Florida Deco Landmark May Be In Jeopardy
STERLING S. BADER
Art Deco News.Com
The recent closing of The Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art (PBICA) after a five-year run may place one of the Palm Beach County Florida's most distinctive Art Deco landmarks in jeopardy.
Palm Beach attorney Robert Montgomery Jr., who has owned the former deco-era theatre since 1999,
| Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, Lake worth,
Florida, has closed, and the fate of the Art Deco-
era building is uncertain.
museum attendance was not high enough to merit its continuation
after the last exhibit ended.
Montgomery told Art Deco News.Com that demolition is
"certainly a possibility," but that for now
he's "hoping it can be preserved." At least
for now, Montgomery said the building is not on the
market for sale.
"I don't know what I'm going to do. I can't give
it away without an endowment," he said, and no
non-profit agencies have expressed interest so far.
Keeping the PBICA open ran over $100,000 a month in
operating expenses and took away from Montgomery's other
Just across the street from
the PBICA property, old structures along Lake Avenue
have given way to luxury condominiums as the character
of the neighborhood evolves and land values escalate.
Montgomery said he invested
some $7.5 million in purchasing, renovating, and operating
the museum, which he bought from the Palm Beach Community
College Foundation in 1999. Back in 1982, the former
art deco theater opened as a showplace of a contemporary
art collection. The Lannan Foundation gave the building
to the college foundation in 1989 and it was about to
go under when Montgomery and his wife, Mary, purchased
Montgomery is no longer willing to pay the $100,000-plus
monthly expenses. The institute's future has been in
doubt since former Director Michael Rush resigned last
spring. Montgomery foresees just a skeleton crew remaining
unless there's a "miracle."
Some local artists and gallery
directors blame location, not quality or curatorial
integrity, for the museum's failure. They argue there
wasn't enough support in Lake Worth.
McCrory Building, a 1936 Art Deco structure, has been restored and given a new lease on life after remaining unused and deteriorating for decades. . .
on death bed as preservationists fight back.
Deco-Style Hospital Under Threat
largest Art Deco building in Florida, a state tuberculosis
hospital, is threatened by plans to raze it to make
way for the Florida Institute for Public Health. But
the Art Deco Society of The Palm Beaches (ADSPB),
is fighting back.
The A.G. Holley State Hospital in Lantana, Florida, while built in the 1950s, has classic Art Deco features which include terrazzo floors, block-shaped glass windows, hard-edged geometrical designs, rounded corners, and eyebrows or shelves built atop windows.
Some preservationists see a treasure gem to be proud of, and that the plann to fell the building will cost Palm Beach county a large piece of its Art Deco history. Others may argue that the sanatorium’s architecture and design is closer to the Streamline Moderne period than Art Deco.
The Florida Department of Health said it remains committed to tearing down the building, contending that the price of keeping the building, reportedly laced with asbestos, would be costly, and the old design doesn’t fit a modern healthcare facility.