Two years along and still choogling, artist and impresario Rolando Chang Barrero's adventurous alternative arts gallery ActivistArtistA is throwing a three-day birthday bash this weekend. The event includes live music, visual arts, food, and performances of the unexpected sort that we've come to expect from him. This includes fire acts, capoeira, and belly dancing.
Located in a threadbare industrial district (like all the best avant-garde arts efforts) just West of the FEC railroad tracks off I-95, the Miami ex-pat's venue is the heart of a compound of storage bays and workspaces that make up the Boynton Beach Arts District. It hosts multimedia extravanganzas week after week -- shows by up-and-coming artists, spoken word events, theater and, always, lotsa music -- making itself a keystone and magnet for local arts.
At this weekend's "Golden" event, Barrero and the resident artists of the compound will be showing their work, with three bays devoted to that of the visitors from Miami's Dwelling Projects collective. The fire show is Friday, capoeira Saturday afternoon, and the belly dancing on Sunday (with kids' events earlier that day).
The music, spread over three days and nights, includes -- among many others -- the "rock, reggae, and funky groovage" of Making Faces, the electro swamp rock of Koffin Varnish, and the "multi-genre funk roots drum n bass" of Beat Thief Inc.
Proud papa Barrero had this to say, in an email, as he looked back:
It really doesn't seem like two years have gone by for me. Coordinating the gallery exhibitions, as well as the Boynton Beach Art District events has kept me so busy that time has flown by fast. While I love where both are, my dreams get bigger and my business plan seems to get longer. What started out as simply a studio to work in has blossomed into an art scene. The highest point was being recognized as the Best Art Walk 2013 by New Times [Flattery will get you everywhere, Rolando] but there is actually a second high point happening now, a group of us have organized Art Synergy, and have positioned ourselves with Art Palm Beach to create three satellite exhibitions in January 2014. ActivistArtistA Gallery is growing up fast.
Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal sting -- covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.
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