By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
When Kim Fay looked around Delray’s Arts Warehouse memories flooded her mind and smile came to her face.
She pointed to an area that used to be a small office inside the massive warehouse. She said the secretary would chain smoke, trucks would come and go from the storage and moving facility. A small, rickety air conditioning unit barely cooled the air and the lights were dim.
Now, the warehouse, located at 313 NE Third St., has been converted into an arts incubator. High end studio lights line the ceilings, artists will take up two floors of studios to craft their works and a large gallery space will house all types of installations and exhibitions once the warehouse officially opens.
“It’s amazing what has happened to this building,” Fay said. “I can’t think of a better evolution to what my grandmother built.”
Fay saw pictures of the Arts Warehouse on social media and commented that she thinks it is the space building her family owned for decades. When she saw the transformation of the warehouse, she said she was amazed.
“It was one big box,” she said. Now, the space has classrooms, studios, a catering kitchen and an added second floor housing more studio spaces.
For Fay, the building becoming an homage to the arts is ironic. That’s because she became an international artist.
“I was always drawn to the arts,” she said. “I would paint in here. It was hot as hell.”
Her grandmother Winnie Hayden bought a lot of land beginning in the 1950s, she said.
“She was the daughter of immigrants and believed a lot in land,” she said. “My grandmother was a pistol. She was the alpha.”
Hayden raised money to buy land by working as hairdresser styling famous ladies’ hair at the Colony Hotel where she had a beauty salon, Fay said.
The Delray warehouse was used for storage and moving. She built another warehouse for IBM in Boca and owned land in west Delray. The family had a home on Palm Trail that her father helped build.
“I remember being this high and coming into this building,” Fay said lowering her hand to the floor to show how tall she was as a young girl. “I just remember as a kid walking into a little box that was the office. It’s unbelievable what’s been done to it.”
Fay said her father was going to give the building to her, but she was off working in Hong Kong and Taipei as an artist so the family sold the warehouse in the 90s.
The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency purchased the vacant 15,000-square-foot warehouse in 2010 for $1 million. Ever since, the agency has been pursuing ways to turn it into a space for emerging artists to work and showcase their pieces.
Fay said she always wanted to become an artist. She received her BFA from Florida Atlantic University and painted the mansions on Palm Beach. Then she lived in London and eventually traveled the world doing work in Hong Kong and Taipei for companies like Delta Airlines and Hyatt.
She has a studio in Boynton Beach where she also lives. It is a 1925 home.
“I have so many memories here,” Fay said of the warehouse. “My grandmother loved that I did spin off and become an artist. I wonder if she is looking down on me now.”