Scene Maker: Melanie Johanson, Delray art curator


You may see Melanie Johanson and her husband cruising around Delray Beach on their bicycles — or maybe waking their Catahoula hound dog near the beach. From New Orleans, they are relative newcomers to Delray and are always scouting out new restaurants, shops and adventures.

They moved here two years ago when her husband, Greer Prather, took a position with an oil company. Johanson, 33, had been teaching high school art before the move.

So when she noticed an open house at Delray Beach Center for the Arts and the Cornell Museum, she decided to check it out. She thought that perhaps she could join the museum’s teaching staff.

She ended up becoming the Cornell Museum assistant. That is, until the end of April when the curator retired and Johanson was hired to fill that position.

Her bosses say her resourcefulness and great personality were evident when she won over artists and gallery reps from across the country while gearing up for the latest exhibit. The result is the show “From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Paper as Art,” on display through Aug. 24.

“Curating this paper show has been a dream come true … I have countless stories and created amazing relationships along the way” she said. “The best part has been walking through the galleries and hearing how much people enjoy the exhibit and seeing reactions to the artwork.”

Favorite place for breakfast:

My husband and I and our 130-pound dog Wilbur have breakfast every weekend at the coffee shop at The Seagate Hotel. I get ice coffee and an egg and cheese wrap.

Seagate Hotel & Spa, 1000 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561-665-4800, www.theseagatehotel.com.

Favorite lunch spot:

Papa’s Tapas in Delray. I love the fish wrap. And the green hot sauce is so amazing.

Papa’s Tapas Delray, 259 N.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach, 561-266-0599, www.papastapasdelray.com.

Favorite place for dinner:

Ziree Sushi … I usually order a spicy tuna roll and soup. The prices are good.

Ziree Thai and Sushi, #R7 Atlantic Grove, 401 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561-276-6549, www.zireethai.com.

Favorite place to take out-of-town visitors:

The beach, of course, but also the Shark Valley bike loop in the Everglades. You’ll be riding along and there will be this huge alligator. And it’s incredible what you can see from the observation tower. You can see birds swimming under water to catch fish.

Shark Valley visitor Center, 36000 S.W. Eighth St. Miami, www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/svdirections.htm

Favorite local art museums:

Cornell Museum, of course. I love it and want everyone to come and see it! I also like Arthouse 429 in West Palm Beach and Gallery Biba on Worth Avenue.

Cornell Museum, Delray Beach Center for the Arts, 51 N.Swinton Ave., Delray Beach, 561-243-7922,

www.delraycenterforthearts.org.

Arthouse 429, 429 25th St., West Palm Beach,561-231-0429, www.arthouse429.com.

Gallery Biba, 224A Worth Ave., Palm Beach, 561-651-1371, www.gallerybiba.com.

Where I go to find inspiration:

Other studios … including the Bruce Helander studio and Frank Hyder’s studio in the Miami Design District.

Helander Studio, 410 Evernia St., Suite 119, West Palm Beach, 561-655-0504, www.brucehelander.com

Frank Hyder’s studio, Wynwood Lofts, 250 NW 23rd St. (at Northwest Second Avenue), Unit 208, Miami, 267-303-9652, www.frankhyder.com.


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