When the Norton Museum closed its art school in 1986, a dedicated group of artists, art teachers, and community activists formed the Armory Art Center to ensure the continuation of practical art instruction in Palm Beach County. In seeking a new home for the art school, they looked to the neglected Armory building constructed in 1939 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in an Art Deco style and designed by William Manley King. The building was a National Guard Armory from 1939 to 1982. By the late 1980s, after a period of multiple community uses, including high school dances, the building was scheduled for demolition when the art activists and the Palm Beach County Cultural Council came together to convince the City of West Palm Beach to spare the building from demolition and allow it to be transformed into an art center.
The Armory Art Center was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization on November 21, 1986, after the art group renovated the abandoned Art Deco structure into a vibrant space for art classes and art exhibitions. The center opened its doors to the public in July 1987 as a result of generous contributions from its many supporters, most notably Robert and Mary Montgomery and the Historic Preservation and Cultural Facilities Grants of the State of Florida. In 1992 the Armory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Over the past three decades, the Armory has taught art classes to thousands of emerging artists of all ages and cultures, exhibited art in hundreds of shows, given workshops taught by national and international visiting master artists, provided summer art camp for thousands of young people, and since the year 2000 has yearly given new artists-in-residence from around the United States and abroad the opportunity to hone their craft while teaching classes. The Armory looks to a long future of enhancing artistic life in the Palm Beaches.
Michael WOWED and AMAZED a crowd of 1000 healthcare professionals and supporters during his performance at the beautiful Omni Hotel for St. Vincent’s Healthcare Foundation.
Ascension St. Vincent’s Foundation is a not-for-profit, philanthropic organization established in 1982 that is committed to enhancing the current and future healthcare needs of Jacksonville and the surrounding area.
Since its inception, the Foundation has provided more than $1 million in annual financial assistance to support the Mission of Ascension St. Vincent’s. Serving as a liaison between Ascension St. Vincent’s and our family of generous donors, the Foundation is rooted in the loving ministry of Jesus as a healer and devoted to putting our commitment to philanthropy into action. The Foundation supports Ascension St. Vincent’s: Community Outreach Ministries, capital building, and equipment needs.
The St. Vincent’s HealthCare Foundation is the entity that financially supports the mission of Jacksonville’s province of Daughters of Charity. The foundation and network, established in 1982, is dedicated to improving the present and future healthcare needs of the Jacksonville area, and has provided more than $1 million in support every year since its creation.
The foundation stages fund-raising events throughout the year, including the Red Rose Ball, begun in 1982 and Jacksonville’s oldest charity ball. The 2008 event was attended by John Travolta and Kelly Preston, who helped collect over $1 million in donations.
John Ash was the celebrity chef at the 10th annual Delicious Destinations event in 2011. The three-day event attracts over a dozen executive chefs from notable restaurants and resorts around the country to prepare their favorite dishes for donors at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club.
St. Vincent’s HealthCare Foundation is also a charity recipient of proceeds from The Players Championship, and conducts a two-day charity golf tournament early in the week known as The Tradition.
Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Fundraiser was held at Harrah’s Casino and Resort in Kansas City amongst an upscale crowd along with celebrities such as golfer John Daly, and legendary country singer Trish Yearwood, and of course, Garth Brooks. After cocktails and dinner, Michel Israel took the stage and performed three paintings, a portrait of John Daily, one of Trish Yearwood, who would perform later that night in Harrah’s theater, and a fantastic portrait of Garth Brooks. Together with a matching donation, Michael’s artworks raised $400,000 that night!
Before his performance, Michael Israel met Garth Brooks backstage. It was incredible! Garth, a seven-time CMA/ACM Entertainer of the Year, really loves kids and the people everywhere, as does Michael, who has a kind heart and passion for life. After the meeting, Michael took his performance to a whole new level. Performing to some of Garth’s biggest hits. The outpouring of love for the kids, the country music star, and for Michael’s painting was extraordinary. Michael performed to Garth Brooks’s portrait to “Friends in Low Places; it sold for $50,000!
The event, the Annual Teammates for Kids, is a signature fundraiser for Teammates for Kids, which raises funds for local children and families in need throughout the Kansas City metro area. Since 1998, Teammates for Kids has provided 4,288 in-need children and families with basic needs, including clothing, meals, car repairs, and rent assistance. Teammates for Kids has grown to become a national non-profit organization that has helped countless families over the years. Teammates for Kids has served more than 5 million people in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, with $216 million raised. Teammates for Kids has impacted more than 1.5 million children directly and helped more than 2 million through community partnerships. View original content with multimedia:http://var/web/site/public_html.prnewswire.
A school bus driver pushed Suzi Noyes over the edge. Her son Connor, who is autistic, was a first-grader in fall 2011 and couldn’t control that he would spit a little when he talked. The bus driver, however, singled him out and made him sit behind her for the rest of the year.
“He shouldn’t have been punished for his disability,” Noyes said. “He would have loved to have been able to stop it. We worked on it, believe me. But he couldn’t.”
The Virginia Beach mom fled to Facebook to find support from others with children on the autism spectrum. She found it. Noyes soon had an official organization, Spectrum Parents Events.
The group, now about 800 strong, relies on their activities for emotional support. However, the specialized events aren’t cheap.
Since he started in 1974, Israel has performed around the world for Fortune 100 companies, presidents, and celebrities. His two-fisted, messy, high-energy performances are appropriately called “art concerts” — he pulls together realistic, large-scale canvases in minutes. He’s probably equally recognized for his fundraising for groups like the Special Olympics, Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.
In 2008, he painted a 36-square-foot portrait of businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffett in less than 10 minutes. It later sold for $100,000 to benefit Girls Incorporated of Omaha.
Saturday’s show kicks off at 7 p.m. with a virtual cocktail hour and then moves into Israel’s painting. Meanwhile, Noyes will be holding a silent auction, and Israel will open up his artwork for bids. A percentage of the proceeds go to Spectrum Parents.
The evening is meant to be interactive. People will be encouraged to share selfies from home and chat online with the auctioneer and other entertainers who are part of the show.
The virtual events allow him to engage more with his audience than his live shows, Israel said in a phone interview from his Florida home.
“I can’t even see people in the front row because all of the light blaring on me, and I certainly can’t talk to them,” he said. “I this case, I know what everybody’s saying. … When I hang out in the green room, I look at the chats and I talk with people and stuff. It’s really pretty neat.”
Israel has always enjoyed using his art to give back to nonprofits, he said. When the pandemic hit, however, his travel schedule got canceled and he knew that nonprofits were aching for money.
He started the virtual art concerts and the “20for21” program in which he will do 20 no-cost virtual charity events in 2021.
He said he hasn’t decided yet what he will do for the Virginia Beach group but will likely do two or three pieces and at least one with a nautical theme. At least two will be 3D paintings and 3D glasses will be mailed to those who buy tickets. Israel said the paintings will look just fine without the glasses.
He said he’s raised more than $800,000 in the past year with the virtual concerts.
“It’ll be kind of anything goes auction, so people get a chance to steal the artwork, basically, on behalf of the charity,” Israel said. “I can write a bigger check with my paintbrush than I can with my pen.”
Noyes was scrolling online late one night when she came across Israel’s work. She read about the charity program and applied.
It was nothing less than a miracle, she said.
Spectrum Parents has become more of a family than a formal organization. The events, from roller-rink nights to hayrides, to hiring a Santa Claus for their annual Christmas party, have become a necessity for the group. Parents can be together and share experiences with people “who know.” The children make friends and don’t have to worry about being bullied.
“It’s not like when you go to the grocery store,” Noyes said. “You’re not snickered at, you’re not glared at, you’re not told, ‘Hey, can you keep your kid under control?’ So, we stick together so we’re not hurt and we’re not crying.”
But renting a roller rink for one group can get expensive. The fundraising helps defray the costs, Noyes said.
Noyes said she knows people are getting tired of virtual events with the pandemic, but hopes people will still tune in, even for just a little, for the cause. And the fun.
She’s wrangled raffle prizes that include an Outer Banks weekend escape and a 20-minute Zoom call with Izzy, a professional surfer who founded Surfers Healing, a surf camp for children with autism.
The evening is open to anyone, even those who can’t afford to pay. Noyes wants everyone to enjoy.
“This will be so cool.”
if You Go
Virtual “Barefoot on the Beach,” Saturday, March 20, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Tickets: Single tickets, $45, which include access, 3D glasses and a raffle ticket. Other packages include “Virtual Table for 10” at $350 to include extra raffle tickets and “VIP Ultra,” which includes a gourmet gift basket. The ticket page also allows people to sign up for a free ticket or to make a donation. People can also buy raffle tickets, which range in price from $20 for 1 to $100 for 10, without participating in the event.
Denise Watson is a features writer. She covers the visual arts and people, places, and things – anything interesting and oddball (like her). She’s a Norfolk native and has written for her hometown paper for 30 years now.
The acclaimed flamboyant rock-star artist that combines his love of painting, music, and martial arts discusses art and his upcoming event.
For more information about Michael’s upcoming event, please watch the video below. You can also call 941-893-7007 or visit www.paytonwright.org
Michael Israel, the acclaimed flamboyant rock-star artist that combines his love of painting, music, and martial arts in his high-energy performance is scheduled to appear at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota on Saturday, October 29, 2011. The performance is to raise funds for The Payton Wright Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting pediatric brain cancer. Sarasota Visual Art is fortunate enough to speak with Michael about this upcoming event and the real value that lies beyond the magic and mystique of Michael Israel.
SVA: Are your paintings relics of your performances and do you think all paintings have this quality?
MI: Well, when I hear the word relic, I think of a shipwreck or something that is left long afterward and I think it is more of a synergy between the performance and the artwork so I don’t think one really exists without the other.
SVA: What is the meaning of contemporary art to you?
MI: Another good question, contemporary just means art that is done now so I don’t think that there is anything that is all that new in art. A lot of contemporary art is an attempt to shock people into thinking about things. I guess some of my stuff is that way, as well with the idea of doing the splashy-spinny kind of thing to get you to pay attention to the artwork. If you look through history like Da Vinci and Michelangelo’s time, there were no digital cameras or cameras at all as a way reproduce life, so these guys were like gods and people paid attention to whatever they put to canvas because it had that realism to it. At a certain point that became commonplace for someone to paint something somewhat realistic. Then comes along a guy that doodles like a child or abstract or what have you, and it gets attention once again for art. I think contemporary art strives for that audience’s attention or whatever that message might be for the artwork.
SVA: How should the general public view your paintings? What should they look for — how do they learn to appreciate your art?
MI: That’s the neat thing about my work, you don’t have to come in with any preconceived notions whatsoever and you don’t need an art critic to tell you anything at all about it. All you have to do is be present and your own body will literally take over with your heart pounding and goosebumps and tears running down your face. It’s a very, very powerful experience, and describing it is kind of like trying to describe religion to someone that is not religious, or love to someone that has never been in love. It’s a very powerful emotion to experience art in this manner and it’s much more than a fun show. Most people won’t get that from looking at the website or watching the videos. You really have to be present to understand it. You feel connected to everybody else that is there, it is almost like electricity that goes through the air.
SVA: Classical artists had a world to express which they did by representing the objects in that world. Do you express your world by representation, or by your performance, or both?
MI: Well, again it’s a synergy and my work is really not about the expression, it is more of actuation in that I try to reach the viewer’s emotions. The viewer will act on it and something will come from it. It’s just an enriched feeling for them, education or actually empowerment to do something, to have some purpose with life or help another. You ask who influenced me and I would say Da Vinci is probably one of the great influences for me. He did a handful of paintings, and certainly a lot of drawings on the technical side. Art to me is just not painting, painting is just a form of art. When most people talk about art they think of sculpture, painting, and drawing. Pretty much anything you do as a human being that is not a reflex is art. Art is a combination of a knowledge-base combined with intellect and emotion…it cannot exist without those combined things.
SVA: Can you tell us how you developed your method of painting, and why you paint as you do?
MI: I’m a pretty emotional guy. When I go to a concert or when something really emotional happens, my stomach kind of flip-flops, and I can’t sing or dance, or play an instrument so it comes out in my paintings. As for the passion in my art, and everybody has held passion at one point or another, whether it’s anger or its love or its sorrow. You have these emotions that fire through your body so hard, and so powerfully; I’m able to translate that into my art. On a technical level, as a kid, I painted at art festivals. I would sell out of whatever I brought so I started painting at the festivals and I would do hundreds every day. I would crank the music real loud, and do some martial arts. Rather than sitting and painting, I would be in somewhat of a stance so I could move faster and harder. I would have multiple colors and brushes sometimes painting four paintings at a time in various ways. That’s how the show was born, as I look over my shoulder, as far back as I could, see there would be people watching and enjoying how the synergy of the art comes to life.
sVA: Were there any artists that you followed or inspired you when you evolved from festivals?
MI: Not really, there was a fellow, Denny Dent who passed away. I met his manager thirty years ago at a festival. He liked my girlfriend. From what I read, he started his stuff in 1984. I’ve been performing my art since 1974 since I was a kid. I have to credit him actually for bringing it to the public. He was older and had a concert manager and really got out there. As far as painting on stage or painting large canvases to music: I don’t really think that’s all that I am or even the focus of my work. It just happens to be the best medium at the moment. I’ve worked in pretty much any medium I can get my hands on. Pencil sketch, watercolor, airbrush, digital to building a computer to machine carve metal. That thing was the size of a small garage.
SVA: There is a physical demand to make these large paintings, how does Martial Arts relate to your work?
MI: I train five to six days a week in the gym to stay in shape to paint. You can almost call it, “UFC with Paint” the way I go after these canvases. It’s pretty strenuous, the karate background allows me to maintain my balance and my focus so that I can put the paint where I want to. It’s like, in Karate they say, you’re not really thinking about the technical motions of what you’re doing, you’re just doing it.
SVA: What inspires you every day, and/or what nourishes your imagination?
MI: World events certainly feed and nourish my imagination. Whether it’s a tsunami, or hurricane, or 9/11, or right now, I’m very much interested in doing Steve Jobs’ portrait. He’s a hero of mine. A lot of the works I do I think of as very motivational icons that you have in your home or office or you look at and it inspires you to a bigger and better purpose.
SVA: Michael, you have painted numerous portraits of celebrities and politicians, are there certain works that you keep to yourself?
MI: I have a few different paintings that are part of my collection and it’s unlikely I will sell them. If a 5-minute painting goes for $50,000 you can only imagine what I would want for something I’ve spent weeks or months on. Aside from that, I’ve done a lot of things for homecoming wounded soldiers, and I’ve done paintings that I’ve asked them to put their signatures on for me. In my home, I have paintings that are covered with signatures of the soldiers with comments and things like that.
SVA: Can you speak about the upcoming Payton Wright Foundation event in Sarasota?
MI: That is actually a very significant work in itself in many ways. There is a piece that I’m doing that is really wonderful that will be very special and magical, that will help to heal and to help empower the entire mission of the charity. It is a different focus than my normal works. I’m looking forward to trying to stretch the boundaries. It’s not the technique rather than the way the work plays or interacts with everyone else.
SVA: What is the most amazing thing that’s happened to you on stage?
MI: You would need a week to go through all of them. I don’t know if it’s cosmic or what, but it’s so many things like, getting a phone call asking me to paint at the Olympics, to doing Presidential events, to doing something with the Special Olympics. The pieces I’ll be doing at this upcoming event, I truly, truly expect that everyone that goes to this event will never look at art or life the same. It’ll be a life-changing moment, it’ll be amazing. Whatever you write now after you’ve experienced the event, I guarantee you it’ll be different, it’ll be more heartfelt.
SVA: What advice would you give aspiring artists?
MI: Advice I would give to aspiring artists is the same advice I give when a parent tells me their child has desire and talent. The advice is that while craftsmanship can be learned, creativity comes from within. Notwithstanding both talent and craftsmanship, to be successful one must study and develop knowledge, talent, and skill in business, finance, and marketing as these are essential to every career. Some are fortunate to have others handle this for them but a good working knowledge will help an aspiring artist to navigate the finical challenges of life and career.
For more information about Michael’s upcoming event, please watch the video below. You can also call 941-893-7007 or visit www.paytonwright.org