West Palm Beach and Palm Beach, Fla., are working to put their communities on the arts and entertainment map by introducing a new cultural district.

The West Palm Beach Arts & Entertainment District launched Nov. 13. The partnership includes over 20 cultural venues: art galleries, performance venues, studios and museums, the Norton Museum of Art and the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

“Our waterfront is an important differentiating factor,” West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Associate Director Teneka James, who worked on the formation of the new district, said in a statement. “Many areas of the country are trying to better connect with art-minded visitors, but our spectacular waterfront location – where most of our partners are located (on both sides of the bridge) – sets this new A&E District apart.”

DDA Board Chairman Howard Pincus said on the Miami section of the Broadway World website that the DDA has been investing in and supporting arts and culture for years as an integral part of the downtown experience.

“The new district will help residents, regular patrons and out-of-market visitors better understand the scope and caliber of our cultural assets,” Pincus wrote.

According to its website, the district is already hitting the ground running with a series of exhibits. The first Florida showing of Edwina Sandy’s sculpture “Breakthrough,” carved from a piece of the Berlin Wall, will be unveiled Nov. 28 at the Paul Fisher Galley in West Palm Beach.

Additionally, Grammy nominee and saxophonist Dave Koz will be coming to the Kravis Center Nov. 30, and the Ann Norton House will host the Festival of Trees Gala Dec. 5. The Paul Fisher Downtown Galley will host the graffiti art of John “Crash” Matos on Dec. 19.

“What is good for the arts patron will also be exponentially good for the city and our downtown,” James said in a statement. “The unified district will drive attendance at these cultural attractions, which in turn will attract more restaurants and shops seeking serve those visitors.”

PNC Bank is one of the district’s presenting sponsors. Jim Peppelman, a wealth director at the bank, wrote on BroadwayWorld that an arts and entertainment district in downtown West Palm Beach is a natural fit. The area is full of art and cultural experiences ranging from street performers to pop-up galleries to the opera and museum.

“This vibrant district delivers on its brand promise to deliver an inspiring, original experience,” Peppelman wrote. “We want to foster that kind of thinking.”

A complete listing of participating venues along with special packages and dining and hotel savings can be found at DowntownWPBArts.com.


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