Art District Gaining Recognition
SHAMERRA T. BROWN
If you blink when driving down Boynton Beach Boulevard, you might miss one of the best kept secrets in the city.
The Neighborhood Art Gallery has been around since 1987, but is gaining more recognition these days. Richard Beau Lieu and a group of local artists have successfully turned one of the city's industrial streets, formerly known for car repair shops, into an art gallery.
Just two years ago, the city of Boynton Beach designated the area of West Industrial Avenue, the Boynton Beach Art District. "You turn onto the main drag, West Industrial Avenue and immediately start to see large metal sculptures," Richard Beau Lieu, the gallery's owner, said.
More than 20 artists have their work on display and for sale at the only art gallery in the city. Although not as visible as other local monuments, the gallery is creating a buzz by word of mouth.
"This place builds up Boynton's image. It's a secret little place, but we're seeing growth," artist Stan Sternbach said.
"Once we got it started, it mushroomed, " Marcinkoski said. "We all kind of work together on it."
Now the area is decorated with sculpture and artwork from some 17 artists that BeauLieu represents in his gallery. He's even designed whimsical directional signs, but can't keep them in place for long.
"We put out signs so people could find us, and they disappeared as fast as we could put them out," Beau Lieu said.
He has lighted the area, and encourages people to drive by at night.
While Christensen planted hardy plants like lantana that will grow in any soil, she was amazed that Marcinkoski had already transplanted palmettos on the three-block area. Palmettos are considered almost impossible to transplant.
"Out of the 20 we dug up from Overlook Road, we've only lost a couple of them," Marcinkoski said. "I've also put about I 00 trees out on that area, too."
Christensen wanted to put more trees and shrubs on the site, but the drought curtailed those plans.
"We had wanted to put in some oleander, but with the drought we decided to stick to the planters," she said."We put crinum lilies and lantana in those."
The Boynton Beach Garden Club members will continue their involvement with the art district for the foreseeable future. Next they plan to treat the weeds with herbicide; then they'll continue planting as soon as the rains begin.
"Once we were here on the site, we realized we'll stay with this," Christensen said.
With an ever-expanding garden in the future, Beau Lieu sees limitless possibilities for the industrial park's art district. Several people have mentioned the possibility of situating a restaurant adjacent to the art/sculpture garden, he said. He's also in the process of writing a federal grant application for funds to expand the project.
"Next we'll look at the adjacent land to expand," he said. "As this project moves along, anything could happen.
"It could take over this whole area," he said. "Really, it's a work in progress ... a piece of installation art."
IF YOU GO
Please call for
hours and directions.
©2000 - 2005 Neighborhood Gallery