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24 FEB

Lanae’s West Palm Beach Spotlight: The Kravis Center – Celebrating 25 Years of History

By Jeff Lichtenstein

Lanae’s West Palm Beach Spotlight: The Kravis Center – Celebrating 25 Years of History

The Kravis Center in downtown West Palm Beach is celebrating 25 years of history this year as the cultural jewel of Palm Beach County. Sitting atop the highest point in West Palm Beach, the center is a symbol of economic prosperity and a passion for the arts. Who is the person behind this thriving center of the cultural and performing arts? His name is Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr., an entrepreneur from New York with a big vision to transform the social fabric of Palm Beach County. Dreyfoos was convinced that Palm Beach County could not attract a well-educated work force without a cultural life and a place to hear the classical music he so much adored. He successfully brought his vision into reality in 1992, with a star-studded gala at the opening of the newly-constructed, fully-funded, Kravis Arts Center. Dreyfoos’s determination, with the help of some friends, resulted in a huge private fundraising effort, with an incredible $82 million of the $100 million in construction costs donated by private sources.

Why is the building called the Raymond F. Kravis Center, you ask? Raymond Kravis was a prominent geologist and philanthropist from Tulsa, OK. He wintered in Palm Beach for more than 35 years. A group of his friends from Oklahoma donated $7 million to the center with the stipulation that the building be named after their dear friend. Kravis, himself, donated $1 million to the center just a year after his friends’ contribution, as he shared Dreyfoos’s vision of constructing a cultural epicenter for Palm Beach County.

Today, the Kravis Center consistently ranks among the top venues of its size worldwide! The building is set on 10.6 acres, which includes 4 venues: the 2,195-seat Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. Concert Hall, the 289-seat Rinker Playhouse, the 170-seat Helen K. Persson Hall, and the outdoor Michael and Andrew Gosman Amphitheater. With over 13,000 performances presented and an annual operating budget of $25 million, the Kravis is a gleaming example of a thriving performing arts center as well as a major communal and economic catalyst.  There have been over 10 million residents and tourists who have visited the center in its 25-year history and currently, the center has 11,000 members. When the Kravis opened in 1992, it was surrounded by vacant land. CityPlace shops and restaurants would not be constructed until 2000. The construction of the Kravis paved the way for the revitalization of downtown West Palm that we have all witnessed in recent years. The building continues to be a shining example of determination and the commitment the city has to promoting the fine arts.

Would you like to be featured in the downtown “West Palm Beach“ Spotlight or know someone who would? Let us know! Send an email to

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Posted in City Plaza condo, City Plaza condo for sale, condos for sale on February 24, 2017 at 10:06 am.


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