9 Creative Agency, and Byron Miller, a photographer and gallerist. The two operate Studio 6: Photography, Design, and Gallery, in addition to offering a full range of creative services and jointly hosting art-centric events at The Peach.
“The Peach is an incredible platform for artists, designers and other creatives to have a place in the community that is art-centric and like nothing I’ve experienced in my profess career as an artist,” says Sheetz. “It’s an opportunity to work with fellow creatives and cultivate a hub for a creative scene in the county.”
“The vibe here is perfect to grow into a cultural destination,” he says. “It’s a perfect mix of grit and charm – a diamond in the rough.”
“We’re putting all the right pieces in place,” Sheetz says. “I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do in Year No. 2.”
So are we.
The Peach is located at 3950 Georgia Ave. in West Palm Beach. For more information, call 561-389-4800.