Six Questions with New President & CEO, Dave Lawrence

A Q&A with Dave Lawrence

Dave Lawrence

After a months-long search led by Arts Consulting Group, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County will be welcoming a new president and CEO, Dave Lawrence, in August. While our team has already had the opportunity to get to know Dave before he arrives—we want to give you, our cultural community, a chance to hear more from him. That’s why we’ve asked Dave a few questions in advance, on behalf of our community, to learn more about how he got involved in the arts, what interested him about Palm Beach County and hear his special message for our community.

How did you get involved with the arts?

Dave Lawrence (DL): The arts have always been a part of my life. I started playing the cello in the fourth grade. I’ve been a singer, a saxophonist, an actor and a stage director, as well. I made my professional theatre debut at the Brown County Playhouse in Nashville, Indiana. My parents made sure that arts and cultural experiences were part of our upbringing…and it stuck!

What interested you in this position at the Cultural Council?

DL: When I served as a [Cultural Council of Palm Beach County] grants panelist in 2013, I was extremely impressed with the level of artistic quality and the depth and breadth of the arts and cultural community. The staff of the Cultural Council and the board members that I met were so wonderful and welcoming. I’ve served on panels across the country, yet it was my time in Palm Beach County that left the biggest impression on me.

As a seasoned arts professional, what aspect of this position are you most eager to dig into? 

DL: I truly cannot wait to meet the arts organization representatives, the artistic directors, the artists, and all those who make the arts come alive in Palm Beach County. I’m also looking forward to digging into the Cultural Council’s programs for the community. There are some terrific initiatives that I cannot wait to see unfold.

How do you see the relationship working between the arts and community, as a whole? How do you think the arts can advance our future?

DL: The arts are an essential part of the fabric of the community. They make communities whole. They play an important role in education. They are essential to community vitality and vibrancy—helping to attract and retain top talent for our business community. They are critical to cultural tourism strategies. Quite simply, and admittedly I am a bit biased here, but the arts ARE our future.

You’re an avid enthusiast of roller coasters! When did this fascination start, and now that you’re moving to the Sunshine State, which roller coaster is next for you?

DL: I have always been intrigued by roller coasters. I look at them as kinetic sculptures – machines designed purely for fun. Every summer growing up, my parents would take us to Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio. I wouldn’t be able to sleep for days ahead of the visits. I think I’ve connected family and traditions with the fun of amusement parks. I’ve been all over the world riding coasters. It has been a great excuse for travel (not that anyone should need an excuse for travel). As far as coasters that are next up for me: there is a big and beautiful new coaster at Sea World that I haven’t ridden yet. So, that will be on my agenda at some point.

Is there anything you’d like to communicate to our members and member organizations before you arrive? 

DL: My message to our members and member organizations is quite simple: I truly cannot wait to meet you and thank you for your support! I hope to learn what our members find most meaningful about our work and how together we can expand and grow the arts in Palm Beach County. I look forward to working with our extremely talented staff and the amazing board of directors as we look to our next 40 years.


For more on Dave’s arrival and on his background in Indianapolis, you can read the Palm Beach Daily News interview with Dave.