Boynton’s public art manager leads city through art development

Posted: 6:02 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015

By Alexandra Seltzer – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

BOYNTON BEACH — Since August 2006, Debby Coles-Dobay has been Boynton Beach’s public art manager.

Coles-Dobay helps developers make public art part of their projects, working closely with their teams of architects and planners. The city Arts Commission then must approve the plan.

In 2010, under Coles-Dobay’s leadership, the commission created a plan to collaborate with international artists who are members of the Kinetic Art Organization to develop the biennial International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium, the first in the nation.

The second symposium, which is free, will be held Feb. 6-8. For information, go online to

Question: Tell me about yourself.

Coles-Dobay: In my teens, I had the opportunity to study art at a university level, taking life drawing and painting classes. I began my fine arts studies in New York City and graduated with a Baccalaureate Degree from Florida Atlantic University. After graduation I created advertisements at The Palm Beach Post, and was a creative director for an advertising agency in West Palm Beach before founding my own agency. One of my clients enticed me to join his company to elevate the brand, Banana Boat Skin and Sun Care, from regional to national. A strong desire to return back to the fine art industry was what drew me to the position as public art manager.

Q: How important is art in Boynton?

Coles-Dobay: A successful Art in Public Places Program creates an environment that fosters cultural and civic engagement. It can bring a community together, inspire creativity and contribute to economic development. This engagement results in creating spaces for people to come together and help shape their city’s future. Boynton Beach Art in Public places has provided this environment and can now engage the arts to assist in achieving the City’s strategic goals.

Q: Has the importance of art in Boynton changed over the years?

Coles-Dobay: Yes, the Art in Public Places Program receives much praise and positive feedback. The Art in Public Places program created an art centric environment that has attracted a community of artists to Boynton Beach Arts District, the first industrial arts district in Palm Beach County. Artists appreciate the program’s rotating exhibitions providing them a way to promote and sell their artwork, and showcase their talent.

Q: Tell me about the symposium.

Coles-Dobay: The event will connect the public to one-of-a-kind visual experiences. At the event, they can tour 16 icon kinetic outdoor artworks, enjoy 60 indoor kinetic artworks with a site specific light installation, interact with Kinetic-Connections; transforming a majestic old tree into a kinetic sculpture with community upcycled objects, participate in Solar Dancing Butterfly youth workshops, see Solar Tree kinetic student exhibit, connect to kinetic influenced technological innovations, attend engaging and educational presentations and meet kinetic artists.


January 7, 2015

Plein-air artists paint kinetic art in the city

Artist Ralph Papa, co-founder Plein Air Palm Beach, with his painting of Kinetic Sculpture by the old Boynton High School. (submitted photo, FPG)

Jan Engoren

Plein-air artists’ paintings of kinetic art sculptures on display through April at the Boynton City Library

Upcoming kinetic art exhibit and symposium coming to Boynton Beach Feb. 6-8

The Plein Air Palm Beach artists are busy painting street scenes of kinetic art sculptures, which are installed in downtown Boynton Beach, in advance of the upcoming International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium Feb. 6 to 8.

The Plein Air meet-up group, co-founded by local artist Ralph Papa, meets in various venues throughout the city to paint and document its landscape and history.

Paintings from the group are currently on display at the Boynton Beach City Library, 208 S. Seacrest Blvd., through April.

“Plein Air Palm Beach is a Florida not-for-profit organization with over 300 member artists and art lovers who we welcome to join our meet-up group,” Papa said. “We love painting outdoors in both small and large groups at many locations throughout Palm Beach County. Artists of all levels are welcome to join us in visually capturing today’s scenes and culture which will be tomorrow’s history.”

Setting up their pochade, or portable easels, in scenic locales such as the Boynton Beach Inlet, Green Cay Preserve and the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, these artists use the natural light of day to capture a moment and memory in time.

The following awards were announced by the Boynton Beach Arts Commission: First place was awarded to Manon Sander’s “Kinetic Shimmer” an oil-on-linen that depicts kinetic artist Tom Brewitz’s sculpture “Geospire.”

Second place went to Daghmar Ebert’s “Kinetic Art,” an oil on canvas depiction of Pennsylvania kinetic artist Jeff Kahn’s “Transcending Tides,” which installed in front of the Old Boynton Beach High School.

Third place was awarded to Ralph Papa’s painting “Kinetic Sculpture at Old Boynton High School,” a watercolor of Kahn’s “Transcending Tides,” which is at 125 E. Ocean Ave.

Honorable mention went to Tom Ryan’s “Movement at City Hall,” a transparent watercolor on 140-pound paper illustrating a second Kahn sculpture, “Pi in the Sky,” in the City Hall parking lot, 100 E. Boynton Beach Blvd.

“We’re happy to share our space with the Kinetic Art Symposium,” said Ann Watts, the library’s assistant director. “It’s as fun as it has been in the past. Everybody’s enjoying it; it got a wonderful response.”

In 2012, the Plein Air group displayed its paintings at the library for the “Breeze into Boynton Beach, Plein-Air Exhibit,” a show depicting scenic locales throughout the city.

The International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium was created by the Boynton Beach Arts Commission and produced by the city of Boynton Beach through its Art in Public Places program.

Papa credits Debby Coles-Dobay, the manager of the city’s Art in Public Places, for her vision and support.

“Debby knows that both kinetic art and plein-air art is about as public as you can get,” he said.

“To see how the plein-air artists connect to the kinetic art and interpret it into their own work is fascinating,” Coles-Dobay said. “The exhibition covers a wide range of painting techniques and themes that are unique to the plein-air exhibition.”

“Visitors may not be able to purchase a kinetic sculpture for their home, but they can certainly afford one of the paintings that show off the kinetic art,” she said.

The next Plein Air Palm Beach meetups are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 6 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 7.

During the 2015 International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium artists will paint and sell their plein-air artwork of the kinetic sculptures.

The 2015 International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium is a free biennial event. For information, contact Debby Coles-Dobay at 561-742-6062 or visit

For information about the Plein Art Palm Beach meetups, visit or or call Ralph Papa at 561-374-0837.

The exhibit at the library runs through April 30. Visit


Dec. 30, 2014 Sun Sentinel

 Boynton residents can chip in on solar project

By Attiyya Anthony Sun Sentinel

Boynton residents can help make solar tree

Art in motion is coming to Boynton Beach, and this year anyone can take part in a hands-on, community kinetic art project.

At a February workshop during the city’s second International Kinetic Art Symposium, the city invites people to help construct a ‘dancing butterfly’ — a solar tree with movable butterflies. The collaborative project will be on display at the city’s Schoolhouse Children’s Museum and Learning Center on Feb. 8.

“The project is to educate the public in general,” said Debby Coles-Dobay, the city’s public art manager. “During the workshop, families and children of all ages will do individual decorating and coloring [of the butterflies], while being taught the bigger picture about renewable energy.”

Kinetic art is made from whatever artists can find — scrap metal, pipes, plastic, tubing, stainless steel and aluminum. The artists then add a scientific component so the art changes with light, wind and solar energies.

At the hour-long workshops, people who go will be able to customize a butterfly cut-out and then attach it to a solar motor, which will be attached to a metal tree and displayed during the symposium.

While the art is nice to look at, kinetic art is about changing the face of Boynton Beach.

After years of police corruption and commissioner misconduct, the city decided to launch a rebranding initiative in 2011 that included kinetic art.

The city’s kinetic art has attracted French artist Alexander Dang. He lives in Brussels, Belgium, and will make his first trip to Boynton Beach to teach the solar butterfly workshops.

“I did research on kinetic art in the world and Boynton Beach came up as a key place,” Dang said.

He has taught more than 5,000 people about kinetic art and solar energy in workshops across the world, including Hong Kong, New York, Singapore, South Carolina and Europe.

“One of the main audiences is children,” Dang said. “Children are the ones who will be building the world and they have to be informed about the different sources of sustainable energy and development.”

Coles-Dobay said that she’s happy that Boynton Beach is solidifying an identity as a blossoming place for kinetic artists.

“Kinetic art in itself is so inspiring,” she said. “It’s appealing to everybody and we invite the public to participate because it’s important for them to be educated on the value of how it’s made.”

The city’s first International Kinetic Art Symposium was held in 2013 in the city’s downtown and more than 4,000 people attended.

What: Solar Butterfly workshop at the Internatinal Kinetic Art Symposium

Where: Schoolhouse Children’s Museum and Learning Center, 129 East Ocean Avenue

When: Feb. 7-8 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Information: Call 561-742-6780



Forum Publishing Group – Palm Beach

December 17, 2014 at 11:07am ·

From Boynton Forum reporter Jan Engoren:

Singapore artist Edwin Cheong’s Bloomer Tree sculpture recently was installed on Ocean Avenue in Boynton Beach as part of the city’s second Kinetic Art Exhibition and Symposium, which is scheduled for Feb. 6 to 8.


Posted: 7:00 am Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Events in Boynton include kinetic workshop, comedy show, shred-a-thon 

By Alex Seltzer

Looking for something to do today in Boynton? Here are a few ideas…

Kinetic workshop. Boynton Beach is asking residents to bring unused household items to this workshop and make art. The workshop is headed by kinetic artist Elayna Toby. The goal is to make a kinetic sculpture to be showcased at the 2015 International Kinetic Art Exhibition and Symposium in Boynton Feb. 6-8.

Examples of items to bring include bells, bits of hardware, old keys, machine or computer parts, etc.

Here’s what the end result will look like:

The workshop is at the library at 208 S. Seacrest Blvd. and is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.



Help make Boynton Beach kinetic art sculpture


James Wieland

5:58 PM, Nov 7, 2014

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – Kinetic art sculptures have been popping up around Boynton Beach.

“We have 9 of the 16 total pieces on exhibit, there will be several more pieces installed in November-December leading up to the February 6th-7th International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium ,” said Boynton Beach Public Art Manager Debby Coles-Dobay.

Artists from around the world contributed to the exhibit which features art made to move with the wind, the sun, or by a person, and now you can too.

Local kinetic artist Elayna Toby Singer has a grand plan to turn a huge Kapok tree, into art. “Essentially hundreds of strands with hundreds of thousands of miscellaneous up-cycled objects twirling from the branches of (the) Kapok tree.”

And you’re invited to bring the objects, and organize them the way they want hung. The sky’s the limit as to how many strands can be strung on the tree.

Singer showed a test strand.

The project is also bringing the community together.

“It’s a great way to engage the public in actually understanding and learning how kinetic art is made by inviting them to be a part of making an installation that will be interactive and hung in this wonderful kapok tree in Boynton Beach, ” Coles-Dobay said.

If you want to be a part of creating the great kinetic sculpture, go ahead and start looking through your junk drawer for little things, no bigger than your hand and no heavier than a candy bar. Also, it needs a hole in it for easy stringing.

Stop by the Boynton Beach public library this Saturday November 8th anytime between 10 and 1, and also on November 15 to help create the magnificent sculpture.

Most of the sculptures can be seen off East Ocean Avenue in Boynton Beach’s Cultural District.

Check out more info on the Kinetic Connections project, and the 2015 International Kinetic Art Exhibition and Symposium , Feb. 6 – 8, 2015.

Posted: 6:32 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014


Donate unwanted trinkets and create ‘kinetic connections’ in Boynton

By Laura Lordi, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

You’re all invited to be a part of this art.

The public is being called upon to make a ‘Kinetic-Connection’ by contributing everyday objects that will eventually be used to transform a historic Kapok tree into a moving sculpture.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and on Nov. 15, people are encouraged to bring donated items to the Boynton Beach Library, 208 South Seacrest Blvd.

Each object should be small, clean, have no sharp edges and have a hole or opening for stringing (bells, small pieces of hardware, trinkets, old keys).

Artist Elayna Toby will assemble the pieces into long twirling strands before adorning them on the tree.

‘Kinetic-Connections,’ a creation of Elayna Toby Art, is meant to inspire the public to think of everyday objects as art.

In February, everyone is encouraged to meet at the tree, at 123 E. Ocean Ave in Boynton Beach, to see the final result.

For more information, visit


Posted: 6:15 am Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Boynton to public: Get involved in community kinetic art

By Alex Seltzer

Boynton Beach is asking residents to collect household items, bring them to a few workshops, and then turn them into kinetic art.

The city is bringing in kinetic artist Elayna Toby, who will lead the workshops. The art created- to be named Kinetic-Connections- will be displayed at the 2015 International Kinetic Art Exhibition and Symposium Feb. 6 to Feb. 8 in Boynton.

The free workshops are Nov. 1, Nov. 8 and Nov. 15 at the library at 208 S. Seacrest Blvd. from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Residents should bring small objects like bells, bits of hardware, old keys or machine or computer parts to the workshops. The items will be used to make kinetic strands, like the one pictured above. The strands will then hang from a kapok tree at 123 E. Ocean Ave. during the symposium.

For more information, go to

To learn more about the symposium, email, call 561-742-6026 or visit


Posted: 6:45 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014

Your rummage could be someone else’s treasure

By Alexandra Seltzer

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


Boynton Beach is asking for residents to sell items at the Nov. 15 rummage sale. The sale will be at the Civic Center at 128 E. Ocean Ave. from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those who want to sell their items must RSVP by Nov. 3. Registration is $15 a table. An eight-foot table and two chairs will be provided. To register, call 561-742-6243 or email your name, address and phone number to


Kinetic art starts to go up in the city

Jan Engoren, Boynton Forum


Large kinetic art sculptures are installed in downtown Boynton Beach

Once again, large installations of kinetic artwork are gracing the streets of downtown Boynton Beach.

Part of the city’s upcoming Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium, set for Feb. 6 to 8, large pieces of moving art are being installed on South Seacrest Boulevard and East Ocean Avenue.

The first-in-the-nation Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium took place in Boynton Beach two years ago, bringing accomplished names in international kinetic art to the city.

“This is the first of many art experiences leading up to our biennial kinetic art event,” said Debby Coles-Dobay, the city’s public art manager. “The outdoor exhibition will feature 16 iconic kinetic sculptures by world renowned artists that move by wind, solar or human interaction including an artist-led community installation project.”

Well-known artists such as Theo Janssen, Rein Triefeldt, Cork Marcheschi and Swiss-born Ralfonso Gschwend, 53, president of the Kinetic Art Organization participated in the last exhibit and displayed their sculptures around the city.

At the end of last month, nine pieces by returning artists Tom Brewitz, Jeff Kahn, Paul Daniel, John King, Bill Woods and 2013 winner Lin Emery, powered by the wind and human interaction, were installed on city streets.

“The sculptures bring visitors to the city,” said Mayor Jerry Taylor. “They’re very attractive and they received excellent reviews. I’m glad we’re hosting the event again.”

“I look forward to the installations and showing off the city and what we have to offer to visitors here to Boynton Beach,” he said. “The Arts Commission deserves a lot of kudos. An exhibition and symposium of this scope doesn’t happen by itself.”

This year’s exhibition includes artists from around the world including Singapore, Geneva and the Netherlands. These kinetic artworks will be on exhibit for one year.

Additional outdoor works will be installed in October, November and during the event weekend in February.

One of the highlights from the 2013 exhibition was Gschwend’s “Dance with the Wind,” which graced the entrance to the Boynton Beach Civic Center for a year.

A smaller version of his monumental sculpture on permanent display in Beijing, it was composed of five rings and ball elements that swayed and undulated with the wind, seemingly dancing with the wind.

The 2015 International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium was created by the Boynton Beach Arts Commission and produced by the city of Boynton Beach through its Art in Public Places program.

Last year Gschwend said, “We had this idea to do something special in Boynton and something that hasn’t been seen in the U.S. before.”

“It is an exciting time for the arts in Boynton Beach,” said Rolando Chang Barrero, founder of the Boynton Beach Arts District.

“The outdoor work will preview for international collectors during the Art Synergy: ARTWEEK 2015, which coincides with ArtPalmBeach in January,” he said. “I suspect many collectors will return for the symposium in February.”

“Debby Coles-Dobay has realized a truly moving experience in South Florida,” he said.

“People love kinetic art because it engages them,” Coles-Dobay said. “Our goal is to host an engaging and entertaining art event for everyone to enjoy.”

The 2015 International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium is a free biennial event created to connect the public to one-of-a-kind visual experiences. Call Debby Coles-Dobay at 561-742-6062 or visit


2015 International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium artist,

Ralfonso at the unveiling of his 25ft EX STRATA in the Netherlands.

You can leave a written message or send a light message and see the sculpture live here:



Angela Conner (Author), Debby Coles-Dobay (Author), Lin Emery (Author), Jeffrey Laudenslager (Author), Ronald Mallory (Author), Jacques Martin (Author), Rein Triefeldt (Author), Ralfonso Gschwend (Author, Editor), Michael Suh(Foreword)

only $2.99!


Chinese article translation:

and also


Did you know how the International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium logo came about?

Each of the Arts Commission Board members chaired a committee to plan the event. Former board member and then marketing committee chair Donn Davenport applied his talents to create the logo.

We are fortunate to have dedicated volunteers such as Donn Davenport who contribute to the Art in Public Places program success. Thank you Donn!











Click link for – Kinetic survey fact sheet

Reach of marketing and promotional materials

  • 35,000 + printed materials distributed National regionally and locally.
  • Newspaper articles reached over a million readers Martin, Palm Beach and Broward Counties
  • Billboard reached 460,920 18+ viewers
  • WPTV Channel 5 news reaches 100,000 viewers in South Florida
  • Art Basel experienced 50,000 International visitors – our exposure was to a portion of these visitors
  • International Sculpture Center and Florida Teachers conferences reached 500+
  • Non specific reach from the many website, facebook and blogs pages that reached International, National and regional audiences

Total viewer calculations are estimated at over 2 million!

 Read about all of the great press the First in the National International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium February 8 -10, 2013 received since September, 2012.

This is positive press that delivers International attention to Boynton Beach and South Florida!

  • 34 total to date with the addition of the following promotion and marketing activities:
  • 10,000 + Kinetic Symposium Save the Date distributed by the International Sculpture Center at their conferences throughout the country; businesses, art organizations, events, Art Basel, Art Palm Beach, at Boynton Beach facilities, sponsors locations, etc. 
  • 15,000 Kinetic Symposium Save the Date cards inserted in the October issue of the Coastal Star distributed to Hypoloxo Island, South Palm Beach. Manalapan, Ocean Ridge, Briny Breezes, Gulf Stream and Coastal Delray (as well as distributed to Boynton BEach and Delray Beach)
  • 3,000 + Kinetic Symposium program brochures distributed to organizations, facilities, events, schools, churches, tour groups and International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium event 8-10, 2013.
  • 2,000+ Youth Workshop flyers distributed to school, State of Florida art teacher conference plus digital flyers distributed to the Palm Beach County school district and State of Florida art teachers.
  • I-95 Billboard January 31 – February 10, 2013 (8 second rotation with 8 advertisers)
  • Poster signage at sponsor locations and City facilities, directional signage pre and during event, digital sign along Boynton Beach Blvd. Monday , February 28 – February 10, 2013, City hall marquee signage.

The 2013 KAO International Kinetic Art Competition Awards |

USC Student Wins KAO International Kinetic Art Competition | USC School of Architecture

February 12, 2013

Kinetic Art Walking Tour presented by Arts Radio Network

John Watts Arts Radio

Boynton Beach’s kinetic art event drew 2,000 downtown |

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013

By Eliot Kleinberg Palm Beach Post

Kinetic artists bring their works to city landmarks – South Florida

Jan Engoren Boynton Forum February 14, 2013

Solar-powerered works combine science and art – South Florida

Jan Engoren Boynton Forum February 14, 2013

February 8 Ocean Ridge Tidings Email newsletter to residents

Into Action Treatment Visits International Kinetic Art Exhibit in Boynton Beach, South Florida – Times Union

PRWeb Sunday, February 10, 2013

Read more:

Boynton celebrates art in motion | Art

Written by Palm Beach ArtsPaper Staff on 07 February 2013.


Why Boynton Beach Is Staking Its Claim In Kinetic Art | WLRN





International Kinetic Art Exhibit to help move troubled Boynton along – South Florida

February 4, 2013, Attiyya Anthony, Sun Sentinel


Boynton’s art exhibit, symposium features art to go |

Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013

By Eliot Kleinberg Palm Beach Post


Channel 20 promotion for International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium

Click here to view the video


Let the Motion Move You: Arts District features kinetic displays – The Coastal Star

Mary Jane FIne The Coastal Star January 30, 2013


On the Spot Sarah Younger Creator of “Mni Ikotomi” Kinetic Art 

January 23 Boynton Beach Forum by Jan Engoren

01-20-2013 SculptSite: Featured Sculpture News Detail Page

Boynton Beach city… – Getting ready – South Florida

Mark Randall, Sun Sentinel / January 21, 2013

Commissioner Segal’s Boynton Beach District IV Blog: International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium Preview


Cities energized by kinetic art exhibitions – South Florida

Jan Engoren

January 16, 2013


Free, First International Kinetic Art Symposium in the U.S. | The Rickie Report

January 14th, 2013


Kinetic art exhibit, symposium coming to Boynton |

Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013 Palm Beach Post By Eliot Kleinberg


Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. (ASCI) website homepage featured both the open call for the International Kinetic Art Awards and open invitation for showing at the first event in Boynton Beach, FL. Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. (ASCI) – Spotlight: Jan.2013


Kinetic art to be displayed at Cultural Council |

Friday, Dec. 28, 2012

By Jan Sjostrom Daily News Arts Editor (the Shiny Sheet)


International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium coming to Boynton Beach

WPTV Channel 5 Dec 14, 2012 By: Marissa Bagg


Juried Art Services Kinetic Art Organization International Competition

Dec 8, 2012


Wind-powered beasts that are works of art – CBS News Video

Theo Jansen on Today’s Sunday Morning

December 3, 2012


2013 International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium – The Coastal Star

Tim Stepien the Coastal Star November 2, 2012


The 2013 International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium | Arts Radio Network

Oct 3, 2012 Arts Radio Network by Caroline Breder-Watts


Boynton becoming mecca for ‘moving art’ |

Friday, Sept. 28, 2012

Palm Beach PostBy Eliot Kleinberg


Kinetic art: Exhibition of moving sculptures coming to Boynton – Sun Sentinel

September 26, 2012|By Ben Wolford, Sun Sentinel


Sculpture installations to line streets of Boynton |

9:34 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011

By Eliot Kleinberg Palm Beach Post


(69) Boynton Beach Art in Public Places

Boynton Beach Art in Public Places facebook page


  1. Kinetic Art Organization

Kinetic Art Organization Facebook page


Jeff Whyman’s Ceramic Fundraiser to benefit Schoolhouse Children’s Museum & Learning Center – The Coastal Star

Feb 8, 2012 Coastal Star Mary Kate Leming


Call to Kinetic Artists from International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium, Boynton Beach, FL | NEFA



1. Exhibition of moving art coming to Boynton,0,1711936.story

By Ben Wolford, Sun Sentinel

6:01 p.m. EDT, September 26, 2012

Rein Triefeldt of Trenton, New Jersey, installs his sculpture “Solar Butterfly”, along East Ocean Avenue in Boynton Beach Wednesday.

It will be part of Boynton Beach’s 2013 International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium.

BOYNTON BEACH— — When the sun comes out, Rein Triefeldt’s solar-powered butterfly sculpture makes a whirring noise and flaps its wings, “It sounds more like a mosquito than a butterfly,” said Triefeldt, a New Jersey artist in town to install “Solar Butterfly.” (It can be yours for $50,000.)

The piece is one of 15 moving public sculptures that are part of an outdoor kinetic art exhibit. Boynton Beach is hosting the 2013 International Kinetic Art Exhibit & Symposium, and artists from South Florida and around the world are making preparations for the Feb. 8-10 culmination of the event.  City leaders have been bragging for months that the symposium is being held here, in Boynton Beach, and not, say, West Palm Beach or Delray Beach.  “It’s the first of its kind in the country,” said painter Rolando Chang Barrero, director of a Boynton Beach gallery.

The interesting thing about a kinetic sculpture, say connoisseurs, is the way the artist builds the passing of time into the piece. Viewers are drawn to a fourth dimension. They want to know how it works.  And it’s a less esoteric branch of art than one might think. There’s actually an association of more than 1,000 artists from 60 countries, said Ralf Gschwend, co-founder, with Triefeldt, of the Kinetic Art Organization, as the group is known.  Gschwend, 53, who is Swiss and goes by Ralfonso, founded the KAO in 2001 with two other kinetic artists. Since then they’ve coordinated exhibits in Holland, Italy, Russia, China and, of course, New Jersey.

“Now we are thrilled to work with Debby” — Debby Coles-Dobay, Boynton’s public art administrator — “to make the first Boynton Beach Kinetic Art Exhibition & Symposium a success,” Gschwend said by email from Europe.  The symposium in February is the main event, where artists will talk about their work and host seminars. But meanwhile, organizers are trying to build anticipation. “More is coming, more is coming,” Coles-Dobay said.  They’re starting with installations such as Triefeldt’s. He likes to incorporate sustainable energy into his art — his butterfly at East Ocean Avenue and Seacrest Boulevard, for example.  “There’s always art for art’s sake that’s strictly aesthetic, but there has been a lot of discussion about kinetic art because of the green movement,” Chang Barrero said.

Gschwend’s piece “Dance With the Wind” is a nine-foot, stainless-steel take on a wind chime, a variation of which was commissioned on a larger scale for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. It will sit across the street from the butterfly. (And it can be yours for $75,000.)  Other works include spinning disks on a steel and aluminum scaffold ($40,000), 300 pounds worth of balancing metal arms ($32,500) and something called “Geometric Stratum” ($25,000), which is more or less what it sounds like: a cluster of geometric shapes. “The whole idea is to get people excited,” Coles-Dobay said. or 561-243-6602 or Twitter @benwolford

2. Moving art’ to be featured in Boynton Beach

By Eliot Kleinberg, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

The city will be awash in moving art this fall in advance of next year’s hosting of the International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium, which will be Feb. 8-10. At the ends of September, October and November, the artists who created them will install what will total 15 pieces, including works called “Three Moons Rising, “Solar Butterfly,” and “Rising Dancer.” Visit the symposium’s web site at or call (561) 742-6026.



1. Boynton becoming mecca for ‘moving art’


LTR Greg House, Rick Beau Lieu and Claudia Jane Klein manuever “Geometric Stratum”, by artist Tom Brewitz, into place of in advance of next year’s International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium, Feb. 8-10. The stainless steel scuplture is on display on East Ocean Avenue in front of the Little House eatery at the historic Ruth Jones Cottage.

By Eliot Kleinberg, Plam Beach Post, Sept. 28, 2012

BOYNTON BEACH — “No. Turn it this way. Turn it that way. Keep turning.” Two men stood atop a pedestal, sweating in the morning sun, as a third directed their efforts. Even before they’d finished installing it, parts of “Geometric Stratum” already were turning all by themselves in the light wind. Kinetic.

Over the next year, the city — already a quilt work of public art — will be awash in moving pieces, all in advance of an event next year that marks a major coup for the city: the International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium, Feb. 8-10. On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, and again at the ends of October and November, artists are installing what will total 15 pieces across downtown. Not surprisingly, many of their names invoke themes of movement; “Three Moons Rising;” “Solar Butterfly;” “Rising Dancer;” “Dance with the Wind.”

“Geo Stratum” a stainless steel piece of art, rose Wednesday some 12 feet off the sidewalk in front of the Little House, at the historic 1940 Ruth Jones Cottage building at 480 E. Ocean Ave. Moving parts include squares and circles, something that looks like the “club” in a deck of a cards and another that looks like the pendulum in a grandfather clock.

“It’s a mixture of geometric shapes,” artist Tom Brewitz said from the Twin Cities suburb of Newport, Minn. He said the work, available for $25,000, actually is a 1983 piece that stood through several Minnesota winters at three family homes. The entire exhibit, all 15 pieces, “is on display to support the symposium,” city public art coordinator Debby Coles-Dobay said in front of the “Geometric Stratum.” The February kinetic art symposium will be held at the city library and adjacent civic center and will feature indoor exhibits and vendors and youth workshops. “It’s a first of its kind in the nation,” Coles-Dobay said. “There’s never been an exhibit and symposium as one unit.”

She said participants will learn “how the art is made. You need structural engineering. You need math. You need technology.” One of those helping in Thursday’s installation was Richard Beau Lieu, himself an artist who has many pieces across the city, including at City Hall, and a former chair of the city’s public arts commission.

Back in 1986, when he started a “neighborhood arts” district in an industrial area along the west side of Interstate 95 north of Boynton Beach Boulevard, “Boynton Beach didn’t even know what art was,” he said. Now, he said, “We’ve become a city of art.” The city notes that the public arts program — and Coles-Dobay’s salary — all are paid for by a 1 percent fee on development and redevelopment projects. “Let me tell you what it does,” Beau Lieu said. “You’re documenting it in cities across the nation. It makes safe streets.” And, he said, “it brings tourists, of course.” And, he said, as he pointed to the stop sign next to the Little House, “watch people slow down as they drive.”


International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium:

Boynton Beach “Art in Public Places” program: (561) 742-6026.