The work of sculptor and artist Fred Eversley, an engineer by training, has been featured in more than 200 exhibitions and is part of more than 40 museum collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.
One of the nation’s more celebrated sculptors, he has done more than 20 large public works of art adorning cities around the nation. While works in museums may attract admirers, his public art can be part of commercial transformations.
The Related Companies and the City of West Palm Beach have commissioned Eversley to do a sculpture comprising eight pieces, titled the “Portals,” made of transparent, reflective, violet-hued polyurethane resin.
Eversley’s West Palm Beach work, his largest in recent years, is slated to debut next year outside West Palm Beach’s One Flagler office tower, a 25-story building designed by architect David Childs and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
The art and architecture are part of West Palm Beach’s transformation and expansion, including a public art program ArtLifeWPB and an economic and aesthetic rebirth of the city.
Eversley’s work was chosen by the Related Companies and Culture Corps, an art advisory consultancy founded by Doreen Ramen and Yvonne Force Villareal. The 1.25-acre public green space in front of the new One Flagler building will be named “Julian Abele Park” with eight shapes that mirror the eight columns of a nearby church designed by African American architect Juliane Abele in 1928.
“We believe that public art is inclusive and creates memorable shared experiences providing moments of discovery and inspiration,” said Gopal Rajegowda, partner at Related Southeast. “Eversley’s sculptures will make a meaningful connection between the past and the current important time in the City of West Palm Beach.”
As part of the link between past, present and future, First Church of Christ, Scientist, which inspired the work, will stand near the new building and green space.
“This new park and captivating installation will be a major draw for residents, visitors and art enthusiasts,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James.
West Palm Beach Is Booming
West Palm Beach is in the midst of a growth spurt, ranging from new buildings to parks, streetscape improvements to infrastructure and public art, from retail to residential and offices. The plan, and many millions in investment, is to continue to grow West Palm Beach as a premiere location to live, work and play.
One Flagler, designed to be a LEED Gold development, is slated to include 275,000 square feet of office, restaurant, roof terraces, a reading room, living green wall adorning its parking garage and 1.25 acres of green space extending the waterfront greenbelt.
Flagler, linking past to future, is named for Henry Flagler, who first brought a railroad to town, initiating and inspiring an early burst of historic growth. James talks about West Palm Beach as undergoing “transformational growth” unseen since that time.
Less than a mile from One Flagler is 360 Rosemary, a fully-leased 300,000-square-foot building developed by Related Southeast with 10,000 square feet of outdoor space and amenities on the north end of The Square. Designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects and Leo A. Daly, tenants include Point 72, Lewis, Longman & Walker, Comvest Partners and Norwest Equity Partners.
“I am not just hopeful about our city’s economic future. I am resoundingly confident,” he said at a recent state of the city speech. “West Palm Beach is witnessing the dawn of an age of growth and prosperity not seen in decades.”
The City of West Palm Beach, whose government employs 1,700 and which consists of about 117,000 residents, is on a roll, winning recognition in Florida and nationwide as a model of managed growth.
Livability.com ranked West Palm Beach among the top 100 best places to live in America due to safety, economic stability, outdoor recreation, accessibility, affordability, opportunity and community engagement.
Travel + Leisure selected it as one of the best places to live in Florida, Forbes ranked it as the No. 1 city in Florida for business and careers, while USA Today readers ranked its green market No. 1 in that category.
James sees West Palm Beach as a community displaying the “courage to build, invest, protect” and “ensure a healthy future for the entire community” with a growing demand (and value) for residential and commercial properties.
He sees West Palm Beach as offering sunshine, low taxes and a business-friendly climate attractive not only to visitors, but residents and businesses. James said last year 30 new companies relocated to West Palm Beach, offering 3,600 highly compensated jobs with 1,100 more to come.
Incorporated November 5, 1894, West Palm Beach is the oldest municipality in Southeast Florida, covering 57.73 square miles with a population of 117,286, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. It’s also one of the three largest cities in South Florida.
Dubbed “Wall Street South” as it attracts companies and residents, it is becoming a hub of tech, construction, multimedia companies and academic institutions such as Florida Atlantic University.
“These developments and renovations are exciting to witness,” James said of a wide range of projects in the works involving investment and infrastructure.
Related Southeast is Related Companies, a real estate and lifestyle company that is helping redevelop Downtown West Palm Beach, turning the city into among the nation’s fastest-growing commercial, retail, culinary, art and tourism destinations.
Related Southeast has developed Class A office buildings in West Palm Beach including 360 Rosemary, CityPlace Tower, Esperanté, Phillips Point and now One Flagler, as well as The Square, Hilton West Palm Beach, RH West Palm and the historic Harriett Himmel Theater.
Downtown West Palm Beach is in the midst of a transformation, including office buildings, lush green spaces, retail and culinary offerings and the largest concentration of public art installed by a private company in Palm Beach County.
This virtual al fresco museum features work by renowned artists such as Yinka Shonibare, CBE and Jeppe Hein as well as forthcoming modern luxury residences.
As part of this timely transformation into Wall Street South, the Related Companies last year announced six new restaurants for West Palm Beach, including Harry’s, a Wall Street institution for half a century.
Other new restaurants include pizzeria Adrienne’s Pizzabar; Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants’s RPM Italian; Felice under the SA Hospitality Group’s first location outside of New York; Estiatorio Milos, a seafood restaurant led by chef Costas Spiliadis; and taqueria Tacombi.
Rajegowda, a partner at Related Southeast, said a rush of established restaurateurs is part of an expansion of the “neighborhood’s culinary scene.” R.J. Melman, president of Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants, said he is thrilled “to be part of their ongoing plan to develop West Palm Beach.”
One Flagler, part of West Palm Beach’s Okeechobee Business District and the Flagler Financial District, is also part of the public/private partnership led by West Palm Beach City and exponential growth.
The Clematis Streetscape project includes wider sidewalks, more shade trees as part of a downtown revitalization that James said is designed to produce a “more walkable, healthier and more enjoyable downtown.”
The Banyan Boulevard streetscape, completed summer of 2022, connects the downtown corridor to West Palm Beach’s “historic northwest neighborhoods,” James added. Florida Atlantic University’s engineering research center is part of the growth, along with hundreds of units of affordable housing.
“We recognize that housing costs remain too high for too many,” James said of that growth as part of the expansion. “Essential workers must be able to afford housing.”
He added, “we are not about growing just for growth’s sake,” while adding that West Palm Beach is undergoing an exciting expansion designed to make it an even better place to live, work and play.
“The City of West Palm Beach is experiencing unprecedented growth, investment and interest,” James said. “Through the continued collaboration between our public and private sectors, we will achieve ever-greater economic and cultural milestones benefiting all who live, work and visit West Palm Beach.”