In 2011, when artist and gallery owner Rolando Chang Barrero moved north to Palm Beach County from Miami, he looked to start a community of creative people, artists, musicians and others looking for a common bond.
Trying to meet people and tired of doing things alone, Barrero burst upon the city of Boynton Beach with his typical energy and exuberance and founded the Boynton Beach Art District, now celebrating its fifth-year anniversary.
"With the help of sculptor Richard Beau Lieu; Debby Coles-Dobay, public art manager for the city; and artist Renda Writer, my small studio, ActivistArtistA Gallery/Studio at BBAD became a vibrant little exhibition space that blossomed into a dream," Barrero said in an email.
On Oct. 9, the day after his 54th birthday, Barrero plans to have a celebration and thank-you party for everyone who has contributed to the district's success.
"Over the past five years the Boynton Beach Art District has become the vortex of creativity in Palm Beach County and I've had the privilege of watching it happen," he said. "I'm in awe of that the Boynton Beach Art District serves as a blueprint for other city's emerging arts areas and mural projects. What a great compliment."
On tap for the event is live music by Rod Dusinberre and Steven Spencer, food vendors including the Ps561 Food Truck and raw chef Nina Kauder, and works by resident artists including Chris Bivins, Michael Kupillas, Travis Martin, Dianett Doyle, Petey Crack and kinetic artist Tom Brewitz.
A special project in conjunction with the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County's marketing campaign, #ShadesOfCulture will feature many of the area's local artists creating portraits of famous artists such as Basquiat, Augusta Savage and Diego Rivera, among others.
The portraits will be created on Oct. 8 and the following day, artists, including Alejandra Abad, Dana Donaty, Eduardo Mendieta, among others, will add the campaign's signature aqua sunglasses to the faces of the artists.
Marilyn Bauer, director of marketing and government affairs for the Cultural Council ofPalm Beach County, said, "Rolando has been a guiding force for local artists in the area reaching far beyond Boynton Beach."
"His work with artists in BBAD not only provides a place for many to show their work, but special events bring many art and party lovers to the industrial arts district for painting, music and camaraderie."
Over its lifespan, the district has had a variety of cultural events, including Paint It! An Urban Affair, open mic nights, educational tours and workshops for students, fundraisers and its signature multimedia festival, KeroWACKED.
Boynton Beach Mayor Steven B. Grant is a proponent of the district and said he has purchased great art at reasonable prices.
"I learned about BBAD while I was campaigning," he said. "I was amazed about everything. It's an alternative space that embraces the city being young and hip, something not usually associated with the city."
Grant, 33, said he plans to offer more economic support through the Community Redevelopment Agency to the district.
"Rolando is one of the hardest working people in Palm Beach County and brings something new to our area, reflecting the changes in Boynton Beach," he said.
The Golden Anniversary Celebration will take place from 2 to 10 p.m. Oct. 9 at 422 W. Industrial Ave. Call 786-521-1199 or email RolandoBarrero@Mac.com.