Already home to the 75-year-old Lake Worth Art League and the wildly popular Lake Worth Street Painting Festival, the robust arts city of Lake Worth is about to add another annual touchstone to its cultural calendar.
Starting in December, the Canvas Outdoor Museum—a public-art exhibition of large-scale sculptures, murals and installations by renowned visiting artists, which launched in West Palm Beach in 2015—will expand to Lake Worth, encompassing spaces throughout the city.
A joint effort by Canvas Arts Charities, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, the City of Lake Worth and the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency, this expansion was unveiled to the community at a press conference Tuesday morning at the Cultural Council’s Lake Worth headquarters.
Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo spoke first, acknowledging the city’s rich artistic legacy. “Many of us have chosen to be a part of Lake Worth because the arts are a natural, organic happening that has grown here for century,” she said. “With no disrespect for other communities, many of them have had to create artistic corridors to take full advantage of that. Our entire city is an arts district. And while some of the most affluent communities in our county may be where fine art is sold, no doubt Lake Worth is where it’s created. It’s part of our DNA.”
Nicole Henry, a West Palm Beach gallerist and founder and curator of Canvas, explained the specifics of this event, which is billed as the nation’s largest outdoor museum show. In its 2016 sophomore year in West Palm Beach, Canvas attracted the crème de la crème of street art and contemporary art, including 14 local artists and 24 international artists, among them Amanda Valdez, Astro, Greg Mike and Wrdsmth. In addition to the site-specific outdoor museum show, Canvas features live art-making, artist interactions, art-inspired fashion and music, and pop-up shops and food trucks; last year, Ja Rule and Vanilla Ice performed.
For this year’s Lake Worth expansion, 10 artists will descend on the city on Nov. 26 and work on their murals, sculptures and installations through Dec. 2, which will mark the official opening of Canvas 2017. The artists, who will then move on to Art Basel Miami Beach, will design new original work centered on this year’s theme of unity.
“It’s our biggest and best lineup we’ve ever had,” said Henry, who could not yet reveal the artist lineup. “It’s the giants of the street art and contemporary art worlds, all coming here to create masterpieces.”
Works will be created and displayed at destinations ranging from the beachfront down to city hall, and up through Dixie Highway and the Design Center—and they’ll remain viewable for a year.
Rena Blades, president and CEO of the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, reinforced Lake Worth’s commitment to the arts while highlighting the economic impact of the Canvas expansion on Palm Beach County’s $250 million annual arts industry.
“The Cultural Council moved here five and a half years ago on the promise and the expectation that Lake Worth is a city where art is at the heart of our economy, our quality of life, and all our values,” she said. “We see that in this very exciting announcement, and we at the Council couldn’t be more proud. The promise inherent in that invitation from the city and CRA to move the Cultural Council here is today advanced leap years forward with this announcement.”
Mayor Triolo wrapped up the presentation by recounting her first reaction to the collaboration between her city and Canvas.
“I was overwhelmed. I was in tears,” she said. “I’m thrilled for the city and for the Cultural Council. We embrace the arts. It’s the fiber of our very being here. The more you spend time here, you’ll see that we’re a little kooky sometimes, but we’re something special. I’m so pleased to expand and grow. We’re getting better each and every day.”
For more on the Canvas Outdoor Museum in Lake Worth, visit canvasmuseum.org.