Downtown Delray Beach may be known for its highly rated restaurants and lively nightlife, but at its core, it’s a hub for art. Delray natives remember a time when the most vibrant area of Pineapple Grove was along Artists Alley, a stretch of independent art galleries meant to promote creativity and community. When the Alley shut down, local artists were left without many options – that is, until the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) opened the Arts Warehouse.
Arts Warehouse originated in late 2017 and is an art center featuring 15 individual art studios. But more than that, Arts Warehouse is a place where artists and locals can come together to express themselves, explore the beauty that art can provide, and find that sense of expression that the Delray Beach area so rightly craved. Arts Warehouse includes four areas of programming – Resident Artist Studios, Gallery Exhibitions, Workshops, and Special Events – all of which are meant to attract and welcome everyone in the community. “I’d say we’re an art hub that encourages everyone and anyone to visit – artist, art enthusiast, or a complete novice alike,” said program director Grace Gdaniec.
Whether you are here to stay or here for a weekend, Arts Warehouse is a space where you can explore and learn. Artists have a plethora of opportunities at the Warehouse, including showcases – since they opened, Arts Warehouse has showcased hundreds of locally based artists – short-term rentable studio space, and the Resident Artist Program. This program works with artists to give them a desirable space to work without the burden of high rental cost. “[The CRA] designed the studio program to offer studio artists the subsidized rental cost by acknowledging artists as a small business,” Grace said. “Part of their mission is to support small businesses, and we are doing just that.” Seasonal residents and hobbyists can also use the Warehouse’s Affiliate Artist Program, which allows artists 24-hour access to a communal artist space.
Beyond the benefit to artists, community members also benefit from Arts Warehouse. Passersby can stroll the galleries after lunch at a nearby restaurant, and with rotating galleries, there is always something fresh to peruse. They also offer workshops, giving creatives the opportunity to explore courses such as portrait painting, intro to clay, paper making, watercolor and collage, and street art inspired mixed media. One of the most coveted events is the First Friday Art Walk. On the first Friday of every month the Warehouse is open late for new exhibits, performance art shows, and happy hour. “Art and access to viewing and creating is important for a community. Arts Warehouse aims to be a space open to everyone, with many ways to get involved, from simply walking through to applying for a studio space to teaching or attending an artist talk – there’s always an opportunity to learn something,” Grace said.