When dancer-choreographer Demetrius Klein learned he had won the $6,000 Randolph A. Frank Prize for the Performing Arts, he was shocked.
Klein didn’t have high hopes when one of his dancers nominated him for the prize. “I thought I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting it,” he said. “My work falls so far outside mainstream categories.”
To his surprise, “I think they got it,” he said of the judges.
The West Palm Beach resident, who is a dance critic for the Palm Beach Daily News, established the Demetrius Klein Dance Company, his first Palm Beach County company, in 1986 to perform postmodern work that embraced the community and contemporary themes.
His new company, DKDC/DIY Projects, formed in 2016, is even more community-based, he said. It performs work on a project-by-project basis in alternative venues, frequently tailoring the work to the site. Venues have included a bench on Clematis Street and the staircase of a West Palm Beach parking garage. Dancers can range in age from 10 to 60.
The award was among $18,000 in grants to individual artists the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County handed out last week during a luncheon at its headquarters in Lake Worth.
Dylan Evans, of Delray Beach, took home the $2,000 Frank prize for emerging performing artists. He’s a choral singer who performs with Palm Beach Opera, Delray Beach Chorale and St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach. He also teaches voice privately and serves on the Delray Beach Chorale board.
The Frank awards recognize artists who enrich the quality of the performing arts in Palm Beach County.
Klein’s company to dance two shows in West Palm Beach
Debra Yates, of Lake Worth, will use her $10,000 award from the Dina Baker Fund for Mature Female Artists to help pay for converting the carport of the cottage she moved into recently into a studio. She hasn’t been able to paint for six months while the work was under way.
She’ll also spend the money on art supplies. She has in mind a series of 12-foot paintings.
The prize goes to a Palm Beach County female artist 60 or older who demonstrates artistic merit and financial need. It comes with a solo show, which will be held April 28-May 26 at the Cultural Council.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “It’s the incentive I needed right now to get back quickly to painting.”
Debra Yates, recent winner of a $10,000 award from the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County’s Dina Baker Fund for Mature Artists, created this untitled painting in 2016. It measures 6 feet 8 inches by 7 feet 6 inches. Courtesy of the artist
Yates, who runs Burle Yates Design with her son, Benjamin, has been a professional artist and designer for 35 years. She’s executed several large-scale projects, including a 135-foot mosaic tile wall in Miami Beach and a 17-foot-by 5-foot painting at the airport in Key West, where she used to live. In 2000, she was the South Florida Cultural Consortium award winner for Monroe County.
Like Dina Baker, who established the prize in 2015, she’s an abstract painter.
Baker, who was one of the judges, was attracted to her work for that reason and because of its originality and beautiful colors, she said.
She’s a mature artist herself. At 93, she recently moved to Stuart, where she’s transforming her garage into a studio.
Dancer-choreographer Demetrius Klein performed a solo from his work North End last year in Lake Worth. Klein recently was awarded the Randolph A. Frank Prize for the Performing Arts by the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. Photo by Brian Padgett