About the Armory Art Center
The Armory Art Center’s mission is to inspire the creation and experience of art.
Our shared 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. Particularly, the building 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.
Courses include ceramics, digital arts, drawing, jewelry, painting, printmaking, fibers, sculpture, welding, and wood turning.
A Brief History of the Armory
The Norton Museum closed its art school in 1986. Importantly, a group of artists, art teachers, and community activists then formed the Armory Art Center. This dedicated group hoped to ensure the continuation of practical art instruction in Palm Beach County. In seeking a new home for the art school, 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 a period of multiple uses, including high school dances, 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 art 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 art classes to thousands of emerging artists of all ages and cultures. The Art Center has exhibited art in hundreds of shows and given workshops taught by national and international visiting master artists. Additionally, has also provided summer art camp for thousands of youth. Home to artists-in-residents from the United States and abroad, the Armory has provided opportunities for artists to hone their craft. The Armory looks to a long future of enhancing artistic life in the Palm Beaches.
The Future of the Armory Art Center
In the Spring of 2023, the Armory Art Center launched a restoration project of the Old Armory Building as an initial phase to updating all of the center’s facilities in the next five years.