Mission is to inspire the creation and experience of art.  |  Vision is to become a leading artistic and cultural center.

Housed in a 1939 Art Deco building, the Armory Art Center provides art classes for artists of all ages and abilities. The center is also the premier space for exhibitions, art salons, lectures, and special events. The Armory offers nearly 100 courses held in 12 state-of-the-art studios annually.

In pursuing our mission and vision, Armory Arts Center seeks to manage our programs and organizational culture that embraces equity, diversity and inclusion. We resolve to create a space where all people feel heard and respected. We endeavor to create an environment that is welcoming to our artists, patrons, and staff. We aim to challenge long-held beliefs and assumptions and explore new, uncharted areas in our programming. We recognize room for growth, but we pledge to continue working with our presenting partners, staff, and audiences in our facilities and community until we have created inclusive, empathetic spaces for all.


The Norton Museum closed its art school in 1986. A group of artists, art teachers, and community activists then formed the Armory Art Center with the goal of continuing practical art instruction in Palm Beach County. In seeking a new art school facility, they looked to the neglected Armory building. In 1939, the Works Progress Administration constructed the building. William Manley King designed it in the Art Deco style.

The building was a National Guard Armory from 1939 to 1982. By the late 1980s, after multiple uses, the City scheduled demolition. Art activists and the Palm Beach County Cultural Council convinced the City of West Palm Beach to stop the demolition. The group began plans to transform it into an art center.

The Armory Art Center was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization on November 21, 1986. This occurred after the art group renovated the abandoned Art Deco structure into a vibrant space for art classes and exhibitions. Subsequently, the Center opened its doors to the public in July 1987 due to generous contributions from many supporters. Most notable donors included Robert and Mary Montgomery and the Historic Preservation and Cultural Facilities Grants of the State of Florida. In 1992, the Armory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Over the past three decades, the Armory has taught thousands of emerging artists of all ages and cultures art classes. The Art Center has exhibited art in hundreds of shows and given workshops taught by national and international visiting master artists. Additionally, it provides summer art camps for thousands of youth. Home to artists-in-residents from the United States and abroad, the Armory has allowed artists to hone their craft. The Armory looks to a long future of enhancing artistic life in the Palm Beaches.

In the Spring of 2023, the Armory Art Center launched a restoration project of the Old Armory Building as an initial phase to update all of the center’s facilities in the next five years.