The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County is a firm believer that arts and culture can have a positive effect on the local economy, tourism, and community engagement. However, there are several challenges that the arts community in the area faces. One of the main issues is the lack of access to art education for students who are struggling academically. In Florida, students who fail the FCAT in reading or math, or who are identified as underperforming evaluators in reading or math, must take intensive remedial courses instead of an art class.
This means that students who need extra help academically have fewer opportunities to take art classes. To counter this decline in arts education, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Palm Beach County stretch their budgets to ensure that students receive artistic and cultural experiences. In addition to providing access to art education, these organizations also use the arts to address issues related to youth culture. For example, the Norton Museum of Art's Afterschool Arts Outreach program provides year-round creative youth development programs for children ages 5 to 18. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County also organize a variety of programs and workshops in many media, ranging from fine art, theater, music, and dance. These programs are designed to provide important after-school arts experiences and cultural enrichment for young people. The Palm Beach County Cultural Defense Alliance is another organization that works to improve learning opportunities for young people.
This committee brings together leaders of cultural organizations and the creative sector of Palm Beach County to discuss and act on mutually beneficial issues, projects, campaigns, and initiatives. The Alliance also works with other service providers such as the Palm Beach County Health Department, the Literacy Coalition, local universities, and many others. The Professional Symphony musicians teach daily string instrument classes, music reading and music theory to members of the Naoma Donnelly Haggin Boys & Girls Club in Delray Beach. They also provide a podcast program which allows adolescent members to train in the arts of sound recording and editing, as well as in television journalism techniques. Ballet Palm Beach is another organization that is committed to increasing visibility through performance. They offer special performances at Boys & Girls Clubs in Palm Beach County and exclusive ticket programs for members of Boys & Girls Clubs and their families. Overall, there are many challenges facing the arts community in Palm Beach County.
However, there are also many organizations working hard to ensure that young people have access to art education and cultural enrichment opportunities. Through collaboration with multiple sectors of the community, these organizations are able to provide innovative and challenging experiences for young people.