For decades local artists have talked about the need for an independent association to provide resources that are often available in other communities. In 2003 three local artists, Mark Gierok, Caren Hackman, Terre Rybovich initiated a campaign to get artists talking about resources needed in Palm Beach County. They started the process by convening “listening sessions” among artists in every part of Palm Beach County. Input was given by over 500 artists during six public “listening sessions”, via internet and by phone. A report was generated from the artists’ input and this document acts as the cornerstone of the Artists of Palm Beach County (APBC) organization.
It was discovered that what artists needed most were events and programming that would bring artists together. A steering committee was formed in January 2005 to create an artists’ organization to act as a support system for local artists and their defined needs.
Much of 2005 was spent creating a unique organizational structure and by-laws. In January, 2006 the steering committee was dissolved when the first Board of Directors was elected. General artists’ meeting began taking place on a regular basis on the second Monday of each month at various locations throughout Palm Beach County; most often in artists’ homes and studios. In August, 2006, APBC was incorporated in Florida as a not-for-profit corporation.
In looking back over the short history of APBC, it is obvious much has already been accomplished! The initial “listening sessions” and other means of communication with local artists brought about a sense of ownership and a solid assessment from which to move forward. This sense continued through the organizational stages and early programming as we tested out what works among the unique artists residing in our very large county.
APBC monthly membership meetings have become the core activity of the organization. Most often we meet at an artists’ home or studio and are exposed to many types of disciplines and media.
In addition to the monthly meetings, we have held many events and have been involved in collaborations with other cultural organizations in support of local artists:
• January of 2006 the Venetian Carnival, a public event was held at Carlin Park in Jupiter. In preparation for that event, mask and costume making workshops were held for several months in advance, which were also open to the public.
• In February, 2006, ArtiGras contacted APBC with the need to create a “local artists only” juried section. Inclusive to APBC, 14 members applied and were accepted for this special section of the art festival.
• In March and April, 2006, the first juried exhibit of our Founding Members was held with the City of Palm Beach Gardens’ GardensArt exhibition program.
• In May, 2006 a bus trip was arranged to visit Chihuly’s installation at Fairchild Gardens in Miami – such an inspiring trip!
• On December 17, 2006 the Morikami Museum provided a workshop exclusively for APBC members to create work with world renowned artist Mari Omori. The creations from the workshop were incorporated into Ms. Omori’s installation.
• In 2007 and 2008, APBC began making more long term plans. We also began working with Palm Beach County Cultural Council, and Palm Beach County Art in Public Places in creating Artavox, a celebration of artists! Artavox was the first collaborative event in the county to celebrate local artists! It is a good example of the positive impact Artists of Palm Beach County has had on the community at large. By collaborating with other cultural organizations and the business community, we were all able to leverage our resources for a great cause. Artavox showed us all that there is so much more to discover right here in our own back yard.
• January – June, 2008 APBC organized workshops on grant writing, portfolio development and marketing, kinetic art and the commissioning process, basics in the video process, self-publishing through BLURB books, and gold leafing. Please let us know if you have any ideas for workshops you would like to attend or present in the future.
• The objectives for the next five years are many and include health insurance for artists and exhibit / performance / alternative space for artists as well as for the enjoyment of residents and tourists. Please go to the WHO WE ARE page for more about the organizational OBJECTIVES.
• We continue to host events designed to help artists grow and share their talent with each other and the community. Please go to the HAPPENING NOW section for current and future events by APBC and by members, to GENERAL MEETINGS for a listing of current and past meetings open to members and the public, and to PAST EVENTS GALLERY for photos of some of the exhibitions, workshops, meetings and special events that have taken place in recent years.