By Sandra Schulman
Murals and public art are making big waves in Palm Beach County, with paintings stretching up to 10 stories high on buildings in and around town.
Glamorous gallerist Nicole Henry of Nicole Henry Fine Art in West Palm Beach is ready to unveil a big project to bring attention to the enormous possibilities here in town. She has announced an ambitious exhibit that is being billed as the nation’s largest outdoor museum show.
The show, called Canvas, is more of an “art movement,” says event founder Henry, whose space on Fern Street has been wowing art connoisseurs and casual viewers alike with her museum-quality photos, sculptures and paintings.
Taking inspiration from the many murals in the city and at Jeffrey Deitch’s Coney Art Walls that took over the revitalized boardwalk in New York’s Coney Island last summer, Canvas, a two-week multimedia art experience, will run Nov. 8-22 with 20 dramatic, inspiring murals newly painted on selected buildings and infrastructures throughout the downtown district. Add to that a calendar of receptions on yachts, an early launch party Oct. 10, plus a stylish New York City-style fashion show in the “Graffiti Garden” behind Henry’s gallery on Fern Street, and Canvas is expected to draw more than 50,000 visitors over its two-week run.
Murals have been in the news in West Palm lately, as a furor erupted over the rock ‘n’ roll mural that was painted over on Clematis Street, and as the county’s Art in Public Places effort has been changing the rules of the usual game to keep up with the demand for varied, quality public art.
“This is so much more than a 14-day art experience. The idea behind Canvas is to captivate the imagination and ignite both ideas and inspiration by bringing public art to the forefront of our collective consciousness here in West Palm Beach,” Henry said. “This amazing city has not yet fully realized its tremendous potential to become an arts and cultural hub. Our Canvas team is very excited to advance that destiny and see the eye-opening effects of our installations.”
West Palm is filled with industrial spaces, new high rises, bridges and warehouses, all with blank wall canvases. World-renowned artists planning to participate in Canvas include 2Alas; Bik-Ismo; Cheryl Maeder; David Walker; Eduardo Kobra; Faith47; Jean-Luc Moerman; Jeremy Penn; José Bedia; Kai; Katja Loher; Lonac; Michael Dweck; Registered Artist; ROA; Ron English; Sean Yoro (aka Hula); and Zeus. While the names may not all be familiar, the images are sure to resonate with viewers.
Building-sized murals will be seen on the sides of condominium towers, a hotel, a city-owned garage, and the architecturally unique Royal Park Bridge that leads to Palm Beach.
Additionally, unique sculptures and 3-D installations will be showcased in a warehouse with its own edgy, urban vibe on Fern Street behind the gallery, a space that has been previously considered for a gourmet market. In total, the Canvas artwork will transform more than 20 offbeat locations within the downtown district.
A stylish event she is describing as a fusion of fashion and art called “Your Body is a Canvas” will take place Nov. 20 in the Graffiti Garden. The show will be directed by Kerry Bannigan, co-founder and CEO of New York-based event company, Nolcha Events, and will roll out on an elevated, indoor/outdoor fashion runway.
“Canvas is exactly the kind of event that will help our Arts & Entertainment District truly blossom,” West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio said in a prepared statement. “We’re expanding our museums, theaters, galleries, free musical performances, and more because we are a city that wants to showcase its love and support of arts and culture. Canvas is an experience that no one one will miss by virtue of the scale and scope. It’s fresh, exciting and very much anticipated.”
Raphael Clemente, executive director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA), says that Canvas will deliver huge dividends to all aspects of downtown life, and makes good on the DDA’s brand promise to ensure that the downtown district is “Always Original.”
“This event will give our visitors another reason to talk about and return to our shops, restaurants and cultural attractions, while it adds a powerful new dimension to our A&E District. Canvas is going to be a smash hit,” Clemente said.
The Canvas schedule of events includes:
· Canvas Kickoff and Art Auction: Oct. 10, location TBA.
· Artists begin working: Nov. 8
· VIP Grand Opening Event: Vernissage in VIP Lounge: Nov. 18 at Nicole Henry Fine Art
· Canvas Kids’ Day: Nov. 15, 12-4 p.m.
· “Your Body is a Canvas” Fashion Show: Nov. 20 at the Graffiti Garden on Fern St.
· Canvas On Board Yacht Party: Nov. 21, Palm Harbor Marina.
For more information, or to buy tickets to attend the events, visit canvaswpb.org.