The visual arts community of Delray Beach, which has faced the brunt of rising rents and vanishing studio space in recent years, will soon have a new champion: a 15,000-square-foot building buttressing Artists Alley.
Situated on Northeast Third Street just west of the train tracks, the palm-lined, pale yellow edifice is known as the Arts Warehouse, and it’s been a long time coming. Delray’s Community Redevelopment Agency purchased the building in 2010, during the economic downturn, as a prong of its 2006 Cultural Plan to brand Delray Beach as an arts haven.
Originally, in conjunction with Creative City Collaborative and other entities, the CRA considered transforming the building into a performing arts venue. But with Arts Garage satisfying the community’s needs for this aspect of culture, the CRA shifted the focus to visual arts.
After years of painting, construction and redesigns—local architecture firm Currie Sowards Aguila designed the improvements—the CRA unveiled the new digs to the media this week. The building’s sleek, geometric entrance ushers visitors into a cavernous ground-floor exhibition space, which will be open to local, national and international artists. High ceilings can accommodate large-scale installations, and movable walls will ensure flexibility.
Upstairs, approximately 18 single- or double-occupancy studios, each equipped with sinks, await tenants. The studio spaces can welcome up to 26 artists, offering 24/7 access, at a monthly cost of $2 per square foot. Other spaces ideal for classes and workshops, ground-floor kitchen and meeting rooms, and a mixed-use, all-purpose space fit for video shoots and casting calls complete the facility.
The CRA expects to soft-open the Warehouse to the public later in 2017 and to host a grand opening in 2018, once it has a full season of exhibitions lined up. In the meantime, artists interested in leasing studio space have until Oct. 20 to apply at delraycra.org/artswarehouse.
When it’s all up and running, Brown hopes to work with the city’s other visual-arts resources, seeing Artists Alley as collaborator more than competitor.
“I want us all to work together to make this a good area,” she says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in meetings with the different arts organizations, trying to come up with ideas. We’re hoping to have a trolley route for First Fridays. I have a lot of ideas for how to get things going. We’re off the Avenue, but there’s a lot to Delray besides the Avenue. We want to do things a little differently and help these artists grow.”
For updates on the Arts Warehouse, keep up with its Facebook page here. The CRA can be reached at 561/276-8640.