On a recent Sunday afternoon, the up-and-coming Arts District off Industrial Avenue in Boynton Beach had its second annual Outdoor Art Garage Sale and BBQ.
Spearheaded by Rolando Chang Barrero, the event featured live music, artists from the tri-county area and of course, barbecue.
"This is the first and only industrial arts district in Palm Beach County. It's edgy and offers a forum for emerging artists to meet and show their work," said Debby Coles-Dobay, the city's public art administrator. "We're dedicated to enriching and creating a more vibrant environment for artists to come in to Boynton Beach."
On display were vibrant acrylics of hibiscus flowers in orange, yellow and purple by massage therapist-turned-artist Grace Iurescia of West Palm Beach.
"I was inspired by my recent trip to Hawaii," said Iurescia, who claims she never painted before.
Iurescia, who is "100 percent Italian from Argentina," spent a month living on Maui and Kauai and said she came back and was moved to paint the flowers she remembers from her trip.
Prices vary depending upon whether the paintings are framed, but Iurescia said they start at $100 and go up to $400, depending on size.
Likewise Anthony Burks, a native Floridian, now of West Palm Beach, and graphic artist by profession, sat at his booth showing his pen and ink, pastels, watercolor and colored pencil drawings.
A graduate of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Burks has a series of drawings he created on endangered species, including the alligator, black bear and Florida panther.
His colored pencil series, The Rooted Ground, expresses the human experience in a pictorial acronym. Created on watercolor paper, the series is accessible and priced to sell.
A green tree and branches represent the physical body and then Burks depicts the trees' deep roots in bright or pastel colors extending into the earth.
"The roots represent knowledge, morals and strength. The roots' greatest attributes are their ability to generate new growth when the tree is cut down," Burks said.
Corinne and Daniel Wach of Boynton Beach were strolling through the venue. Corinne had just purchased two hand-made ceramic mezuzahs as holiday gifts and was looking for more gifts.
"We think this is a great place," she said. "We try to encourage our friends to come out, but many people aren't familiar with this area. We'd like to see more support for the arts in the city and we're happy to come out and support them."
Although the crowd was small on this particular day, that didn't dampen the artists' enthusiasm for their crafts or sharing them with the passers-by.
Rebecca Loveless, owner of Tradition Tattoo of Boca Raton, was selling original tattoo art bookmarks, greeting cards and small vintage jars holding individual seashells.
Her arms and legs covered with tattoos, Loveless (her real name) said she gravitates toward original "sailor-style" tattoos for herself and does original artwork for her clients.
At another booth is Andrea Michelle Ible, originally from New York and now of Lake Worth, who is the founder of Virtue in a Pocket, and the Under 21 art program, which teach children virtues through art.
An advocate of the environmental and recycle/reuse movement, Ible said she hopes one day to start a green art school for children.
Using cardboard inserts from toilet paper rolls, Ible creates beautiful, hand-painted, original gift boxes that come with a heart necklace inside. Her recycled T-shirts are transformed into trendy, over-the-shoulder carryalls.
"We hope to provide children with an opportunity to use their voice through art while learning about virtues," said Ible, an advocate of closing the achievement gap in schools through the arts.
Ible met Barrero when he came to do a project with her children.
Barrero, a native of Miami and a graduate of the Chicago Art Institute, is one of the driving forces behind the Arts District.
In August 2011, he rented an old warehouse and decided it would make for a good art studio and gallery.
He plans much of the guerrilla marketing for the district, including planning monthly art walks, lectures and art garage sales.
He, along with Rick Beau Lieu, sculptor and painter, and a founder of the city's Art in Public Places Program, are two of the anchors of the space, along with Lea Vendetta, Chan Shepherd, Lauren Van Arman, DXTR, Denny Reed, The Neighborhood Art Gallery, Soul Focus House and Glen Nelson.
Barrero initiated the bay gates projects, an outdoor exhibition of murals and painting by local and national artists, decorating what had been an industrial series of automotive garages, with brightly colored graffiti-style artwork.
Now, when you drive down Industrial Avenue, the rusted tractors and cranes that formerly dominated the landscape have been put out to pasture and they just might have to change the name to Avenue of the Arts.
More information on the artists may be found at:
Tradition Tattoo - 2150 N. Dixie Highway, Boca Raton, 561-372-9666
Art by Grace - firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-541-5487
Under 21 Art Program - virtueinapocket.com or 561-568-1868
Anthony Burks – anthonyburkscollection.com or 561-714-6674
Rolando Chang Barrero - activistartista.blogspot.com or 786-521-1199
For More information visit ActivistArtistA.Blogspot.com