Our History and Mission
The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County was founded in 1978 (then named the Palm Beach County Council of the Arts) through the vision and leadership of Alexander W. Dreyfoos, an inventor, successful business owner and community activist, who believed in the value of arts and culture enhancing and sustaining strong economic and societal growth.
Over the past four decades, 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. Since 1978, the Cultural Council has built a strong foundation of support for the cultural sector here in Palm Beach County. There’s a remarkable history of creative thinking, big ideas and landmark programs that have led this organization to where we are today.
The Council is a private, non-profit, membership-based corporation. As The Palm Beaches’ 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 The Palm Beaches.
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 national dialogue and policies.
Our New Brand
To mark the next chapter in its 40-year legacy, the organization has refocused on service to cultural organizations and creative professionals in Palm Beach County. In 2019, the Council embarked on a 10-month journey to create a new brand that better articulates its mission and service area. Work included an in-depth audit, consumer survey, industry research, focus groups, new messaging and a new logo.
The Cultural Council’s new direction comprises the following four pillars:
- Defining the Cultural Council and articulating its mission and messaging to its respective audiences
- Enhancing the Council’s programs and services to meet or exceed the needs of all its constituencies
- Championing innovation across the cultural sector by creating new funding opportunities and making Palm Beach County a viable place for creative professionals to live, work and thrive
- Demonstrating excellence and making sure everything the Cultural Council does for the community is efficient, effective and responsible
Learn more about the Council’s new brand and focus in this insert from the winter 2020 issue of art&culture magazine.
Upon opening its headquarters in the Robert M. Montgomery Jr. building in downtown Lake Worth Beach, opportunities have expanded to achieve the Council’s ambitious goals. Better positioned than ever to fulfill its mission and its vision for the future, the Council continues to grow and take on new possibilities and responsibilities as it charts a path to success.
The Cultural Council is a private non-profit corporation that manages a portion of local tourist development funds (“bed tax”) under contract with Palm Beach County. Each year, the Council must raise about 60 percent 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 dozens of 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.
Service to the community is at the heart of the Council’s mission. Over the years, the Council has offered critically needed technical assistance, networking opportunities and information sharing to arts organizations. Some of these ongoing programs include:
The Institute for Cultural Advancement (ICA) is the Cultural Council’s signature, multitiered professional development program for cultural organizations and creative professionals. Generously sponsored by The Donald M. Ephraim Cultural Leadership Fund through the Donald M. Ephraim Family Foundation, ICA sessions are offered throughout the year and are free to all members of the Cultural Council and only $10 for non-members.
Awards and Recognition
The Council regularly recognizes outstanding achievements in arts and culture in the county. Awards for creative professionals include the Artist Innovation Fellowship Program, the Dina Baker Fund for Mature Female Artists and the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship. . And since January 2007, the Council has hosted the Muse Awards, our signature biennial gala recognizing the achievements of cultural organizations and individuals in Palm Beach County.
The Council’s advocacy efforts cover public policy and funding issues locally, statewide and nationally.
For years, the Council has hosted a great variety of events for members and for the public. These events include revolving exhibitions in our building’s gallery, lecture series with featured artists, It’s What You See luncheons with renowned art collectors, Art on the Road studio tours, Evenings at the Council concerts and the Culture & Cocktails conversation series.
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.
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 and technical assistance. The Council disseminates relevant arts-related studies produced by a variety of national resources.
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, Palm Beach County Convention Center, Sports Commission and Film and Television Commission to promote The Palm Beaches as a vibrant tourism destination.
The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County is a not for profit 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions to the Council are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County believes that our donors’ confidentiality should be protected. The Council will not sell or trade a donor’s personal information to any other entity in existence without their written permission.
A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free within the state. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state.