You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Can West Palm Beach outdoor art show turn downtown into new Wynwood?

Downtown show expands in second year, and hopes to turn city into international art hub.

Last year, West Palm Beach residents weren’t sure what to expect from the CANVAS Outdoor Museum Show, which sent artists around town, painting murals on buildings and even under the Royal Park Bridge.

Would it be street artists wielding cans of spray paint?

Yes, as well as something much more.

The global group of artists gathered by area art dealer Nicole Henry last year transformed public spaces into beautiful, sometimes witty, even provocative outdoor canvases that stretched the perception of what public art can be.

This year, CANVAS is back, with a larger mission: Starting on Nov. 11, 15 artists will spend weeks creating permanent structures in downtown pocket parks on Flagler Drive, between Second and Fifth streets.

In addition, a Florida-based group will create art on shipping containers in the Northwood neighborhood.

“We’re bringing museum-quality art to public places,” said Henry last week, taking a momentary breather from the logistics of planning an art show, much of whose art hasn’t yet been created.

Artists this year include Astro, from Paris, who plays with depth perspective, and Case Ma’Claim, an East German photorealist. Returnees include Hula, the Hawaiian artist who created the painting of a woman who appears to hold up the Royal Park Bridge; Wrdsmth, the Los Angeles-based writer and artist who “tattoos” walls with typewriters and pithy sayings and London-based Zeus, who is creating a street-sized Monopoly board called Streetopoly that will connect various spots along the downtown waterfront.

“These are artists who have done big installations elsewhere,” said Henry. “They’re not just good technically, but they’re able to make art that connects to people.”

That last ability is the key.

The theme of this year’s CANVAS show is connection. Each piece has to address the idea of connection in a creative and innovative way.

One artist is making a classroom with a chalkboard where people can write their definitions of “connection.”

Several of the pieces, including large interactive letters reading “Be Art” by Laura Kimpton, will remain in West Palm Beach, said Henry, creating a new international reputation for the city.

The Miami native likes to call it a blend of Miami’s Wynwood and Manhattan’s SoHo with a touch of Brooklyn’s offbeat artisanal qualities.

“West Palm Beach will become the next international art hub,” says Henry, who recently moved her downtown gallery while also curating the collections of wealthy art lovers. “It’s both urban and tropical, which is a huge draw.”

It doesn’t hurt that the show’s timing serves as a lead-in to Miami’s Art Basel art fair which begins Dec. 1.

Public art creates a sense of place nothing else can, says Raphael Clemente, executive director of the city’s Downtown Development Authority.

“These things will become landmarks,” said Clemente. “They’ll be iconic pieces for our city that will be photographed over and over again. What attracts people to a place are these cues and markers that say to people ‘this is a special place’.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community

Five top things to do on Saturday
Five top things to do on Saturday

1. ON A BOAT Palm Beach International Boat Show, West Palm Beach Waterfront One of the top five boat shows in the country, the event will feature more than $1.2 billion worth of boats, yachts and accessories from the world’s leading marine manufacturers. The show, now in its 32nd year, will also feature seminars, kids fishing clinics, live music...
Climbing Chihuahua attempts daring escape at Denver shelter
Climbing Chihuahua attempts daring escape at Denver shelter

The dog kennels at the Denver Animal Shelter do not have tops on them, but that wasn’t a problem until Pearl arrived. The shelter posted a photo of the agile Chihuahua trying to make a daring escape from her enclosure. It looks like she almost made it, too. But Pearl didn’t spend much time at the Denver shelter. She was so shy that...
3-year-old Georgia girl snatches skull cap from Pope Francis’ head 
3-year-old Georgia girl snatches skull cap from Pope Francis’ head 

  He went in for a kiss and she went for his hat! A little girl from Douglasville, Georgia, had the encounter of a lifetime with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The girl and her family had been waiting hours in hopes of catching a glimpse of the pope, when he arrived nearby and reached out to kiss the 3-year-old girl named Estella. Francis kissed...
He once lived behind a building. Now he’s getting a college degree.
He once lived behind a building. Now he’s getting a college degree.

Lanorris Lester isn’t sure about this. Even as he sits here, tie perfectly tied, pants perfectly pressed, ready to tell his story, his smile’s a little nervous, his laugh genuine though still a little hesitant. But here, in the comfort of the place he used to live, he feels somewhat comfortable talking about it, that pain that led Lester...
Annual TurtleFest celebrates marine life
Annual TurtleFest celebrates marine life

It’s all about the ocean and its creatures at Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s 14th annual TurtleFest, which offers a day full of family friendly activities. The focus is on promoting conservation through interactions with threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Turtle Yard will be open, providing an up-close view of the sea turtles currently...
More Stories