michael_bracci.jpgLAKE WORTH —  The Palm Beach County Cultural Council will mark the grand opening of its home in the historic Robert M. Montgomery Jr. Building on Lake Avenue, in Lake Worth, with a week of activities later in January.Three weeks ago, the council moved into the building which first opened in 1940 as the Lake Worth Theater. It later housed three different art museums, but has been closed to the public since 2005.

The Montgomery family donated the building to the Cultural Council in January 2010, the largest single donation to the organization in its 33-year history.

The building is named for the late Robert M. Montgomery Jr., a prominent attorney and philanthropist.

It was renovated with assistance from the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency, which provided $700,000 for the project.

The CRA grant was part of its larger Cultural Renaissance Program that focuses on redevelopment through the establishment of artists, cultural centers and institutes within Lake Worth, expanding the economic base and improving the investment image of the area.

 Scheduled to open to the public on Thursday, Jan. 19, the newly renovated building will serve as the Cultural Council’s headquarters. Its 11,000-square-feet of space will house galleries for community exhibitions, an artist resource center, tourism services, education and training facilities and a meeting room.

 “It is critically important for the umbrella organization for art and culture in Palm Beach County to have a hub,” said Cultural Council Board Chairman Michael J. Bracci. “The building will help people understand the importance of art and culture to our quality of life. It provides a place for the cultural community, as well as our residents and visitors, to gather and find information. It is also vitally important to the strategic goals of the Cultural Council. We couldn’t be more pleased.”

The council said it has spent more than $1.5 million to renovate the building.  In addition to the Montgomery family and the Lake Worth CRA, it received major support from several other sources, including Irene & James Karp, the Lawrence A. Sanders Foundation, the Estate of Nancy Grayson, Alex & Renate Dreyfoos, The Roe Green Foundation and Berton E. & Sallie G. Korman.

Donors also included Northern Trust Bank of Florida, Bruce A. Beal & Francis V. Cunningham, Jean S. & Frederic A. Sharf, Mrs. Cil Draime and Herbert & Diane Hoffman.

The activities for the opening week include a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration at the Montgomery building, 601 Lake Ave., Lake Worth, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, with attendees expected to include officials of the city of Lake Worth, the CRA and the Lake Worth Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, please visit palmbeachculture.com