History & PurposeThe Cultural Council of Palm Beach County was founded in 1978 through the vision and leadership of Alexander Dreyfoos, an inventor, successful business owner and community activist, who believed in the value of arts and culture in enhancing and sustaining strong economic and societal growth.
Now in its fourth decade, the Council has evolved to be a strong, multi-faceted local arts advocate with priorities that include providing grants to cultural organizations and professional artists, developing and advocating for cultural funding, enhancing arts education, providing services that build capacity and marketing the county as a destination for cultural tourism.
The Council is a private, not-for-profit, membership-based organization. As Palm Beach County’s officially designated agency for cultural development, the Council leads the way in nurturing, promoting and celebrating the artistic and cultural community in one of Florida’s largest and most diverse counties. In this leadership role, the Council administers a portion of local tourist development funds under contract with Palm Beach County government. It is also innovative and influential in creating additional funding for cultural programs, organizations and professional artists.
From its beginning, the Council has committed its energies and resources to being a catalyst for the establishment of new cultural institutions, enhancing existing organizations and encouraging opportunities for individual professional artists. From helping set the stage for the creation of the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, the Armory Art Center and the Center for Creative Education, to regularly assisting small, grassroots organizations through grant programs, technical support and capacity-building initiatives, the Council is focused on developing and maintaining a thriving arts and cultural environment in Palm Beach County.
As the Council has matured it has become a motivating force on a regional and national basis, providing support and leadership to similar agencies and programs, and taking an active role in the national dialogue and policies.
Upon opening its headquarters in the Robert M. Montgomery, Jr. Building in downtown Lake Worth, opportunities have expanded to achieve the Council’s ambitious goals. Better positioned than ever before to fulfill its mission and its vision for the future, the Council is now in year 4 of a 5 year Strategic Plan that charts a path for its success and that of the communities and key stakeholders it serves.
The Cultural Council is a private nonprofit corporation that provides a diverse array of arts and culture-related programs and manages a portion of local tourist development funds (“bed tax”) under contract with Palm Beach County, a program that has existed for more than thirty years. Each year, the Council must raise about 60% of its program funding from private sources such as individuals, foundations, corporations, and events. These private funds underwrite programs such as arts education, advocacy, artist services, and general management of programs. County “bed tax” funds that are allocated to the arts are managed by the Council each year to promote the County as a cultural tourism destination. Part of these public funds are used to provide annual grants to more than 35 cultural institutions that attract and serve tourists with excellent programming. The rest of these public funds are used for general promotional activities such as advertising and public relations.
As part of the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council (TDC), the Cultural Council also works with TDC sister agencies, including Discover the Palm Beaches, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Sports Commission and the Film and Television Commission, to promote Palm Beach County as a vibrant tourism destination.
Service to the community is at the heart of the Council’s mission. Over the years, we’ve offered critically needed technical assistance, networking opportunities, information sharing and basic assistance.
Some of these ongoing programs include:
Source for National Information
The Council is the local arts agency for this region. We continually gather information from national sources, especially Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization offering advocacy, technical assistance and collegial sharing. The Council stays current on studies produced by a variety of national resources.
The Council’s advocacy efforts cover public policy and funding issues locally, statewide and nationally.
The Council has three committees that meet monthly:
- The Cultural Executives Committee is a group of cultural leaders who meet to learn, network and collaborate. The group consists of senior management staff from more than 120 non-profit cultural organizations across Palm Beach County.
- The Cultural Education Committee is a group of youth program coordinators and education department representatives, encompassing visual art, dance, theatre, music, history and science.
- The Cultural Marketing Committee are marketing professionals from county arts organizations who meet to collaborate on marketing efforts, network and learn from occasional guest speakers.
Recognition and Awards
The Council regularly recognizes outstanding achievements in arts and culture in the county. These include the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship, the Ubertalli and Fyfe Awards, and since January 2007, the Council has held the Muse Awards, a signature event recognizing the best of the best in arts and culture in our county.
Statistics and Informational Resources
The Council is an important resource for information on arts and culture in the region and state. The Council conducts various surveys in order to provide relevant information to a number of sources including government, tourism organizations and business groups.
Find reports and other statistical information here
Over the years the Council has provided many events for the public and members, including lectures and gatherings at the homes of collectors. Click here to see upcoming Council events.
2014 Annual Report
The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County is an independent nonprofit membership organization with 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status, Florida Registration number CH1489. All contributions are deductible to the full extent of the law.