Friday, July 17, 2009

A Taste of the Suite Life

One evening this week The Whitney, a recently completed condominium and commercial complex located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach on the corner of Quadrille and Evernia Streets, hosted a "Summer Stroll" of their first story businesses.  The opening reception, which took place from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m., invited attendees to move from suite to suite while enjoying food and libation.  The first area offered champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, and every other suite provided either wine and beer tasting by Distinctive Wines, Bicardi Mojitos, or Martinis as well as delicious hors d"oeuvres and desserts by Ann Z Gourmet Catering.  The event showed off the new tenants and achieved that in an elegant fashion. Wandering from suite to suite, a champagne glass in hand, I particularly enjoyed meeting the gracious owner of Metro Home.  Her store sells moderately priced and very attractive modern furniture, home decorations, and accessories.

Art and photography were part of the fare, and most impressive were the works of Ruth Petzold.  The award winning photographer's underwater dolphin photographs sponsored the Wild Dolphin Project Corporate Giving Program.  The project is a scientific research organization based in Jupiter that studies and reports on the natural history of the Atlantic spotted dolphins. Ms. Petzold's photographs were spectacular.  Though the exhibition included only her underwater photography, she also depicts the wildlife of Antartica, the Artic, and Africa.  Her love of nature has taken her to remote areas in seven continents to photograph the creatures of the world.  One can see her glorious work on

The best part of the event for me was visiting Bruce Helander's new studio.  The renowned collage artist is a treasure in West Palm Beach.  For nine years his studio was located upstairs in a building in City Place.  He recently moved to the larger ground floor space in The Whitney, and though he doesn't need the foot traffic, it certainly makes it easier for his art appreciators to see his work.  His spacious studio has windows from floor to ceiling in the front, and a walk up loft at the back provides him with private workspace.  The two-story wall on one side is covered with his collages and prints.

I was delighted by one of his latest pieces, which was inspired by the Bernie Madoff scandal.  In a dart board motif, a smiling Bernie Madoff is behind bars in the center of a bull's eye.  On the bottom at the left is a large "Go To Jail" Monopoly card, and the rest of the work is covered with other interesting and provocative images.  The original collage was sold, but he made prints.  An individual "Jail Bird" print sells for $900, but once twenty-five are sold, the price will go up to $1,800 for the next fifty prints and $2,800 for the last twenty-five.  A "generous" portion of the sales will be donated to Autism Speaks.  To see Bruce's fabulous work go to

Years ago, I took a Master Class with Bruce at the Armory Art Center.  I have been producing collage style paintings ever since.  At the top is my oil on canvas, "Homage to Bruce."