Boynton Beach Art District offers tours the fourth Thursday of each month from 6 PM - 10 PM.
401 West Industrial Avenue, Boynton Beach, Florida
An alternative contemporary art scene has quietly been growing over the years amid rows of industrial warehouses where rusty bulldozers serve as easels for artwork; where abstract metal sculptures complement the industrial strip; and where a shaded sitting area next to a studio gallery offers a homey nook as big trucks zoom by.
Now, Rolando Chang Barrero, a Miami artist who left the saturated market of Miami Beach for more-affordable Boynton Beach, is spearheading efforts to create a more vibrant scene that draws more people. He envisions "the district" evolving into a community where all convene for a cultural exchange of ideas; where paintings, sculptures and photographs are showcased alongside performance artists, dancers and poets.
The City designated the Boynton Beach Neighborhood Arts District in 1989 when the area was far grittier and was a dumping ground for old appliances and other junk. Businesses and artists teamed up to make major improvements to the area.
Since then, artists have come and gone, but new blood re-energizes the area, said Richard Beau Lieu, who petitioned the city for that designation. Artist, gallery owner and art advocate Rick Beau Lieu was a founder for the City’s Art in Public Places Program. "You can't grow a city without art," said Beau Lieu, who owns Neighborhood Gallery, "Every major city is loaded with art." Barrero's enthusiasm is infectious, area artists say. And those who aren't artists still are supportive. The air-conditioning business donates wooden crates from A/C parts for scrap material for artwork, and a local auto body shop helped repair a damaged sculpture.
The former nondescript garage-type bay along Industrial Avenue is now exploding with color. Rolando is bringing new life and energy into the area which is now know as “The District”. He is collaborating with the artists who are established in The District and every other month it's transformed into an Art Walk to provide artists and the community with a new way to view and enjoy the world of emerging artists.
"It's a fun way for people to see the art and meet the artist. We will have music and other things to saturate people with art," says Barrero, "There is a need for that in this community.” “I want Boynton Beach to be a major place for artists," he says.