West Palm Beach DDA Bringing Community Ideas To Life In Downtown
January 17th, 2024
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (January 17, 2024) – The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is bringing homegrown ideas to life in 2024. The DDA has selected four finalists out of 29 submissions in its search to fund unique ideas for placemaking experiences in Downtown West Palm Beach. Each finalist will receive up to $5,000 to support their project. The grants are funded through a partnership between the DDA and the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties.
“This is an opportunity for the DDA to support community voices that bring new ideas and strengthen our connections in the outdoor spaces downtown,” said Sherryl Muriente, public realm director for the DDA. “Our community is filled with creative individuals that curated these ideas to drive engagement and togetherness.”
The four placemaking ideas selected for funding include:
- Flamango Vending – This project calls for the installation of an affordable art vending machine to debut on Leap Day, February 29th during the City of WPB Clematis by Night. The vending machine will lower the barrier of becoming an art collector and bring attention to 16 local Palm Beach County artists and their talents. Artwork will be available for purchase for pricing between $6-$40, making art accessible to all. This project is hosted and curated by Meghan McKenna, a local 1909 entrepreneur.
- Kahani’s Outdoor Theater – This project brings the vibrant stories of historically marginalized communities to life through a compelling reader’s theater and the joy of inclusive critical literacy. It involves collaboration with local community members, from toddlers to seniors, to curate a powerful experience that reflects the richness of identities. Kahani’s Outdoor Theater format allows for a dynamic presentation, incorporating elements of storytelling, drama, and community engagement. Three outdoor readings and interactive theater plays will be hosted by Pranati “Pranoo” Kumar, owner of Rohi’s Readery, as an open workshop for everyone to enjoy at CityZen Garden on March 30, May 3, and July 20, 2024.
- The Fantastical Walk – This project brings the community together to create a green parade of personal-sized paper mâché fantastical creatures inspired by Hispanic folklore tradition of sculpting colorful hybrid flora and fauna characters, which will be worn, pulled, or carried by individuals or groups of friends and families in a walk-through downtown. This interactive project aims to celebrate the diverse creative spirit of the community, while highlighting the importance of sustainability. It will include three workshops during the summertime with artist Mayling Pao to create floats by repurposing materials like found objects and recyclables, while engaging people together creatively. The Fantastical Walk will be held in October 2024.
- The 2025 Lantern Festival – Focused on the Lunar New Year (Year of the Snake), this hands-on lantern making project, facilitated by local Palm Beach State College student Lanzhi Wang, will be a conduit for cultural education and creative expression, highlighting the significance of Asian heritage. The project includes a series of monthly workshops from October 2024 to January 2025 where participants will indulge in traditional paper cutting artwork, lantern making, and poetry to be exhibited in the 300 block of the Clematis St. alleyway during the festival while celebrating with traditional music, dance, and food from the Asian culture.
The goal of placemaking is to activate public spaces and engage everyone in contributing to the community’s health, happiness and wellbeing. Placemaking projects have already made a significant impact in Downtown West Palm Beach with efforts such as the Fern Street Chess Park, Trojan Rocking Horses, Que Bacano, Motivational Mondays, and more.
For more information about the DDA, visit DowntownWPB.com or call 561-833-8873.
About the Downtown Development Authority
The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities.
For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit DowntownWPB.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873.