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Meet Rolando Chang Barrero of The Box Gallery in West Palm Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rolando Chang Barrero.

Rolando, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I move to South Beach around 1980 and did the bartender/retail shuffle while doing some rock graphics and a bit of modeling for a few different companies. I eventually worked for designer Ted Lapidus in Bal Harbor Shops and later relocated to Beverly Hills, eventually working for Torie Steele who had just opened her boutique on Rodeo Drive.

After a few years I moved back to South Beach to finish my studies with lifelong mentors and art world provocateurs that had gather at Miami Dade College and opened a small art studio on Lincoln Road. Eventually moving again. This time I landed in Chicago. I lived and work in my studio in what is now the PilsenArt District and did many internships at amazing and vibrate art galleries including Latino Fine Art, Randolph Street Gallery, and Name Gallery to mention a few. While attending The School of the Art Institute of Chicago I received a number of honors, scholarships, degrees, and finally the coveted Ryerson Traveling Fellowship upon graduation. It was the Ryerson Fellowship that changed my world, by allowing me to visit Cuba in 199o with fellow Cuban artists for the first time. My experience there was so different, so enlightening, it opened my eyes to so many other realities. I created my thirst to explore the rich art and unique cultures of other countries. The fellowship money ran out and so I returned to Chicago to look for work. I was soon offered the position as Interim Gallery Director of Miami-Dade back in Florida so, once again I returned to South Beach to set up an art studio for the second time on Lincoln Road.

I worked on many projects collaboratively and on my own at the same time I was curating exhibitions for the Miami Dade College system, which included three galleries, and independently throughout South Florida. Soon I had saved enough money to travel again and the unrelenting thirst returned so, off I went to Europe, Asia, and South America to continue exploring.

In 1994 I was diagnosed with “brain cancer” and it wasn’t until 2009 that I returned to work after years of treatments and some of the most challenging and dark moments of my life.

I move out of South Beach and landed in Palm Beach County in 2010 where I have in a short 8 years re-established myself in the art world as a professional exhibiting artist, independent curator, public speaker, owner of The Box Gallery, ActivistArtistA Gallery, arts writer and publisher, founder of the award winning Boynton Beach Art District, I am the founder and president of 2 non-profit organization: The Florida Arts Association and Art Synergy, and most recently releasing a line of clothing and home accessories called Pajaro Paradise, as well as, lead television art and culture talk show host of Hola Palm Beach the first bilingual program in Palm Beach. County.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
At 56 years old, my journey has included many roads. The uphill roads have its many challenges, as do the downhill ones; some are smooth, some are riddled with potholes….they are all just roads that must be traversed.

My main challenge has been finding ways to mount myself back on the proverbial horse because I always seem choose the most spirited unbridled ones.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Box Gallery is a 4,000 sq. exhibition space that is primarily focused on providing pertinent works by emerging artists to be seen by patrons, collectors, critiques, and fellow artists. The goals are threefold. First to engage people in discourse and present challenges to the contemporary art narratives. Secondly, to establish, support, or reject the relevance of the content and context within those narratives, and finally to quash the idea that all artworks are derivative and/or commodity.

I do a lot of everything in the arts, I’m not a part-time anything. I think that’s also how people see me too. I aim really high, so even when I don’t reach the apex, it’s near enough to forge onward.

What I’m proud of and what sets me apart are the same. I love a good challenge and embrace my falls knowing I’ll find a different way to reach the summit of my life as a whole and complete human being without regrets.

What were you like growing up?
I was a pain in the ass. I was bored with everything and everyone. I was mischievous and downright delinquent at times. I had a pocketful of ideas, questions, sarcastic remarks…I always had an off color joke about everything. I could easily see through things that my parents tried to convince me were true, for instance, I knew we had no chimney for Santa to come down and there were too many locks on our doors so, I stayed up to figure out how we got presents…I was four or five at the time. I loved puzzles more than games, riddles too, more so, if I could figure them out. I didn’t relate to kids who did the same thing over and over again, so I was attracted to skipping school and exploring the Exxon refineries, the plastics manufacturers and slaughterhouses with any kid I could cohorce to go with me. In third grade I was held as the example to parents as “the one” they should keep their kids away from by Sister Mary Vincent, who was apparently not fooled by my doey eyed innocent looks.

I have really never grown up.

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Rolando Chang Barrero

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1 Comment

  1. Rolando Chang Barrero

    September 20, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you so very much! Honored and grateful!

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