Floating Art Installation Showcases Florida’s Rich Steamboat History

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (January 16, 2020) – – A unique public art installation from award-winning artist Sofia Valiente is open in Downtown West Palm Beach just west of the Palm Beach County Convention Center.  Foreverglades, is a remarkable photography exhibit focused on life in The Glades housed in a replica of a 1920’s steamboat docked in the Stub Canal Turning Basin in Howard Park, immersing visitors in the history of long-ago Florida. The exhibition is free and open to the public until the end of February 2020.  

The exhibition emphasizes the pivotal role played by the fertile Belle Glade region in the development of South Florida. Originally settled in 1925, Belle Glade was a major center of agriculture, providing food for much of the region. Valiente has spent the past five years photographing residents of the region, resulting in compelling portraits of the people, places and location that is too often overlooked in historical perspectives.

“This is a contemporary story informed by history,” said Valiente, who lives in Belle Glade. “The photographs explore the identity of the region and reflect on what that means to people who currently live there.”

The striking, 41-foot freight boat that houses the exhibition is docked at the site of the Turning Basin where ships brought agricultural goods from Belle Glade to West Palm Beach during the 1920’s before roads connected the two communities. The commercial activity that took place in the basin is central to West Palm Beach’s own history and development, prompting West Palm Beach to grow faster than established cities such as Lake Worth.

“I decided to house the exhibition inside an accurate replica of a steamboat so that the context as well as the photographs could transport the imagination back into time and capture that enduring link between Belle Glade and West Palm Beach,” explained Valiente.

Foreverglades is open every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the steamboat site in the Stub Canal Turning Basin, located at the north end of Howard Park, 1302 Parker Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. The exhibition is free, funded in part by the Knight Foundation,  the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs, and the West Palm Beach Arts & Entertainment District. For more information, including project updates, visit downtownwpb.com/foreverglades .

About Sofia Valiente:

Sofia Valiente is an award-winning photographer and storyteller. In 2015, she received the World Press Photo award for Miracle Village (1st prize, portraits, stories). Sofia’s work has been published in Time, The Guardian, El Mundo, Vice, American Photo Magazine, and many other media outlets. For the past five years Sofia has been living in the heart of Belle Glade, Florida developing her project Foreverglades, about the “last frontier” of the United States. To learn more about Sofia’s work, you can visit her website at www.sofiavaliente.com or follow her on Instagram at @valiente_sofia

About Arts & Entertainment District

The West Palm Beach A&E District is a centralized collection of inspiring arts and entertainment venues; art and history museums; galleries; libraries; performing arts companies; and art education institutions. Situated in the heart of South Florida’s most progressive city, the District includes more than 20 distinct and distinguished cultural destinations that form a defining industry cluster. The A&E District enhances the appeal of West Palm Beach as a visitor destination, drawing attention to its status as a vibrant city illuminated by its beauty and range of creative expression. For more information about the West Palm Beach Art & Entertainment District, please visit downtownwpbarts.com or call (561) 833-8873.