Palm Beach Cultural Council

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Artist Reception for "Art Outside the Walls: en Plein Air"

Artist Reception for “Art Outside the Walls: en Plein Air”

My weekend of Art & Culture began with the Artist Reception on Thursday April 10th, 2014 for Art Outside the Walls: en Plein Air, the exhibit at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach that showcases the artwork of the group I co-founded, Plein Air Palm Beach (PAPB).  This is an exhibit I have been working on all season. 


It is runs from April 11 –June 7th, 2014 and can be seen during regular hours of the Cultural Council; Tuesday –Saturday 10 AM – 4PM.  It is a joint project with the Cultural Council and Plein Air Palm Beach showcasing the work of local area and visiting artists.



We painted out in the 10 different locations, chosen from the members’ favorite places to paint in Palm Beach County, over the course of ten weeks, between December and February, going to a different location every week.  Sometimes the weather did not cooperate but that did not stop the hard core artists.

During the course of this project, over 80 different artists participated and well over 200 paintings were produced.    Not only was I a participating artist and organizer of the paint-outs, but together with Ralph Papa, co-founder of PAPB and Nichole Hickey, Director of Artistic Services at the Cultural Council, I helped plan the actual exhibit.  So by the time the opening reception rolled around, I felt like a celebrity walking in on the red carpet. The natural high and floating feeling I got from this Artist Reception will keep me going for awhile.

The Reception


The artists I work with in PAPB are tremendous and all have been very supportive and encouraging during this project. The Cultural Council of Palm Beach, as usual has been very professional and is always a pleasure to work with.  I have been an artist member of the Cultural Council for the past two years and highly encourage other artists to consider becoming members as well.  It is so nice to have professional organization working for arts and culture in our area.


The second part of my arts weekend was my participation in the Atlantis Spring Fling Art Show and Sale.  It is a very nice community event that includes an art show.  It was fun to be with a group of artists and have a chance to show my work and even made a sale.   With two other exhibits ongoing besides the above, most of my work is currently out being shown in exhibit.  Not really a bad problem.  Thus, I brought mostly artwork from my cruising travels to the Spring Fling Show.  Sometimes I feel like I’m not painting enough but when I pulled together my work for Spring Fling I realized I had quite a few paintings.  Side benefit of preparing for a show and sale like this is that it really helps to get the artwork inventory organized.  Besides it was fun to be chatting with other artists and Atlantis gave us a nice dinner to boot.


Finally, on Palm Sunday, I attended Seraphic Fire concert of Haydn: Last Seven Words.  A good friend and I have season tickets and originally we were supposed to attend on Thursday in Boca, but that turned out to be the night of Cultural Council artist reception so we decided to reschedule to Sunday in Miami.   The weather and traffic tried to thwart my plans; we encountered heavy rains and, at one point, a sign saying all lanes on I95 closed.  So we had to get off and take the scenic route to Miami Beach.  No problem, but we made it with only a minute to spare.  The anxiety of the weather and traffic melted away as soon as Seraphic Fire began to sing.  I was transported for a brief time to a place of sheer pleasure and beauty.    After the concert, we took the scenic route back part way as the traffic was still snarled on 95.  However, by now the sun was out, and we got to enjoy the ride and each other’s company.


My weekend immersion in art was complete.

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Plein Air Palm Beach

Postcard for Plein Air Palm Beach

Here is what has been keeping me busy both painting and organizing. Palm Beach Plein Air Artists began with Donna Walsh organizing paint-outs for Palm Beach Watercolor Society. At the same time Ralph Papa organized a Plein Air group to paint in and around Delray Beach FL. In the Spring of 2013, Ralph and Donna decided to merge the groups and thus became the co-founders of Plein Air Palm Beach. We decided to use the Plein Air Palm Beach as the group name, after consultation with key members of the meetup site since this most aptly describes the area where we schedule paint-outs.


We have regularly scheduled paint-outs twice a month from October to May. At the end of the second paint-out we meet for a group critique and a picnic lunch. This year we are planning for an exhibit at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach. The Cultural
Council is sponsoring ten paint-outs around the county and will host the exhibit “Art Outside the Walls: En Plein Air” from April 11, 2014 – June 7, 2014.

Plein Air Palm Beach mission is to work with members, local art groups, cultural centers and the public to support and enhance plein air painting, events and exhibits. We welcome support and sponsorship from the cultural community to enhance our mission. We are in the process of becoming a Florida non-profit group.

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county contemporary
I recently applied for and was accepted into the County Contemporary: All Media Juried Art Show.  I am deeply honored to be among the group that was accepted by Juror Mark Richard Leach, Executive Director, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  A representative of the Cultural Council told me they had a good response and had received over 450 entries, of which 44 were being showcased in the exhibit.  Again, I felt honored and excited to be part of the exhibit.  This exhibit opens June 14 and runs until September 7th and is located at Palm Beach Cultural Council located at 601 Lake Avenue, Lake Worth, Florida 33460.  For more information see
A time-honored challenge for artists is to get ones work exposed to art admirers and collectors.

In pursuit of this goal, I entered the County Contemporary Show as it was sponsored by the Palm Beach Cultural Council.  Ever since I became a member earlier this year, I have been impressed with the dedication and professionalism of the Council.  The Cultural Council does impressive amount of promotion for the exhibits and other events that are held there.    It is also just a wonderful space for an Art Exhibit.  I thoroughly enjoyed the most recent Artist as Author exhibit held there and the corresponding lecture series.

When I first got active in the local artist community here in South East Florida, I joined many groups and began to exhibit with them.  I found this a good way to get my feet wet, and I learned a lot about shows and juries.

I soon became a bit disillusioned as it seemed that the same people were always winning.  While that would be acceptable, if the show and hence all the artwork in it was actually getting exposure, the venues were rarely publicized, and foot traffic to see the exhibit was purely by chance.

When I analyzed that it seemed this, in many cases, to be due to big-fish-in-a-small-pond situation.  With member-only shows in local groups with membership numbers of approximately 150-250, and not all of whom would be entering a particular show, the role for newcomers seems to be mainly supplying the prize money in exchange for a miniscule chance of winning.  Even with these shows being juried and thus the prize winners truly deserving of the, it becomes a bit of a catch 22.  Newer members do not think it is worth the bother to enter and yet the group needs to get a certain number of entries to pull off the show.

To try to address this problem that small groups face, different groups have tried various solutions, such as:

    • Limiting the number of times year an artist can win a cash prize.
    • Having the juror select the group of painting that will be the prize winners and then the group leaders decides which artist gets which prize.


    • Coming up with special awards so that insiders who volunteer can be awarded.


All of these solutions pollute the small pond in my opinion.  So at the end of the day I guess I’d rather be a small fish in big pond as long as I like the pond I’m in.

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