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Downtown West Palm Beach Launches New Arts and Entertainment District

/ November 12, 2014 / www.bdb.org

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 10, 2014) – The much-anticipated West Palm Beach Arts & Entertainment District (A&E District) will officially launch on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. at the Downtown West Palm Beach Waterfront Pavilion, 101 S. Flagler Drive. The celebratory launch event features a spectacular live performance produced and directed by Steven Caras, starring performers affiliated with six of the member organizations, called ‘cultural partners.’

The newly formed Arts & Entertainment District is in the heart of South Florida’s most progressive city, and includes two cultural institutions in the Town of Palm Beach. It offers more than 20 distinct and distinguished cultural venues that together form an exciting destination with many layers of appeal for both local residents and visitors to enjoy. This unprecedented alliance of the area’s most interesting art galleries, performance venues, art studios, museums, and performing arts groups introduces a new platform to both promote and experience the arts and entertainment destinations in the area.  Arts patrons and culture vultures will have access to every cultural opportunity through a single website, downtownwpbarts.com, that will offer information on programming and visitor packages that may typically include admission tickets, dining and hotels at substantial savings. The website will be launched on Nov. 13 as well.

“Even before its official launch, the new A&E District is generating a great deal of interest and enthusiasm among our growing creative class, including artists, gallery owners, musicians, theater companies, and an array of other existing and start-up cultural institutions, so we expect the number of cultural partners to grow appreciably in the coming years,” said West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Associate Director, Teneka James, who worked on the formation of the District. “The A&E District will foster local cultural development and generate real value by creating new economic opportunities. In addition to enhancing the impact of our arts and cultural assets, the District concept is a powerful economic development tool. Restaurants like to cluster around galleries and cultural destinations, and we expect inquires about available Downtown locations to surge once we achieve significant awareness for the district.”

Howard Pincus, chair of the DDA board, noted that “ …the DDA has been investing in and supporting art and culture for years, viewing it 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.”

To date, the District’s cultural partners include Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, Armory Art Center, Bruce Helander Studio, Eaton Fine Art, Flagler Museum, Habatat Galleries, Historical Society of Palm Beach County, Legacy Fine Art Gallery, Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach, Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Palm Beach Opera, Palm Beach Pops, Palm Beach Symphony, Palm Beach Photographic Centre, Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Sunfest, Terebinth Studio & Gallery, Society of the Four Arts, and Uptown Art. Partners will be linked by a free trolley service that begins on Nov. 13, funded by the West Palm Beach DDA, City of West Palm Beach and PNC Bank. The “A&E Trolley” will run its loop from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

The launch event on Nov. 13 will feature an art and entertainment extravaganza produced and directed specifically to reflect the spectrum of cultural experiences offered by the District and its partners, including excerpts from Forbidden Broadway featuring Gina Kreizmar and Pas de Duke, choreographed by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The launch is funded in part by a generous donation from the A&E District’s presenting sponsor, PNC Bank. The bank’s Palm Beach County headquarters are located on Datura Street, and it has earned a reputation for its generous community support of arts and cultural initiatives.

“PNC takes great pride in our commitment to the communities we serve, so sponsoring the launch of the new Arts & Entertainment District in Downtown WPB is a natural fit,” said Jim Peppelman, Wealth Director at PNC Bank. “Downtown is home to so many art and cultural experiences, from exciting street performers to pop-up galleries at one end of the spectrum to the sophistication of Palm Beach Opera and the world class museum experience at the Norton Museum of Art. This vibrant District delivers on its brand promise to deliver an inspiring, original experience, and we want to foster that kind of thinking.”

For more information on the A&E District, visit downtownwpbarts.com  or call (561) 833-8873.

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