03 Jan Treasures in Our Backyard
Treasures in Our Backyard
You might not realize it, but there’s a great treasure in the Lake Worth community housed in a historic building downtown. The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County is headquartered in the historic Lake Theater – now known as the Robert M. Montgomery Jr. Building.
The Cultural Council of 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.
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, 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.
The Cultural Council’s headquarters opened as the Lake Theater on February 29, 1940. Details about the next 40 years are sketchy, although it’s known to have housed a pizza parlor and a disco. In 1980, it was purchased by a well known financier and entrepreneur, J. Patrick Lannan Sr., who used it as a showplace for his collection of contemporary and modern American and European art. It also became a venue for a wide array of cultural partners.
In 1988 the portion of he collection was donated to Palm Beach Community College, which managed the museum for the next several years. In 1999, the building and collection was purchased by Robert and Mary Montgomery. Its next phase was as the home of the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, which had its home in the building until 2005. In 2010, it was donated to the Cultural Council.
The Montgomery Building is thriving today as a home to exhibitions, concert performances, classes and community meetings and a wide range of other program managed by the Cultural Council.
B&B Insurance is proud to call the Cultural Council its neighbor. As a leading provider of car insurance in Lake Worth Florida and one of the best known car insurance agencies in the community, B&B Insurance applauds the work of the Cultural Council in making Palm Beach County a more appealing place to live and work.