Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts
A Successful City Partnership
The Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts is a local treasure - a historic building that has been renovated to become part of the Lake Worth arts hub. A place educating and inspiring school children, college students, adults, locals and tourists – a place that inflames passion for the arts in all who walk through its doors. This IS the Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts.
As a nonprofit organization, Benzaiten supports the creation of significant new works of art, collaboration between peers across multiple media and instruction from emerging to master artists.
Benzaiten has four main facilities:
- The Glassworks Studio – a full service 4,500 square foot glass blowing and glass-working studio with 2 furnaces and 3 stations for artists to create their work. This studio is also equipped with a Cold-Working Room and a sandblasting area.
- The Gallery and Gift Shop - has over 2,000 square feet of gallery space and features unique items for sale including artists’ works who use the Benzaiten studios to produce their fine glass art. The gallery also features paintings and other 3-dimensional art. Over 25 artists have set up their work.
- The Flame Working Studio – a full service 1,000 square foot flame-working studio for small glass and metal sculptures as well as jewelry making – opening in July 2016.
- The Benzaiten Metal Works Studio – a 5,000 square foot facility that will provide a metal foundry that can pour 50,000 pounds of bronze per year. This facility will support artist who create small and large metal sculptures – opening in late 2016.
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Benzaiten has a viewing area for visitors and demonstrations. Visitors can watch artisans create beautiful fine art sculptures or take classes. Benzaiten has had 12 group tours with over 500 visitors watch glass artists demonstrate their creativity. Many group tour visitors decide to take classes after they attend the tours.
Arts education, support and professional development are key functions of the Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts. The Center has enriched the lives of many artists and impacted visitors who viewed the working artists so they will have a better understanding of the efforts and work that artist expend to create fine art glassworks.
A few of Benzaiten’s accomplishments:
- January 24, 2015: Benzaiten held its Grand Opening and hosted Lake Worth’s 2015 Art Synergy event that included 23 artists and arts organizations from Lake Worth. Over 1,200 attendees enjoyed art exhibitions and a live glass-blowing demonstration by world-renowned glass artist Shelly Muzyowski and Rick Eggert, Benzaiten’s Creative Director.
- Over 1,000 people have attended 350 classes with the Benzaiten glass artists. Of those, over 100 have been children ages 8 – 17.
- To date, 20 professional and emerging artists have rented over 800 hours of Benzaiten’s studio time & equipment.
- Benzaiten has received two Florida State Cultural Facilities Grants to complete the building of the Flame-Working Studio, Metal Foundry and make necessary improvements to the building including a new roof.
- Benzaiten has also received a grant from the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County for their Sandcasting for Kids program. This program will assist Benzaiten in bringing up to 200 school-aged children into Benzaiten to expand their cultural experiences by learning about the history of glass and allowing them work one-on-one with a glass artist to make their own glass creations.
- Benzaiten has hosted 4 Visiting Artists during the 2016 season starting in January with Lake Worth Art Synergy. The 2016 Lake Worth’s Art Synergy, featured 25 local artists and arts organizations along with well-respected and renowned glass artist, Laura Donefer. In February: wildly talented Miami glass artist Rob Stern. Avant Guard glass artist Tim Tate visited Benzaiten in March to thrill the Gala fundraiser attendees. And in April, the fabulous and extremely talented glass artist, Marlene Rose.
Benzaiten has an important relationship with the City of Lake Worth. The Center is located in Lake Worth’s historic train depot and boosts nearly 15,000 square feet. The City of Lake Worth and Lake Worth CRA have been instrumental in the success of Benzaiten. From the idea that Benzaiten could find a home in Lake Worth, to the construction, they have helped the Benzaiten staff every step of the way. Upon approval by the Mayor and the City Commissioners, they made it possible for Benzaiten to move quickly into construction. Since Benzaiten leased the building from the City, the Center has invested over $700,000 in renovations.
More information about tours, classes, and events can be found on the Benzaiten’s website, http://www.benzaitencenter.org/ or at 561.508.7315. Residents may visit the gallery Tuesday through Saturday between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.