The Coastal Star

Art: Delray Beach artists shine in Cultural Council spotlight

Ralph Papa's plein-air painting By the Tracks was chosen to represent the exhibit on a postcard. Photos provided

By Lucy Lazarony

    The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County kicks off its 2015-16 season of art exhibits with Made in Delray.
    Spotlighting the works of 17 artists living and working in Delray Beach, Made in Delray takes over the Cultural Council’s main gallery from Sept. 11 through Oct. 31.
    “I wanted to illustrate the diversity (of artists in) Delray Beach and I also wanted to find new talent,” says Nichole M. Hickey, manager of artist services at the Cultural Council.
“I began in the database of artists at the Cultural Council from Delray Beach and then went from there,” Hickey said.
    Artists featured in the exhibit include abstract painter Carolyn Barth, woodturning artist Tim Carter, stained glass artist Robert Schmidt, mixed media artist Steve Blackwood, plein-air painters Ralph Papa and Donna Walsh, and sculptors Abbey Funk and Jeff Whyman.
    She called the sculptures of Whyman “harmonious.”
    “I love his glazes and I like the piling of the materials on top of each other,” Hickey explains. “It seems so haphazard but it has so much structure to it.”
    She describes Funk’s sculptures as “mythical iconography.”
    As for Papa’s plein-air artwork, Hickey enjoys Papa’s use of confetti-shaped colors.
    “I like his treatment of the sky,” Hickey says. “These little wiggles of delight. He gets all the colors of the sky, all the Florida colors.”
    Other artists showcasing their work in Made in Delray are painters Vincent Cacace, Amanda Johnson, James Kerr, Pati Maguire, Susan Romaine, Vickie Siegel, Roxene Sloate, Nancy Spielman and Lorrie Turner.
    Hickey describes Romaine’s art as “photorealistic.”
    “She’s got a Hopper-esque quality to her art,” Hickey says. “They’re all little studies, the treatment of the light and shadow.”
    Hickey says the wetland paintings of Roxene Sloate are  “so gentle and so romantic.”  
    And she enjoys Siegel’s work with photo transfers, using old images of Delray Beach.
    “It’s very inventive,” Hickey says. “I haven’t seen anyone doing this before.”
    Hickey says she will select six to eight pieces from each artist for consideration in the exhibit.
    “It’s a collaborative process,” she says. “I always ask for more art work than I need.”
    Papa’s oil painting By the Tracks is featured on postcards promoting Made in Delray.
    “There are a lot of great artists in Delray and I think it’s going to be a wonderful show,” Papa says.
“Delray has that special magic, between the concentration of restaurants, the people of Delray and the artists of Delray,” the painter said.
    He called the 17 artists featured in the show “just a drop in the bucket of what’s really there.”

Wampum Rising, a sculpture by Abbey Funk.

Made in Delray runs Sept. 11-Oct. 31 at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, 601 Lake Ave. in Lake Worth.
Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.
A member’s preview will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10. For reservations, call 472-3341 or email

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