by Dana Krangel
Known for warm weather and bustling night life, Downtown West Palm Beach might not be the first destination you think of when it comes to spreading the arts. But to those that stroll down Clematis Street on a regular basis, it’s obvious that our buzzed about area is getting a boost in the art department. Everything from utility boxes to parking garage interiors are getting frame-worthy face lifts and the group behind the aesthetic perks is the Downtown Development Authority (DDA).
Raphael Clemente, Executive Director of the DDA, is a huge proponent of the arts and one of the people behind Continuum. What is Continuum? Like the name implies, it’s expansive and hard to nail down. We’ll do our best. Continuum is a pop-up gallery and performance space located at 312 Clematis Street that will feature a number of smaller events from January 22-26. It’s all part of a larger event called Art Synergy that is happening in conjunction with ArtPalmBeach. All of these events working together and supporting each other and the community are out to show how culturally rich South Florida is and that West Palm Beach is a big contributor.
But all this art is not without purpose. Says Clemente “[Art] really changes the way people think about a place. One of the things we try to do is encourage people to come to our city, whether it’s to buy a condo or open a business. Art and creativity and unexpected beauty really help shift the way people perceive a place.”
Perception is key when it comes to zoning in on Continuum’s offerings. Kicking things off on January 22nd at 6pm is the Black Tie and Sneakers Charity Affair which Cleemente says “sort of characterizes what it’s all about” with the dichotomy of black tie attire and sneakers.
Thursday, January 23rd at 7pm brings a fashion show to the Continuum space as well as live art…on the street! So much art, they can’t keep it indoors. Friday, January 24 features live poetry and an open mic, followed by Saturday’s live performance from local band Speaking Volumes as well as a performance from the South Florida Symphony. Sunday closes the event with brunch and a lecture starting at 11am.
Remarkably, all of these events will take place in the same space in the span of just five days and better yet, they are all FREE. Clemente guarantees “It’s going to be a lot of fun and there is some incredible art in there but it is in a very accessible presentation.”
With sculpture, carving, paint, music, poetry and even dance all being a part of Continuum, it’s clear that West Palm Beach isn’t just a location for art, it’s a supporter. This event is in the heart of downtown, meaning you can enjoy the rest of Clematis before or after getting a double dose of culture. But Clemente knows that he has something special on his hands when it comes to Continuum. “I live for this stuff” he says, “For really trying to change a place by doing something different.” Different it is, served up in every which way right in your own backyard.
Continuum is Wednesday, January 22nd-Sunday January 26th located at 312 Clematis Street. Click here for more information and a full list of events.