The story of the Armory Art Center is one of rags to riches. In 1986, the old National Guard Armory on Parker Avenue in West Palm Beach was on the cusp of ruin. The art deco-styled building designed by architect Willian Manley King had been standing for nearly 50 years, and the city of West Palm Beach had decided it’s best days were behind it. The building was scheduled to be demolished.
At just about that same time, the Norton Museum of Art, the preeminent arts and cultural museum of Palm Beach County, had also made a big decision – they would no longer offer instructional arts classes to the public.
That’s when a group of dedicated visionaries huddled together, and saved both visual arts instruction and classes, the old Armory building, and re-birthed the site as a cultural hub for arts in Palm Beach County.
The Armory Art Center Today
The Armory Art Center was formed as a Florida non-profit the same year the Armory building was scheduled for demolition, and twelve months later, the Armory Art Center was born. It was a massive commitment of time and money that gave the Center it’s humble start, including a dedicated team of volunteers, donors, and grants managers.
The Armory Art Center’s mission is to “inspire the creation and experience of art”. They accomplish their mission by offering programs, classes, events, exhibitions, and lectures to students of all ages. Students of the Armory can learn how to create art in any medium, including ceramics, painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, glass, and more.
The building today hosts more than 100 classes in 12 instructional arts studios. More than 40 artists-in-residence come from all over the world to work at the Armory, instructing classes and honing their own skills and talents. The programs are funded by the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, Culture Builds Florida, many important and influential donors, and various other arts-focused grants and in-kind gifts.
The Armory hosts various social events, gathering, and exhibits throughout the year for public and private visitors.
The Armory was listed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1992.
Summer Events at the Armory Arts Center
Summer Art Camp Mini-Exhibition: Friday, July 8th, 2016 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Offers summer art campers a chance to showcase their work from weeks 1 through week 5. FREE and open to the public!
3D Student Summer Show: Friday, July 15th, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Check out the 3D pieces in various mediums students have been working on in drawing, printing, and painting. Exhibitions are from July 16th through August 6th in the East Gallery. FREE and open to the public!
Summer Session Arts Classes: Dates for adult summer classes are from June 20th through August 13th, 2016, meeting on various days throughout the week. Mediums include ceramics, drawing, glass, jewelry, painting, photography and digital media, printmaking, and sculpture. These four-week classes range in price from $100 to $400 for the session.
Youth summer classes are also available, with prices starting at $120 for four weeks. Click here to browse all arts classes.
The Armory Art Center
1700 Parker Ave
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Gallery Hours are M-F 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.