The Cultural Council’s ‘An A-Muse-ing Evening’ at The Colony Hotel honored winners and raised funds with live performances, a cocktail reception and an art-filled silent auction


It was a dynamic, unforgettable evening of honoring the arts in Palm Beach County and its supporters.


Held April 3 at Palm Beach’s The Colony Hotel, guests donned their most stylish, imaginative cocktail apparel for the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County’s fundraising soirée, An A-MUSE-ing Evening. A twist on prior Muse Awards ceremonies, the lively rendezvous was hosted by Showstopping Benefactress Roe Green and featured the much-anticipated Muse Award presentations, live performances, a cocktail reception with passed hors-d’oeuvres, a red carpet for attendees to showcase their creative attire and a silent auction featuring original artwork by Palm Beach County-based artists. The Cultural Council paid the artists for their work and all proceeds went to the Cultural Council.


The Cultural Council continued its annual tradition of honoring outstanding businesses and individuals who support arts and culture through the presentation of the 2023 Muse Awards. Bank of America received the Muse Award for Outstanding Business Support for the Arts, while Gary Cadwallader (Director of Education and Community Engagement for Palm Beach Dramaworks) was honored with the Muse Award for Outstanding Cultural ImpactDigital artist, entrepreneur, business owner and arts and culture advocate A.J. Brockman received the Muse Award for Outstanding Cultural Ambassador, and The Thalia Award went to Peggy Katz and in memory of Rick Katz. Longtime arts champion Gary Schweikhart (who supports many arts and cultural organizations through his business, Public Relations By Schweikhart, or PR-BS) earned the Media Vanguard Award.


“We feel so honored to recognize the outstanding companies and individuals who have made Palm Beach County’s arts and cultural community a vital part of tourism, our economy and our quality of life,” said Dave Lawrence, the Cultural Council’s president and CEO.


Recipient of the Muse Award for Outstanding Business Support for the Arts, Bank of America believes in the power of the arts to help educate and enrich societies, bring communities together and create greater cultural understanding. It has been steadfast in its support of the arts and annually support more than 1,500 nonprofit cultural institutions around the world — including in Palm Beach County. Palm Beach-based Market Executive and Managing Director Woodard Middleton and Senior Vice President and Market Executive Stephanie Glavin have been instrumental in countless local initiatives to support arts and culture.


Recipient of the Muse Award for Outstanding Cultural Impact, Gary Cadwallader is a professional director, actor, and educator who is passionate about “arts for all.” He serves as director of education and community engagement for Palm Beach Dramaworks in West Palm Beach, where he creates theatre-based programming, master classes, and professional development workshops for students and educators. Palm Beach Dramaworks provides vibrant educational opportunities for students while nurturing creativity, inspiring artistic potential, and encouraging self-expression. Each year, the theater’s programs reach more than 26,000 students.


Recipient of the Muse Award for Outstanding Cultural Ambassador, A.J. Brockman is Palm Beach County business owner and award-winning artist. In 2014, he created the Brewhouse Gallery, an art gallery and craft beer bar. In 2016, he took ownership of an entire city block in Lake Park and brought the Kelsey Theatre back to life as a national music venue. He created a nonprofit organization called Kelsey Cares to underwrite programs for artists and remove financial barriers. One of its signature programs is Back Alley Mural Fest that has created one of the largest continuous murals in South Florida.


Named after one of the nine Muses in Greek mythology, The Thalia Award is presented to individuals who have exhibited strong and sustained leadership in developing, supporting and/or promoting Palm Beach County’s arts and cultural assets. Recipients Peggy and Rick Katz served as volunteers, donors and perhaps the biggest cheerleaders for the Maltz Jupiter Theatre for decades. Rick was a founding board member, and while he is no longer with us, Peggy is continuing their long legacy of support for the arts and the Maltz Jupiter Theatre.


Recipient of the Media Vanguard Award, Gary Schweikhart has spent more than 50 years in the yak-yak business. A tireless supporter of arts and culture, he co-created the Cultural Council’s Culture & Cocktails series 19 years ago and has continued to co-produce it ever since. He has represented numerous arts and culture initiatives through the years, with current cultural clients that include the Palm Beach Photographic Centre, Boca Raton Historical Society, Mounts Botanical Garden, and Arts Garage Delray Beach. He is also board president of the Carbonell Awards.


The evening’s performance artists included vocalist Mikayla Smith, who brought the house down with her soulful rendition of Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” and a performance from classically trained violinist Gareth Johnson. The flamenco jazz fusion band Urban Gypsy kept the crowd moving and grooving during the cocktail reception, and hoop artist Abbigail Arevalo of Abyssal Hoops greeted guests as they arrived with a stunning outdoor performance on the lawn.


“The event was a reflection of the spirit of arts and culture in The Palm Beaches: upbeat, fun and creative,” said Jessica Lavin, the Cultural Council’s director of development. “It was so wonderful to see so many people coming together to celebrate the individuals and organizations that make arts and culture in Palm Beach County a roaring success.”


Handcrafted by Palm Beach County-based professional artists Luis Montoya and Leslie Ortiz, each Muse Award recognizes monumental achievement in supporting, sustaining, and championing arts and culture in Palm Beach County. The recipients were selected by the Cultural Council’s Advocacy, Outreach, and Events Committee.


The Cultural Council provides services to cultural organizations and creative professionals, administers public and private grant programs, advocates for cultural funding, and promotes cultural tourism. In 2022, the Cultural Council provided $4,574,867 in grants to cultural organizations, $70,000 in grants to creative professionals, and generated nearly $100,000 in stipends to artists and organizations for programs and activations.


Sponsors for An A-MUSE-ing Evening included Showstopping Benefactress Roe Green; A-Muse Sponsor The Angelwish Fund; Red Carpet Sponsors Cheryl and Brian Crowley; Artiste Sponsors Frances and Jeffrey Fisher, Stephen Jacobs andNorthern Trust; and En Vogue Sponsor Seacoast Bank and REG Architects. Special thanks to the members of the Cultural Council’s outreach, advocacy, and events committee: Jean S. Sharf, Bruce A. Beal, David Cohen, Committee Chair Cheryl K. Crowley, Phillip Edwards and Davicka N. Thompson.


Planning is already underway for next year, and sponsorships are available. For more information, contact Jessica Lavin, director of development, at


About the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County
The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County is the official support agency for arts and culture in The Palm Beaches, Florida’s Cultural Capital®. Headquartered in the historic Robert M. Montgomery, Jr. building in Downtown Lake Worth Beach, the Council presents exciting year-round exhibitions and performances featuring artists who live or work in Palm Beach County. The Council features spectacular work by Palm Beach County-based professional artisans in its Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach Store, offers complimentary resources for visitors in its Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Visitor Information Center and hosts frequent events in its outdoor Project Space, offering views of the building’s iconic Martin Luther King Jr. mural by renowned Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra. The council is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information and a comprehensive calendar of cultural events in The Palm Beaches, visit


Media Contact:
Linnea Bailey (561) 713-0673