Parents and children enjoy art on display at the Delray Beach Public Library. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star
By Lucy Lazarony
It’s “out with the old and in with the new” at the Delray Beach Public Library, where a space on the first floor — once home to magazines — has become a children’s art gallery.
All the publications and many more are available online, making space for a kids’ art showcase.
There are track lights shining on the art, a small white bench for sitting and viewing the art, and the words “Young @ ART,” created from discarded books, hangs above the center of the gallery.
Library director Karen Ronald says the library encourages creativity in all its patrons, including children, who show their talent with crafts and in music programs.
Once the magazine space became available, Ronald said she thought, “Let’s go a step further and celebrate what children create and have official art installations in a public library downtown.”
A recent exhibition from children at the Palm Beach School for Autism reveals the diversity of the art on display. There is a collage created in the shape of large puzzle pieces that declares “I am unique, happy, kind, beautiful.” A painted piece states “Look, Think, Do.” And there are black and white profiles with swirls of color within.
There are six shows a year and exhibits remain for two months.
Students from the Milagro Center have put on exhibits. Each time the children were thrilled to have their art on display in an art gallery.
“I love working with the Delray Beach Library,” says Jamie Leigh Griffiths, director of marketing communications at the Milagro Center. “They are so creative and helpful. The experience has been great to get exposure for Milagro Center, and uplifting for the children in our program who get to experience seeing their art in a public space. They beam with pride and it boosts their confidence.”
Milagro student Jaeson, 10, had a colored pencil drawing in the gallery.
“Seeing my art displayed makes me feel like a good artist and makes me want to do more art,” Jaeson says. “It makes me feel happy.”
Ronald describes the children’s art gallery as “small and compact.”
And Griffiths says the size enhances the experience for viewers. “It’s really intimate and you get to feel what they’re creating emotionally,” Griffiths says.
In addition to the children’s art gallery, the library is hosting a still-life painting class for children at 4:15 p.m. on Nov. 20.
Upstairs in the library, the art of Patricia Lappin is on display until Dec. 13. In “Then and Now,” Lappin focuses her work on her life in Arkansas and Florida.