By LINDA HAASE
Special to Neighborhood Post
Updated: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011
Posted: 12:26 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011
BOYNTON BEACH — While other kids his age were batting home runs on Saturdays, Roly Chang Barrero was learning to paint.
"I was never very good at baseball. But I loved to paint," says the Delray Beach resident about his foray into the art world at age 7.
His baseball skills never improved, but he did become a noted artist. And now, the 49-year-old School of the Art Institute of Chicago grad has opened ActivistArtistA, an alternative art space in Boynton Beach. The former nondescript garage-type bay is now exploding with color. It's his working studio, but every other month it's transformed into a gallery 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, a Southwest Senior High School graduate who moved to Miami from New Jersey while a teenager. "There is a need for that in this community."
The grand opening of the studio/gallery is 6 p.m., Nov. 11 and will feature the work of Kim Fay and Robert Catapano along with music and a fun vibe. Future exhibits will also be a two-person show with about 20 works exhibited, which will remain on display for a month.
ActivistArtistA Gallery/Studio is the newest member of the of Boynton Beach Neighborhood Arts District, established in 1986 by Richard Beau Lieu. It's on Industrial Avenue, an apt name for the area dotted with industrial-type businesses. (All studios and galleries in the district will be open during the Nov. 11 event).
Barrero, a former clothes designer who had an art studio in Miami Beach for nearly 20 years, works in mixed media but also sculpts and draws.
"Art is a language," he explains. His imagery is "loaded," he says, but he doesn't get into deep explanations of it. "Like Oscar Wilde said 'You look under the surface at your own risk,'" he says.
He hopes to teach classes in the future at his studio and also wants to help establish art walks in Boynton Beach's QuantumTown Centere, the site of the Swing Space program, which features the work of South Florida artists, including paintings, photographs and mixed media in the center's vacant storefronts.
"I want Boynton Beach to be a major place for artists," he says.
Neighborhood Gallery is at 422 West Industrial Ave.
What are your hobbies?
'I like to go to the beach with my two dogs. I like to garden. I'm trying to mimic the Sandoway House garden at my house and am trying to establish a butterfly garden. And I go on group runs with other motorcyclists. I love the idea of this big convoy of motorcycles, and if we can raise money to help someone else, all the better.'
What is the biggest misconception about art?
'That there is nothing new, nothing fresh. There is still a lot of vibrant, new stuff out there.'
What feeling do you want to evoke with your art?
'I want people to feel happy when they see my work.'