The cultural sector’s contribution to the School District of Palm Beach County and other learning locations.

*Originally published with year one survey data. Updated January 17, 2020 with year two data.

As late as the 1960s and 1970s, the value of the arts and its integral play within American culture were a given. Its evidence was not only visible on the concert stage but locally within private and public events and halls and within the home as a common form of expression. The use of the arts within education came without much argument. According to a study by the RAND Corporation, by the early 1990s, “the social and political pressures that culminated in what became known as the ‘culture wars’ put pressure on arts advocates to articulate the public value of the arts.” The intrinsic value of arts education was less promoted during this time and usurped by arguments about more measurable benefits such as economic impact.

The advantage of arts education is still perceived by many as subjective. Within the state of Florida, students who don’t pass the FCAT in reading or math, or who are identified as a low-performing tester in reading or math are required to take intensive remedial courses in place of an arts class. In high school, arts courses count as electives. In Florida, students struggling academically have fewer chances to take arts classes. To counteract declines in arts education, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Palm Beach County stretch their budgets to ensure students received arts and cultural experiences.

In 2017, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County (the Council) commissioned a study to assess contributions made by the county’s nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, (referred to herein as cultural organizations), to the School District of Palm Beach County (District) and other Palm Beach County schools. This study tracked contributions made during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years. The programs and services inventoried through both studies documented education received by students outside the District budget. Never before has there been a comprehensive inventory of this kind in Palm Beach County.

Cultural organizations provided data about the types of cultural education provided both during and outside of the school day to students and teachers in the District and other learning locations, as well as instructional time, budgets, and staffing dedicated to cultural education.

This two-year study is a record of education delivered by 55 nonprofit cultural organizations that provided cultural education in 94% of District schools and more than 300 other learning locations in Palm Beach County. Alone, those cultural organizations contributed $22.7 million in cultural education programming to District schools– an average of more than $250,000 per organization. This survey sample represents approximately 65% of all Palm Beach County cultural organizations providing education services within the county.

Key Findings

For the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years, 55 nonprofit cultural organizations in Palm Beach County:

Provided education in 94% of District schools and more than 300 other learning locations in Palm Beach County.

Contributed $22.7 million in cultural education programming to District schools at an average of $250,000 per organization.

Provided more than 760,000 cultural education experiences through more than 82,000 instructional hours to students in District schools.

Offered more than 1,000 different cultural experiences in 20 disciplines to District schools.

Provided more than 28,000 professional development experiences to District teachers in arts and culture.

Tracked close to 100,000 volunteer hours to deliver cultural education programs to District schools.

Participating Organizations

  1. Adopt A Family of the Palm Beaches
  2. Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
  3. April is for Authors Foundation
  4. Armory Art Center
  5. Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee
  6. Ballet Palm Beach
  7. Boca Ballet Theatre
  8. Boca Raton Children’s Museum
  9. Boca Raton Historical Society and Museum
  10. Boca Raton Museum of Art
  11. Center for Creative Education
  12. Centre for the Arts at Mizner Park
  13. Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach
  14. Core Ensemble
  15. Cultural Council of Palm Beach County
  16. Dance Theater of Florida
  17. Delray Beach Arts
  18. Faith’s Place Center for Arts Education
  19. Florida Intergenerational Orchestra
  20. Guatemalan-Maya Center
  21. Harid Conservatory
  22. Henry Morrison Flagler Museum
  23. Historical Society of Palm Beach County
  24. Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum
  25. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
  26. Lake Worth Playhouse
  27. Lighthouse ArtCenter
  28. Loggerhead Marinelife Center
  1. Maltz Jupiter Theatre
  2. Milagro Center
  3. Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
  4. Mounts Botanical Garden
  5. Norton Museum of Art
  6. Old School Square
  7. Palm Beach Atlantic University Dance
  8. Palm Beach Dramaworks
  9. Palm Beach Museum of Natural History
  10. Palm Beach Opera
  11. Palm Beach Photographic Centre
  12. Palm Beach Poetry Festival
  13. Palm Beach State College
  14. Palm Beach Symphony
  15. Palm Beach Zoo
  16. Philippine American Society
  17. Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach
  18. Resource Depot
  19. River Center
  20. Sandoway Discovery Center
  21. Solid Waste Authority
  22. South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
  23. Spady Cultural Heritage Museum
  24. Taras Oceanographic Foundation
  25. The Symphonia
  26. VSA Florida
  27. Yesteryear Village