WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (July 26, 2019) – The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) hosted its first Assemblage event as part of a creativeseries on Wednesday, July 24. Designed to allow locals to share their hidden talents with the community, the series will showcase a different creative element with each event – the first focusing on photography. Feature presentations included Event Coordinator Jahnoi Smith, Barista Deena Kay Gallo, Police Officer Seth Buxton and IT Master Architect Steve Conatser.

“Assemblage is based on the archaeological idea that when one finds several similar artifacts in an area, they can then decipher the culture of that place,” explained Sherryl Muriente, Manager of Urban Placemaking for the DDA. “We thought, what better way to highlight our downtown community than by unearthing people like you and I who not only work, live and/or visit DowntownWPB but follow their creative passions in their spare time.”

The Assemblage speakers are professionals whose jobs are unrelated to photography. Each had the opportunity to showcase their work and explain how photography allows them to express themselves creatively, while balancing their careers.

“Photography has helped me speak for those who can’t or won’t speak up,” said Gallo, who shoots conceptual photography in her spare time. Conatser took a different approach to his hobby saying, “Photography gives me the creative outlet I need since I am quite analytical. It’s all about gratitude for the world I see around me.”

Assemblage: A Creative Cluster began with a half-hour of networking, catered by Batch Southern Kitchen and Tap. There are seven more Assemblage events planned from October 2019 to April 2020 each with a unique focus. Future topics will include music, dance, theater, film, bicycling, and handmade. The next Assemblage will take place this October, centered around nature. For more information, please visit https://DowntownWPB.com/assemblage .

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.

About Assemblage

Assemblage is a community engagement program that unearths a “culture cluster” of Downtown West Palm Beach residents, workers, and visitors by bringing them together to share their hidden talents through a story telling experience. The program’s purpose is to allow locals to share their creative talents. The name was inspired by the architectural term “Assemblage” which is the designation for a set of objects, artefacts or ecofacts found in close association with each other and therefore considered to be the product of a distinct species or human culture from one period of time.

About Jahnoi Smith, Recreational Specialist at Community Events for the City of West Palm Beach 

Jahnoi Smith photographs portraiture, street photography, and cityscapes. Smith says the nature of photography forces him to leave his house and provides him a fun way to meet different people and observe everyday life. Originally from Jamaica, Smith also lived in Brooklyn, New York before moving to South Florida. He says art and music serve a major influence in his everyday life.

About Deena Kay Gallo, Barista at Subculture Coffee 

Deena Kay Gallo does conceptual photography and focuses to tell women’s stories through her work. Gallo pours her heart into each project, and constantly reminds herself that she is also one of the women she photographs. She lives to empower women around her to be who they are, to tell their story, and to love themselves and the world around them. Gallo is also the mother of two children, a barista, a Pastor and a creative who freelances out of Downtown West Palm Beach.

About Seth Buxton, Police Officer at the City of West Palm Beach Police Department   

Seth Buxton photographs landscapes, nature, cities, architecture, art murals, and anything else he encounters while traveling. His passion is capturing photographs of ordinary things from a different perspective, and he likes the spontaneity of photography and enjoys capturing images as they unfold in front of him. Born in Boston, MA and raised in Connecticut, he moved to Florida when he was 18 years old to attend Palm Beach Atlantic University. After graduating, he stayed in West Palm Beach and started a career in law enforcement.

About Steve Conatser, IT Master Architect for NextEra Energy 

Steve Conatser photographs landscapes and cityscapes. Despite working with corporate financial systems, he enjoys capturing beautiful and meaningful things through the lens of his camera. Conatser better appreciates and feels gratitude for the world and a desire to capture it in order to share his point of view with others.