Armory Art CenterOur mission
The Armory’s mission is to provide high-quality visual art school and art gallery services that stimulate personal self-discovery and generate knowledge and awareness of art as part of life.
The historic Armory building was built in 1939 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in Art Deco style, designed by architect William Manley King. From 1939-1982 it was used as an armory and occupied by the National Guard. By the late 1980s, and after a period of multiple community uses, it had deteriorated and was scheduled for demolition. However, when the nearby Norton Museum of Art closed its art school in 1986, its students and teachers joined forces with the Palm Beach County Cultural Council and other community activists to convince the City of West Palm Beach to spare the Armory building from demolition and convert it to an art school. With generous contributions from many patrons, most notably Robert and Mary Montgomery, the Center opened its doors in 1987 and has leased the building from the City of West Palm Beach ever since.
The former motor pool of the National Guard, a separate 3500 square foot building behind the main Armory building, was also used by the school as its ceramic and sculpture studios. In 2000, with the continued support of the Montgomery’s and a significant gift from Jerold Kaplan, (son of Muriel S. Kaplan, the Armory’s first sculpture teacher and a member of the Armory’s Board of Directors) the Muriel S. Kaplan Sculpture Building was renovated with a striking blue cantilever roof and redesigned to include state-of-the-art studios.
In 2003, with support from the State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs, Palm Beach County, The City of West Palm Beach and many generous patrons, the 2-story Young Artists Studio Facility was built to accommodate the Armory’s painting and drawing studios: six large studios each with natural northern light exposure completing the Armory’s campus.
Today, the Armory Art Center welcomes more than 3,000 students annually, and offers over 100 course titles as well as twenty-five Visiting Master Artist Workshops. It hosts a unique Summer Art Camp serving more than 700 children in a dozen studios.
The Armory Art Center is an example of the positive influence of art in the community. From the preservation of its historic building (listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1992) to the outreach to all ages of the community’s residents, the Armory Art Center continues its mission to stimulate personal self-discovery and generate knowledge and awareness of art as part of life.
Hours & Admission
Monday-Friday 10am-4pm, Saturday 10am-2pm