Inauguration, an Introduction for Young Local Artist

By Lindsay Cohen email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) -- She might not be able to vote -- yet -- but she can cast her paintbrush with the best of them.

And now, the local high school student's artwork will be on display for thousands in downtown West Palm Beach as they gather to celebrate the presidential inauguration.

15 year-old Brittany Bennett, a sophomore at Dreyfoos School of the Arts, says she wanted to convey the magnitude of Barack Obama's inauguration in her artwork, which was chosen to be featured on thousands of posters that will handed out to the public and put up throughout downtown on inauguration day, Tuesday, January 20th.

"The mayor asked to convey hope and also to bring in the tropical-ness of West Palm into it," Bennett said, "So I had [Obama] looking up so that kind of represented hope. The colors and the palm trees in the background here, bringing West Palm into it."

The city is handing out free posters with Bennett's artwork to commemorate the event during the day-long celebration in downtown West Palm Beach.

The event kicks off at noon, as the city broadcasts Obama's swearing-in ceremony live on a jumbo LED screen in Centennial Square. The festivities continue into the night, with food, fun, and music.

Bennett says that even though she's not old enough to cast a ballot, she still recognizes the importance of this year's inauguration.

"I have the honor of, like, creating this -- that so many people are going to see and remember," Bennett said. "It's [historic] and people are going to remember it for that. It's a lot of exposure for my artwork. It's very important that I'm linked with this."

If you go: City of West Palm Beach Inauguration Celebration

When: Tuesday January 20th, 2009

Event list:

12 Noon: Live Swearing-In Viewing Party on jumbo LED screen
Watch President Obama's swearing-in ceremony live on a jumbo LED screen downtown in Centennial Square for free or at some of the downtown businesses. Information about deals and celebrations offered by downtown merchants can be found at

6:00 - 9:30 pm: A special Tuesday Clematis by Night Inauguration Celebration  
To celebrate the occasion, the city is moving its weekly Thursday night event, Clematis by Night, to Tuesday, January 20th. There will be live music, dancing, food and drinks, and a special presidential celebration. The event is free and open to the public. (There will not be a Clematis by Night event on Thursday, January 22nd.)

7:00 pm: A Salute to President Obama
The city will host a special salute including a flag-raising ceremony, the West Palm Beach Fire and Police Honor Guards, a recitation of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, a video montage of West Palm Beach's African-American pioneers, a special message from Mayor Lois Frankel, and a video replay of President Obama's swearing-in ceremony.

All day and evening: free commemorative posters

Guests the viewing party locations or to the Clematis by Night Inauguration Celebration can pick up a free commemorative poster while supplies last. The city of West Palm Beach created 10,000 Inauguration Celebration commemorative posters using the artwork of Dreyfoos School of the Arts digital media sophomore Brittany Bennett. The poster features a graphic image of President Barack Obama and will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Directions to Clematis by Night
From I-95: exit east onto Okeechobee Boulevard. Travel east on Okeechobee until you reach Quadrille Boulevard. Turn left (north) onto Quadrille Boulevard and proceed north until you arrive at Clematis Street. At Clematis Street make a right (east) and continue east past Olive Avenue to Centennial Square. Centennial Square is located in the 100 block of Clematis Street between Narcissus Avenue and Flagler Drive.  

Ample public parking is available at the following City garages and surface lots:
The Banyan Street Garage, at Banyan Boulevard and Olive Avenue just one block north of Clematis Street
The City Hall surface parking lot, located wast of City Hall at Olive Avenue and Banyan Street just one block north of Clematis Street
The Evernia Street Garage, located at Evernia Street and Olive Avenue, two blocks south of Clematis Street
The new Clematis Street Garage, located at Clematis Street and Quadrille Avenue
Numerous private parking lots in the downtown area are also available for parking and a free trolley runs round-trip from Clematis Street to CityPlace