The Art Studio Cafe , the downtown Lake Worth gallery on Second Avenue North, is looking for a new home.
Gallery owner Maria Paz said the 800-square-foot site is closing Dec. 14 after Patti Sheldon, Paz’s landlord, texted her on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to tell Paz she would not renew the lease.
“We’re looking for a new space, hopefully closer and more central,” Paz said. “I’m happy about the opportunity and excited for a new beginning.”
Sheldon said the lease ends Jan. 14. She said Paz defaulted on her rent, but declined to elaborate.
“I like Maria as a person and I like her artwork and I hope she’ll still do some art for me,” Sheldon said. “This is more personal and I can’t tell you why I didn’t renew her lease. Maria knows why.”
Paz, however, said she owes nothing. “They’re not renewing and I’m leaving current,” Paz said.
Timing of the move is bad since Paz is hosting a show “Divas,” which started Friday at Hatch on Lucerne Avenue. The show feature divas and drag queens painted by Paz.
“I’m thrilled about the city with the art and what’s happening,” Paz said. “I think it’s phenomenal. It’s come a long way, Lake Worth. To be part of the arts community is spectacular.”
As for trying to find a new space, Paz said she’s not thinking about that.
“I got the text on Sunday, I was in Sarasota with family and now I have my first solo exhibit, so that’s all I can think of right now, ” Paz said. “Tomorrow is another day.”
The Art Studio Cafe opened March 1, replacing the popular Mother Earth Sanctuary Cafe, which had been at the location for close to 10 years. The studio was a gallery for Paz, who paints portraits and murals, to display her work along up to 10 other artists. The work will range from paintings to pottery. Handmade jewelry was on display and for sale.
Mother Earth Cafe, known for its veggie burgers and soups made from scratch, also closed after owner Patti Lucia wanted to turn the popular site into a full-service restaurant, a prospect Sheldon didn’t like.
“At this time it’s not possible (for a full-service restaurant), but it could be possible in the future. She chose not to stay,” Sheldon said told The Palm Beach Post in November 2016.