Familiar with how to treat a blank canvas, Grace Gdaniec hit the Arts Warehouse ground running. Her background in the art world provided her with not only the vision needed to help curate the Arts Warehouse into what it is today, but also allowed her to think outside the box and help create the many programs, special events and exhibits that make the space unique. So what doesn’t she do? Not much.
“My role is a multi-hat role for sure. I laughed a little at the first sentence of the Arts Warehouse manager job description, which says ‘this is a complex position’,” said Gdaniec, 30. “At Arts Warehouse, my tasks include everything from sanding and painting the gallery walls to developing programs and planning exhibitions.” She, along with Lui, the gallery assistant, are a small team but yield mighty results.
Her day-to-day responsibilities include meeting with teaching artists to develop workshops, reaching out to artists for exhibition planning, checking in with the resident studio artists, collecting rent payments, creating graphic design for the website and promotional collateral, managing the social media presence, installing and deinstalling gallery exhibitions, managing facility rentals and program schedules, greeting visitors throughout the day, and setting up and hosting special events. But, as busy as she is, it’s a labor of love.
“I started as the Arts Warehouse Gallery Assistant right before Arts Warehouse opened its doors in 2017, and am very excited to hold the managerial role now as we enter into the third year,” said Gdaniec, who had experience with programming and management in a similar arts space before coming to the Arts Warehouse. “It was a lot of work, but really rewarding, to help kickstart the space into what it is now. Being here since before the doors opened, I feel an extra sense of attachment perhaps, and I’m really invested in seeing it grow. Arts Warehouse has achieved a lot and shown some amazing work in such a short time. We had a chance to hit the ground running and define what the space was to be.”
While she handles so many aspects of the Arts Warehouse space, she says the best part about her job is curating the exhibitions because she finds it inspiring to be involved in other’s artistic processes. She’s particularly excited about the upcoming projects for 2020. One is a youth-centered program that will welcome afterschool, homeschool and other student groups of varying ages to the gallery for a tour of the current exhibition and artist studios. The goal is to help the youth visitors make a connection with the art, learn some basic fundamentals, and then create their own art inspired by what they learned. Other new programs will tap into different arts such as poetry and writing, as well as having a greater presence at the Delray Beach GreenMarket and hosting more professional development workshops for artists and arts businesses.
“There are some great exhibitions planned for 2020, with a few guest curators as well. Since Arts Warehouse feels so new, a lot of what’s being planned is new, and therefore easy to be excited about,” Gdaniec said. “We have the ability to reach many parts of the Delray Beach community, so that is what 2020 is about. My campaign going into this year for Arts Warehouse is ‘Visibility in 2020.’ Letting everyone know we’re here, and giving them reasons to return.”
Gdaniec, while busy, is always energetic about her role within the city because even though she’s been a Delray resident for the past nine years, she’s constantly learning about what the city has to offer and wants to share that knowledge. “Even in just two years, I’ve noticed many changes in local businesses and restaurants, ground breaking on bigger projects like the nearby Rey hotel, and more construction started. I’ll admit I am more conscious of the development and happenings around the city now that I’m working with the CRA. I like working for the city that I live in and spend so much time in. I’ve turned into quite the local promoter and Delray fun-fact giver,” Gdaniec said.
That’s right. In addition to her position at the Arts Warehouse, she also assists with the marketing for the CRA, which includes picking up some graphic design, collateral design for the CRA-focused projects and more. She’s happy to be on hand for any and all “artistic” tasks that the CRA may need help with, as well as helping to organize the Jingle Mingle event during the holidays and other CRA special events. At the end of the day, it all boils down to painting the best picture she can for her community.
An artist herself, Gdaniec finds it inspirational to be able to share her space with local artists. “Seeing successes and the creative process of local artists happening in real time is really inspiring. Artists must work hard to build their careers with the work that they care about,” Gdaniec said. “If Arts Warehouse and I can assist in that, whether it’s offering advice on a work in progress, or planning a specific professional development workshop that they request, I love helping them. And that goes for artists in the community around the Arts Warehouse as well. There is so much talent in the building and in our local artists, and each so different in mediums and backgrounds. I’m always learning, too.”
When she’s not at work, she’s traveling around South Florida visiting as many museums as she can, hanging out at the beach, enjoying her Delray coed kickball league, and exploring all that Delray and surrounding cities have to offer. For her, during work or in her free time, it’s all about involvement.
“I am grateful to work in a space that has so many ways for people to get involved,” Gdaniec said. “I’m looking forward to the positive momentum, and support from the CRA and the community.”