Results of inaugural assessment are guiding the agency’s role in meeting sector’s needs,
enriching the cultural vitality of local arts organizations and professional artists
Palm Beach County’s cultural community has spoken, and its local arts agency is responding.
Earlier this year, the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County embarked on a research project to understand the needs of the cultural sector and the specific role that the Council can play to enrich the cultural vitality of the county, economically advance local professional artists and support cultural organizations’ growth and success.
The Council deployed its Cultural Sector Needs Assessment to local professional artists and organizations throughout The Palm Beaches from March through May. The evaluation consisted of two parts: a robust online survey distributed to cultural organization representatives and professional artists (including visual artists, actors, dancers, vocalists, musicians, and writers), followed by a series of focus groups designed to provide further insight into questions raised in the survey. The project took four months to complete.
“The information we learned through this research will enable us to make sure that our work is guided by the sector’s needs for years to come,” said Dave Lawrence, the Cultural Council’s president and CEO. “The results of our Cultural Sector Needs Assessment have been impactful in the planning of our current season and will be instrumental in the development of the Council’s new strategic plan early next year.”
The survey drew 520 qualified respondents, including more than 300 professional artists. The results found that the top needs of artists included career support, assistance with generating income, funding to offset the cost of doing business and meaningful networking. Top needs of cultural organizations included funding, board recruitment and management, staffing, audience development, venues and facilities, and assistance with equity, diversity and inclusion.
In direct response to the Needs Assessment, the Council’s staff has taken immediate action to implement findings from the research, planning a series of programs and services for both creative professionals and cultural organizations. New programs in support of local artists for the 2022-23 season include an Open Studios event, planned for May 20, 2023; a new series of events targeting art collectors; and networking opportunities for artists, including an expansion of the Council’s popular artist-led critique groups throughout the county.
New programs to benefit cultural organizations include a planned searchable job bank, the creation of a master database for key organization personnel and additional networking opportunities for cultural sector employees throughout the year. The Council will continue to offer programs and services that assist organizations with audience development and inclusion, including its second Arts and Tourism Summit on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion with Discover The Palm Beaches in August 2023. The report’s results will also inform advocacy messages, grant and donor funding requests, as well as programs and services that serve the sector.
“As the local arts service agency for Palm Beach County, we endeavor to serve our cultural sector in new and impactful ways, creating opportunities for engagement, promoting cultural tourism, and working to build equity and access to cultural experiences for residents and visitors alike,” Lawrence said. “Research studies such as the Cultural Sector Needs Assessment help us hone our work and respond quickly to our community’s needs.”
Local consultant Surale Phillips of Decision Support Partners and West Palm Beach-based marketing firm The Mosaic Group were instrumental in the execution and analysis of the assessment. The project was made possible through a grant from the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation.
The Cultural Council’s 2022/23 full schedule of exhibitions, events and professional development opportunities is available at palmbeachculture.com.
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 local 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 palmbeachculture.com.
Linnea Bailey (561) 713-0673