You’ve seen your fair share of fantastic museums, theaters, galleries and more here in The Palm Beaches, but for those who opt for the road less traveled…there’s still so much to explore! Here are just a few cultural organizations and events, chosen by our Cultural Concierge, to keep an eye on here in Florida’s Cultural Capital®.
Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts
Nestled in a former Florida East Coast Railroad train depot in the heart of Lake Worth, Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts is the rare hidden gem that actually produces “gems” in the form of glass, stone and metal. The center is composed of six separate sections dedicated to glassblowing, flameworking, fusing, welding and a gallery and gift shop for artists to show off and sell the creations they’ve made. Benzaiten also houses a metal foundry—where else can you see something like that?
Of course, you can take the plunge and sign up for any one of the dozens of classes that the center offers throughout the week, or if you just want to come by and see what the professionals are working on, all of the studios are open-air and available for the public to visit.
Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
Subtle sculptures amid gorgeous greenery—that’s the simple description of one of West Palm Beach’s more secluded cultural organizations, Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens. This “secret garden” of The Palm Beaches comprises a 1920s house and outdoor space originally owned by Ralph Norton (of Norton Museum of Art). His second wife, Ann Weaver Norton, was a noted sculptor and built an additional studio space to accommodate her work.
Now, Ann’s sculptures decorate the garden space and, along with the home and studio, are open for the public to visit and appreciate her incredible, large-scale pieces crafted from brick, clay and stone. It’s a can’t-miss opportunity for those eager to get lost in art!
Spady Cultural Heritage Museum
Eager to take a look through Palm Beach County’s past? Spady Cultural Heritage Museum celebrates African-American, Haitian-American and Caribbean-American history through annual heritage festivals, trolley tours of its neighborhood in Delray Beach and through its rotating art and photographic exhibitions on-site.
Every summer, the organization hosts its inspirational Juneteenth Celebration, which marks an important date in American and Floridian history—the day that slavery was abolished. When it comes to examining life in Palm Beach County, there’s no place quite like Spady Cultural Heritage Museum.
Breaking out from the mold of dedicated seasonal ballet and dance favorites (think “The Nutcracker,” “Swan Lake,” etc.), DKDC/DIY Projects of West Palm Beach dedicates all of its energy to site-specific modern dance projects and the creative process. Since 1986, dancer, choreographer and National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Fellow, Demetrius Klein, has been teaching modern dance and bringing new choreography to the South Florida arts scene.
Now, he’s built his original organization Demetrius Klein Dance Company (DKDC) out to serve as a place to create new works, provide education to interested dance students and provide collaborative services to partner cultural organizations. Over the last few years, the organization has created site-specific modern dance installations across Palm Beach County, including an original adaptation of Handel’s “Messiah” (typically reserved for singers and musicians) and new works such as “Laurel,” which premiered in 2017.
Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum
Incorporated in 1925 at the behest of architect and Palm Beach socialite, Addison Mizner, Boca Raton remains Palm Beach County’s southernmost city with all manner of arts and culture for visitors to enjoy. The history of this intricate city can be explored in full at the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum, housed in the original 1927 Town Hall building. There, guests and history buffs can enjoy permanent collections from the city’s time as an Army Air Corps base during World War II and as a booming technology destination and home to one of IBM’s computer facilities in the 1970s and 1980s, among other eras.
Fun fact: the museum also owns the Boca Express Train Museum, where transportation enthusiasts and their families can tour a historic Florida East Coast Railway Depot and two 1947 Seaboard Air Line streamlined rail cars.