The first-ever New Wave Art Wknd took place in Palm Beach over the weekend, from November 30—December 2. The new contemporary art weekend, organized by gallerist Sarah Gavlak, served as a kick-off of sorts for Miami Art Week.
With a focus on immigrant and women artists the event included private collection tours with Beth Rudin DeWoody, Jane Holzer, and Lisa Perry; panels led by Isolde Brielmaier with artists like Sanford Biggers; and a public installation by Yvonne Force Villareal and Doreen Remen.
Whitewall spoke with Gavlak to hear more about the inaugural art event.
WHITEWALL: What kind of event did you want to create around the Palm Beach art community?
SARAH GAVLAK: In 2005, I opened the first contemporary art gallery in Palm Beach after I realized there was a lack of gallery presence here. At the time many people said there wasn’t a need for contemporary art, but over the past 15 years we have witnessed a bourgeoning art scene here that is very forward-thinking.
I was inspired by Berlin Art Week and Artcrush, and founded New Wave Art Wknd to take advantage of the growing collector and artist community in Palm Beach, and inspire productive conversations. It was important to me that the experience be intimate and offer a respite from the chaos of the art fair circuit.
WW: Who are some of the leaders of that community you’re introducing to a wider audience? Who are the major collectors, gallerists, etc?
SG: I couldn’t launch New Wave Art Wknd without the profound help of my advisory committee, which includes Beth Rudin DeWoody, Ann G. Tenenbaum, Amy Phelan, Mike De Paola, Cheryl Brutvan, Franklin Sirmans, Isolde Brielmaier, Jane Holzer, and Lisa Perry and collaborators Yvonne Force Villareal and Doreen Remen, Burt Minkoff, Keith Bloomfield, and Bettina Prentice.
WW: A main focus of the weekend is diversity and inclusivity. Why did you want that to be a focus?
SG: It has always been my focus to champion “the other” artists. I think it is essential to build a more inclusive culture and provide a serious platform for underrepresented artists including women, LGBTQ, immigrants, and artists of color.
WW: Can you tell us about residency program you’ve this weekend, as well?
SG: The spirit of New Wave is to shift the focus and financial resources to artists who are underserved and underrecognized. To that end, I am excited to launch an immigrant artist-in-residency program in Palm Beach that will debut at the second iteration of New Wave Art Wknd next year. The program will provide major resources and a platform to artists who come from places in the world where their civil rights are limited, or they have been a victim or refugee of war.