Nestled among the tropical foliage of Palm Beach sits the Society of the Four Arts. A cultural mecca, the Four Arts offers islanders all the artistic comforts of a metropolis. This season may prove to be the busiest (and best) yet for the organization with a jam-packed schedule and the opening of a new education facility.
Founded in 1936, the Society of the Four Arts began with the promise to provide excellent art, music, drama and literature to the island of Palm Beach. Today, as in 1936, the Four Arts is dedicated to curating world-class entertainment. Its 2012-2013 schedule, which boasts more than 300 programs, reflects this.
Some of the earliest events include live broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera and the National Theatre, both of which can be enjoyed at the O'Keeffe Gallery auditorium. Don't miss such operatic classics as The Tempest, La Clemenza di Tito and Aida performed by the stellar cast of the Met. Stage productions from the National Theatre in London include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Last of the Haussmans and Timon of Athens.
Starting in January, the O'Keeffe Speaker Series will bring an array of speakers to the grounds. Join art historian Marlene Strauss for a discussion of Andy Warhol, unearth the eccentricities of the great soprano Renée Fleming, or explore the concept of the "virtual choir" with composer Eric Whitacre.
The following month sees the opening of "Copley, Delacroix, Dali and Others: Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery" at the O'Keeffe Gallery. Paramount among the works is Salvador Dali's 1957 masterpiece Santiago El Grande. Not only is this painting rarely shown in the United States, but, at roughly 13 feet by 10 feet, this monumental work also will require some clever installation.
The grand opening of the new Fitz Eugene Dixon Education Building will also take place in February. Features of the new building include state-of-the-art smart boards and other electronics, a demonstration kitchen, a 75-seat seminar room and artists studios. Also housed within the building is an apartment for the Four Arts' artist in residence. The artist-in-residence program (to be launched in 2013) will bring a new artist every season. While in residence, he or she will teach classes and create a work of art.
Once the new education building is complete, it will become the home of the Campus on the Lake series, which begins in October. The Best of Britain is the education theme for the series and offers 16 lectures and workshops from a number of speakers covering a spectrum of British topics, such as portraiture, architecture and, of course, Charles Dickens. Our best bet is a lecture entitled "Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950" to be held March 28. Lecturer Oriole Cullen, curator of fashion and textiles at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, will discuss the process of curating the exhibit of the same name, including stories from designers and those who actually wore the gowns.
This is just a sliver of the upcoming programming at the Society of the Four Arts. For more information on the 2012-2013 season, as well as the Fitz Eugene Dixon Education Building, visit fourarts.org.