If you have lived in or visited South Florida for more than 3 days, you probably have come across an advertisement for the Kravis Center. Have you ever wondered what the Raymond F. Kravis Center, also known as The Kravis Center for short, is or how it came about? I did and thought I would share some of its interesting history.
Palm Beach County’s efforts to have a building for the performing arts dates back to the 1950’s. As the county grew in population, so did the need for the arts. It took several decades of fundraising efforts both from local residents as well as the ‘snowbirds’ that flocked to Palm Beach County to make the idea a reality. In the 1980’s a building for the arts started to become a reality thanks to some large private and corporate donations. The architect Eberhart Zeidler, who also designed World Trade Center and Liberty Place One in Philadelphia, was commissioned to design a building that would attract world class shows to Palm Beach County
Construction began in 1989 and by 1992, the Kravis Center opened. The total cost of construction was $100 million dollars, of which $82 million was raised from private sources and corporate sponsorship. The balance was from governmental sources.
The Kravis Center is named after Raymond F. Kravis. He was a geologist and philanthropist from Tulsa, Oklahoma who wintered in Palm Beach country for over 35 years. In 1985 a group of his close friends and family donated $7 million to name the facility after him.
About the Facility
The Kravis Center is located on the north side of Okeechobee Boulevard just east of I95 before US Highway 1.
The Kravis center is comprised of four main venues:
Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. Concert Hall – seating 2,195
Rinker Playhouse – seating 289
Helen K Persson Hall –seating 170
Michael and Andrew Gosman Amphitheatre –outdoor seating for 1,400
In addition to the main venues, there is the Cohen Pavilion House, The Winer Banquet Center, Gimelstob Ballroom and the Harris Pre-function Hall, the Picower Arts Education Center and the Elmore Family Business Center for the Arts.
Within the last few years, regional art programs such as the Miami City Ballet and Palm Beach Opera have begun to call the Kravis Center their home. For the 2015-2016 season, there will be over 400 performances held at the Kravis Center. April performances include: Miami City Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Kelly Carlin’s one woman show chronicling her life as George Carlin’s daughter, Pianist Hoachen Zhang, Broadway Veteran Avery Sommers, Bernadette Peters, Old Jews Telling Jokes, and Behind the Lens, where the photographers Henry Diltz and Pattie Boyd share stories behind the photos that they took of rock legends. These performances are just a sample of the variety of artistic talent visiting the Kravis Center. Please click here for schedule of tickets available for purchase.
Here’s an unique idea for a great gift for that hard to please person or family member or for your favorite culture vulture: a Gift Certificate good for any performance at the Kravis Center.
Marc Jablon, the Jablon Team
New Harbor Realty