Spanish River Library as Gallery
It’s become a favorite spot due to its stunning lakeside setting, lovely architecture and unusual amenities.
Covering nearly 41,000 square feet, this state-of-the art library has ample space for perks like a:
- Gift shop
- Catering kitchen for events
For artists, though, the main draw is its dedicated art gallery.
Friends of the Library Gallery
The art gallery began as artist Barbara O'Connell’s brainchild. While the building was under construction, she wondered whether it might contain exhibit space.
She approached the Friends of the Boca Raton Library with her idea and they loved it. They even granted her the debut exhibit if she promised to serve as the gallery’s exhibit coordinator.
Fortunately, the library had the perfect space available: an L-shaped open passageway on the second floor leading to both the mezzanine and the rooftop terrace. The gallery also includes entrances to the elevator, stairwell and restrooms, making it a high-traffic area.
Since the gallery opened in April 2009, it has hosted both group and solo shows, all lasting seven weeks.
“This venue has been highly popular with artists and photographers in Palm Beach County, not just Boca Raton,” says O’Connell. “The gallery has always been booked two years in advance.”
Exhibits are limited to 2-D works, as fire codes concerning the exits prohibit sculpture.
Patrons have responded well, according to O’Connell. “People do come to observe and leave complimentary comments in our guest book. The library staff tell me that people in the community appreciate having an art gallery in the building.”
And a reporter for the Sun Sentinel who discovered the gallery subsequently wrote an article about Roxene Sloate’s In My Dreams exhibit.
Though sales have been low, 10% of each sale benefits the Friends. It’s a win-win both for the Friends and for the artists, who normally pay gallery commissions between 30-50%.
With the Friends handling exhibits, there’s no extra burden on library staff. And so for Spanish River Library, it’s a win. The art gallery helps draw people into the library in a space that otherwise might be underutilized.