WPBT launches new 'Art Loft' series

ArtArts and CultureArtistsNorton Museum of ArtAnnie LeibovitzDelray Beach

South Florida's visual artists, performers and musicians have a new TV canvas to showcase their work.

That's "Art Loft," a new weekly art series that launches at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on WPBT-Ch. 2 (airing from the Keys to Palm Beach). The show will also focus on national artists as well as arts groups that are helping establish South Florida as a global arts mecca.

The series, which has been in development since last year, serves to give local artists a broadcast platform at a time when many commercial news stations have reduced their arts coverage, WPBT officials say.

"We have sensed from the community a real gap in arts coverage,'' said Neal Hecker, chief content officer for WPBT. "We think the audience will be interested. It seemed like the right time."

Hosted by Kalyn Chapman James, the first episode features Arts Garage, a Delray Beach city-based cultural arts venue. That episode also profiles veteran violinist Itzhak Perlman, who recently performed at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale and Miami choreographer Rosie Herrera whose dance troupe recently made its New York debut with "Various Stage of Drowning: A Cabaret."

Future episodes will include an interview with photographer Annie Leibovitz at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach and Miami artist David "Lebo" Le Batard. There will also be a segment on the public art spaces in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Supplementing the local coverage will be segments contributed by PBS stations around the country. Overall, "Art Loft" is expected to run through the end of August. The program is funded by grants from the Newman's Own Foundation and Alvah H. & Wyline P. Chapman Foundation.

It's not the first time WPBT has presented a regular local arts program. From 2007 to 2008, the station aired "Art 360'" which also focused on the tri-county arts scene.

johnnydiaz@tribune.com or 954-356-4939

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