This weekend I attended the opening reception of “ Paper Piracy” in Northwood Village, a neighborhood in West Palm Beach that is in transition. Artists have moved into the area with hopeful antique dealers.

I spoke with three artists in the exhibit about their intentions for the show. Some of the questions asked by them were, “What is privacy?”  “What are privacy rights” “When do we stop holding onto privacy? How do we control it? How do communities develop? One could ask , Through piracy?”.  Other words that were woven into the conversation were “poached”, “reclamation”, and “lost and found”. Northwood is in the throws of gentrification.

Carolyn Sickles is a textile artist and weaver. She exhibited two concentric circular woven sculptures that seemed to float on the floor. The outer circle is made from handmade paper and the inner circle from woven fabric. Carolyn is a storyteller and explained that the center of the piece represented the precious part of one’s self that emerges  from the negative experiences in life that  attempt to contaminate it. Northwood was a vibrant community at one time. Many of its residents were middle class homeowners. Eventually the drug trade took over and the community degenerated as its residents moved out or died. In recent years the arts have moved into it.  The community is in the process of revitalization, is becoming precious.

Sue Stevens exhibited large photo collages of industry juxtaposed with family photos. In one of them a viewer can see a father and son positioned in a tunnel. The artist told the writer that the father and son were on a fishing trip. Their placement inside the tunnel creates suspense. What effect does industry have on families? Privacy?



Ryan Toth is a painter who survived 9-11 and saw the dust cloud barrel down the street as people fled the scene of the tragedy. He did CPR that day. Memories still haunt him and intrude into his daily life. His art gives them an outlet, expression and buried thoughts  are transformed through art to resurface onto canvas and paper.


In another painting Ryan’s dog holds a pink octopus that hangs from the tight grip of his jaw.  The viewer becomes the proud pet owner. The dog faces us but has his eyes have no pupils. He seems lost in inner space.


All three artists transform personal experience through art making and explore the boundaries of privacy.

The show will run  until August 30th.

EG2 (educational Gallery Group)

408 Northwood Rd, West Palm Beach, FL, 33407

Hours: Tuesday- Thursday & Sunday 5pm-9pm Friday-Saturday 5pm -10pm Mondays Closed