'ArtVentures' a blog by: Heather Renee & Ornella Verano


Since I moved here 3 years ago, I have been wanting to visit the iconic collection at the Norton Museum of Art, so when Ornella suggested attending the ‘Art after Dark’ event it was an easy yes. Every Friday night the museum and restaurant stays open late offering musical performances and workshops. When Friday arrived we hopped in the car and made the trek north, about 45 minutes, on the I-95 north to West Palm Beach from Fort Lauderdale. Just the drive alone is a blood pumping adventure at this hour of the day. Once in range of the museum, we set our sights on a place to have a quick snack and a cold drink to close out a busy week. We found ourselves at Table 26, an upscale nautical themed restaurant with great happy hour offerings. When you check in on social media here, you receive the cocktail of the day GRATIS! As we sipped our signature grapefruit martinis we ordered the truffle fries, beef tartare and squash blossoms. Everything was well presented and delicious, a popular dinner destination for the locals for a reason. For us however, it was onward to the main event.
We arrived at the Norton to find ample metered parking across the street from the building. Making the approach the first thing you see is the sculpture ‘Typewriter Eraser, Scale X’ by Oldenburg and Van Bruggen. Massive and beautifully crafted, it appears to float on the reflecting pool giving it the most surreal quality with the colors of the sunset. Once inside the building, the breeze from the air conditioning was welcomed. We of course wanted to see everything, so we started at the top floor and worked our way down. The level and volume of these amazing works was almost overwhelming. With so much to see it became clear that multiple visits would be in order. We walked the rooms marveling at these world class collections with jazz music filling the halls.
For me, it was the contemporary art collection that took my breath away. All the greats I’ve read about in Art History classes were present. Even amongst these iconic pieces, there is one that blew my mind. On a monolithic white wall, all by herself hung the ‘Femme à la Montre’ by Pablo Picasso, 1932. I stared at her for the longest time, maybe it was my ego or her blonde hair but I saw myself in there distorted but loved. Either way I was completely moved. Isn’t that what art is supposed to do? Throughout the visit as we explored, chatted, and joked around we had that very realization. Art is made to enjoy, engage and hit us right in the feels. Before exiting, we took a walk through the illuminated sculpture garden with gorgeous tropical plants hosting large scale sculptures, a lovely closer. Once again, we hit the I-95 back south, charged up with endless inspiration.
Author: Heather Renee