May 23, 2023 (WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) – The Armory Art Center has begun restoring the historic Old Armory building. Over the next few months, portions of the Art Deco building will be closed to the public as repairs move throughout the building. The brief interruptions will not impact summer classes.
Before it was put to use by an arts organization, the Old Armory building served as a training center for soldiers and National Guardsmen. The building was designed by William Manley King and built in 1939 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) under Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The building served as an Armory until the 1980s and doubled as a community-focused hall for high school dances and other public events. Over the years, notables such as opera star Luciano Pavarotti and actor Burt Reynolds used the building for art exhibitions and fundraisers.
In the 1980s, the building fell into disrepair before local activists saved it from demolition in 1987. The founding members of the Armory Art Center restored the building for use as an art center. The building was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1992.
“The Armory Art Center has a longstanding history right here in Palm Beach County,” said John Suau, CEO. “By investing in this iconic building with support from the Florida Department of State Division of Historic Resources and the Armory Art Center’s board of directors, we’re investing in the next chapter of our rich legacy.”
The building’s exterior, which is being restored by West Palm Beach-based architect Rick Gonzalez (REG Architects), is the focus of the initial phase of the project.
Phase one of the exterior restoration will include a new roof, windows, and doors. Following the exterior restoration, the Armory Art Center will renovate interior spaces with updates to the administrative offices, the jewelry and metalworking studios, the galleries, and a new Armory Art Center Shop. There will be brief interruptions to access the facilities during the year-long process, but the project will not impact classes.
For more updates on the restoration, visit armoryart.org.
This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, and the State of Florida. (Architectural rendering below)
About the Armory Art Center:
Having served the community for over 30 years, the Armory Art Center’s art school and galleries provide creative opportunities to enhance your life. The mission of the Armory Art Center is to inspire the creation and experience of art and the Armory Art Center’s vision is to be the leading community resource for arts education. Serving over 3,000 students annually, the Armory Art Center offers 160 courses per term in six terms throughout the year to students ranging in age from preschool to retiree. Classes in drawing, painting, photography, jewelry, fiber & textiles, ceramics, and sculpture are held in 12 state-of-the-art studios. Twelve exhibitions are hosted annually in three galleries. The Armory’s exhibitions, lectures, and special events are open to the public.
The Armory is proud to have been the recipient of several awards in recent years, including The Palm Beach Post’s Best of Palm Beach County (2022 Best Art Gallery), Chamber of Commerce of The Palm Beaches (2021 Nonprofit of the Year), The Flamingos: Florida Weekly’s Best Awards (2021 Best Place to Create Art), the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County’s Muse Awards (2020 Legacy Award) and more.
For information, visit www.armoryart.org or call (561) 832-1776. The Armory Art Center is located at 811 Park Place, West Palm Beach, Fla., 33401.