A masterpiece of motley modern art hangs above the future home of the JAVA coffee shop, at Boca Raton Innovation Campus (BRIC). It’s called “Celestial Romance,” an installation of some 350 aluminum starburst sculptures from the late Dorothy Gillespie, a giant of mid-20th century abstraction. It is a work that most assuredly sparks joy, functioning like confetti captured in mid-descent, lightly swaying in the air conditioning.
A handful of other Gillespie pieces, on loan from the Boca Raton Museum of Art, frame the space as well, including the sinewy, rippling, three-dimensional “Space Emblems.” “Through the Looking Glass,” a 17-panel abstraction in the Op Art tradition, bewitches the eye on the opposing wall.
As for BRIC’s engagement with visual art, the Gillespie pieces are Grand Central in a vibrant cluster of exhibition space. Turn right after “Through the Looking Glass,” and you’ll find the Lynn University NFT Museum, the only university-run showcase of non-fungible tokens, or unique digital artwork protected on blockchains. It consists of six high-definition projection screens showcasing a vanguard of 21st century digital art, from still paintings to animations, geometric abstractions to mock comic book covers, even TikTok videos—a veritable smorgasbord of high and lowbrow art, each flashing on the screen for about 10 seconds, each of them for sale.
Directly across from the NFT Museum is Zero Empty Spaces, a partner of BRIC’s that rents out studio space to artists for one cent per square foot; 19 resident artists currently work here.
To the right of Zero Empty Spaces is an exhibition of work from members of the Palm Beach Watercolor Society; to its left, on a corridor a few steps away, is a Lynn University Fine Arts Showcase of top work from the university’s students and faculty.
In short, strolling this area of BRIC can feel like wandering Art Basel, or the Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary Fair, with art in all directions. Other hallways throughout the sprawling office building—the largest in Florida, and the former home of IBM—are likewise enlivened by visual art. This is very much intentional, and has been a key component of the building’s evolution since the CP Group acquired it in 2018.
“We really believe that the intersection of art and technology is where innovation thrives,” says Giana Pacinelli, director of communications for CP Group. “We have miles of common-area corridors, and we’re trying to integrate art throughout the campus, to not only encourage creativity amongst our tenants, but also to make us a community destination. People will be able to have a walking tour throughout all of these different exhibits. It provides a platform for local artists to showcase their work, and have it up for sale.”
The initiative, called “Art on BRIC Walls,” is one facet of the building’s multiyear transformation into a complete live-work-play ecosystem that will, in the coming months and years, include Boca Raton’s first food hall and an event space that will seat up to 1,000. (Even in its current iteration, BRIC has hosted some 250 community events.)
For now, it’s a synergistic art space unlike any other I’ve experienced—a de facto art fair within an office building, and a reason for the curious visitor to explore even a fraction of the property’s 123 acres.
“The response has been fantastic,” Pacinelli says. “Everything from a Gillespie piece to a school-age kid, all different forms of art, all shapes and sizes, all experience levels—we want to provide an outlet for everyone.”
BRIC is at 5000 T-Rex Ave., Boca Raton. For information and visiting hours, call 561/997-1111 or visit workatbric.com.