Cultural Council for Palm Beach County Celebrates 2024 Muse Award Winners


Posted by: Linnea Bailey

March 29, 2024

The Cultural Council’s ‘An A-MUSE-ing Evening’ honored winners and raised funds with live performances, a cocktail reception and unforgettable food art pieces


It was a dazzling, creative evening that celebrated arts and culture in The Palm Beaches and its supporters.

Held March 7 at The Hangar in West Palm Beach, guests donned their most stylish, food and art-focused cocktail apparel for the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County’s annual fundraising soirée, An A-MUSE-ing Evening. Taking a cue from the success of 2023’s “Met Gala” inspired event, the lively rendezvous was led by the Council’s Advocacy, Outreach, and Events Committee Chair Cheryl K. Crowley and featured the much-anticipated Muse Award presentations, exhilarating live performances, artist-foodie collaborations, culinary and cocktail delights and a silent auction featuring original artwork by Palm Beach County-based professional artists. The Cultural Council paid the artists for their work and additional 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 2024 Muse Awards. Northern Trust received the Muse Award for Outstanding Business Support for the Arts, while Edith Bush (community activist, cultural leader and executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Coordinating Committee) was honored with the Muse Award for Outstanding Cultural Ambassador. Founded to increase funding to local nonprofits (including many cultural organizations), The Great Charity Challenge received the Muse Award for Community Arts Champion, and The Thalia Award for Lifetime Achievement went to Frances Fisher, a volunteer, donor, board member, advocate and ambassador for many cultural organizations, including the Cultural Council.

“We are honored to recognize the outstanding companies and individuals who continually work to make Palm Beach County’s arts and cultural community such 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, Northern Trust has a long history of supporting arts and culture in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. From hosting student art exhibits, noted authors and artists to supporting and providing valuable knowledge and resources to cultural organizations (such as the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Palm Beach Dramaworks and the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum), Northern Trust’s employees have contributed countless hours, expertise and their own resources to supporting and serving many of Palm Beach County’s cultural organizations.

Recipient of the Muse Award for Outstanding Cultural Ambassador, Edith Bush was a founding member of a committee that began in as the Black Educators Caucus in 1971 but expanded as the membership became more diverse and merged with the Women’s International League for Peach and Freedom, sponsoring remedial tutoring services. From those early beginnings, the committee grew to include oratory, poster and drama contests commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s January birth date, the provision of African American cultural programs and participation in the Cultural Council’s annual multicultural festival. In 1981, she established the Martin Luther King Jr. Coordinating Committee to further the messages and work of Dr. King and provide programs and services to inspire the community. She has received numerous awards including the Individual Leadership Award from Palm Beach State College.

Recipient of the Muse Award for Community Arts Champion, The Great Charity Challenge was founded in 2009 to increase funding to local nonprofit organizations at a time when donations were scarce following the 2008 economic crisis. In its first year, their signature event generated more than $400,000 and benefited 24 local charities. Today, the event — which brings the local equestrian community together with a stadium full of passionate nonprofit advocates in a colorful and exciting show — has grown to benefit more than 30 local charities competing for more than $2 million each year. To date, the organization has distributed $19.4 million to 318 Palm Beach County nonprofit organizations, including many cultural organizations.

Named after one of the nine Muses in Greek mythology, The Thalia Award for Lifetime Achievement 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. Recipient Frances Fisher has worked tirelessly with many cultural organizations throughout Palm Beach County, including the Cox Science Center and Aquarium, Mounts Botanical Garden, the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County and the Ann Norton Sculpture Garden. She has been integral to the development of the NeuroArts movement in Palm Beach County focused on brain health and wellness through the arts. Fisher continually shows passion, sensitivity, grace and a commitment to arts education and historic preservation.

The evening’s performance artists included award-winning jazz vocalist Yvette Norwood-Tiger — who began her set perched on a rare Ducati motorcycle courtesy of The Hangar — and a performance by South Florida-based Japanese taiko drumming group Fushu Daiko, who brought the house down with their high-energy set. Soul musician Matt Brown kept the crowd moving and grooving during the cocktail reception, and artist Kyle Lucks painted a piece live throughout the evening as onlookers watched.

Showcasing the concept of “food is art,” “foodies” or chefs were paired with talented commissioned artists to create unforgettable food-art inspired pieces purchased during the event’s silent auction. With hors d’oeuvres by Northern Trust’s Executive Chef Grant Gillen, edible treats included a “Painting Palette Charcuterie Display,” inspired by artist Jennifer Noelle’s crochet charcuterie spread and a cocktail shrimp skewer inspired by artist David Bergstein’s painting. Artist Josh Fradis collaborated with ice sculpture company Styled Ice to display three of his blown glass pairs in a vine ice sculpture box, and artist Pat Crowley’s artwork was turned into a mini-cake by Earth and Sugar.

“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 associate vice president of development. “It was so wonderful to see so many people coming together to celebrate the individuals and businesses that make arts and culture in Palm Beach County a roaring success.”

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 November, the Council announced that it is poised to provide more funding for Palm Beach County’s arts and cultural sector over the next 12 months than it has at any single point in its 46-year history.

Named the YES! Campaign, the new campaign is the culmination of planning and new funding initiatives supported by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners, Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council, the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, the Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation, and individual philanthropists that combined now total nearly $12.6 million to support the cultural sector in Palm Beach County.

Sponsors include The Angelwish Fund, Northern Trust, The Roe Green Foundation, Roe Green, Cheryl and Brian Crowley, Karen and Richard Bodwell, David Cohen and Paul Bernabeo, Donald M. Ephraim and Terri Sriberg for The Donald M. Ephraim Family Foundation, Stephen Jacobs and Marilyn Wilson, Lisa H. Peterfreund, Merrill G. & Emita Hastings Foundation, J.A.R. Moeller LLC, Lessing’s Hospitality Group, The Hangar, and Ma’am Kind. Special thanks to the members of the Cultural Council’s advocacy, outreach, and events committee: Committee Chair Cheryl K. Crowley, Bruce A. Beal, David Cohen, Phillip Edwards, Jean Sharf, and Davicka N. Thompson.

Planning is already underway for next year, and sponsorships are available. For more information, contact Jessica Lavin, associate vice president 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 and offers complimentary resources for visitors in its Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Visitor Information Center. The Council is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 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