Delray Center for the Arts Names New CEO

Rob Steele

Rob Steele

Bill Branning, Chairman of the Board of the Delray Beach Center for the Arts, today announced the appointment of Rob Steele as President and Chief Executive Officer of the nonprofit visual and performing arts center that is the anchor of the city’s dynamic cultural community. He succeeds longtime CEO Joe Gillie, whose last day is September 30.

In making the announcement, Branning stated, “Joe took the reins of this organization in its infancy, and under his leadership, developed a cultural center that provides a total arts experience for the community and at the same time, generates continuous economic activity for our downtown. Our nationwide search for his successor aimed to identify a proven leader with the ability build on these successes and raise the Center to even greater heights.  Out of almost 100 applicants, Mr. Steele stood out as the right person with the right skills, talent, experience and energy.  He has a unique background that includes a master’s degree in business administration as well as a successful track record of developing strong non-profit organizations through strategic planning, collaboration, and community engagement.  We’re confident Rob will continue to move the Center forward, and welcome him to the Delray Beach Center for the Arts.”
Steele comes to Delray Beach from Pennsylvania, where he spent the last 10-years as executive director of the Williamsport Community Arts Center, a 2,100-seat, state-of-the-art performing arts center that bills itself as “one of the top venues on the Eastern Seaboard.”
Under Steele’s leadership, the Community Arts Center implemented event analysis and fee negotiation practices, marketing strategies and guest service enhancements that effectively doubled ticket sales in only two years; initiated a community outreach that increased the number of local and regional partners from 10 to more than 200; facilitated a systematic upgrade of all technical systems and protocols; and successfully devised an endowment campaign in 2010 that generated more than $5 million in gifts and bequests.
William J. Martin, Board Chairman for the Williamsport Community Art Center, told the local newspaper that Steele has done an extraordinary job in making it a more “community-minded facility … There’s something going on at the arts center about 250 days a year. It’s a very busy place and I attribute that level of activity to Rob’s initiative and his ability to engage people in the community.”


Prior to moving to Pennsylvania, Steele spent five years as executive director of the 576-seat civic auditorium in Tecumseh, Michigan, and had previously been both a successful restaurateur and an executive vice president of a Michigan-based national bank & trust.
“Joe Gillie has been the champion in establishing the Delray Beach Center for the Arts as a premiere arts institution in South Florida,” says Mr. Steele. “My goal is to honor, preserve, and extend the rich traditions he has established.”
“Community outreach and coordinating broad-based collaborations with local organizations has become one of the hallmarks of my career,” he adds. “It is my expressed desire to reach into every corner of the market served by the Delray Beach Center for the Arts to engage new audiences, create lasting partnerships and serve the cultural needs of this vibrant and diverse community.”
“The arts are without question an economic engine, and Delray Beach stands as a magnificent example of this reality,” says Steele. “That is why I am committed to keeping a constant eye on the relationship between what we do on the Old School Square campus and how it can help stimulate the local economy.”

Weekend Best Bets: Legends, Buffalo and The Blues

One word: Oriente

One word: Oriente

Buffalo Bash Food Festival

 On April 13th, the Mizner Amphitheatre will be the site for the Buffalo Bash Food Festival. Local restaurants will be showcasing their best wings. So, stop by. You’ll probably see Jeff with some Tabanero hot sauce.

 This event benefits Autism Speaks and is one of many events during Autism Awareness Month.

 RENÉ MARIE @ Arts Garage

 Award-winning singer and legend René Marie is unmistakably honest and unpretentious while transforming audiences worldwide with her impassioned vocals and powerful interpretations of jazz, soul, blues and gospel.

In other words, she’s all that and a bag of chips. Catch her Friday night at 8 p.m.

Visit for tickets and more info.



 Oriente’s signature sound features funky, guitar , blazing harmonic brass, and explosive Afro-Latin percussion – fusing Cuban roots with Blues, Jazz, Caribbean and Brazilian influences.

You will be blown away and energized. They play the Arts Garage, Saturday night at 8 p.m.

Visit for tickets and more info.


 Blues: Trampled Under Foot

Enjoy this award-winning Kansas City blues/rock band (soon to be touring with George Thorogood & The Destroyers), at the Delray Center For The Arts, Friday, April 11. (Speaking of George Thorogood, Dave says he’s Bad to the Bone).

 Proceeds benefit the Delray Beach Public Library.

The show starts at 8 p.m. with tickets costing $30 and $55.

Visit for tickets.

Have a great weekend!



Weekend Best Bets: Jazz, Santana, Stiletto Edition

Stiletto Race Benefits Achievement Centers

Stiletto Race Benefits Achievement Centers

Stiletto Race Tonight
There will be a stiletto race in downtown Delray Beach tonight.
Yep. You got that right; people will be sprinting through the streets wearing high heels.
We aren’t the most fun town in Florida for nothing.
The Second Annual Vince Canning Stiletto Race is actually a benefit for the Achievement Centers for Children & Families, one of our favorite charities.
There will be a variety of categories for those brave enough to run in stilettos.
Among them:
Women’s 75 Meter Dash; Men’s 75 Meter Dash; College Competition; Silver Sneaker 65+ ; Waiter Race; Relay; Sexy Strut; Most Creative Shoe; Costume Grand Supreme.
Races begin at 6 and run through 9:30 p.m. on SE 4th Avenue and Atlantic Avenue.
If you don’t want to run, you’ll certainly want to watch.
Delray Stiletto Race Event Road Closures
During the event, the following road closures will be in effect:
SE 4th Avenue will be closed from Atlantic Avenue to SE 1st Street, 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm on Thursday, November 21st.
For event information, please call (561) 266-0003. For road closure information, contact the City’s Public Information Office at (561) 243-7190 or E-mail

Artists and Entrepreneurs at Artist’s Alley
Tonight from 6-9 p.m., you’ll want to be in Artist’s Alley (near Third Avenue and Third Street in downtown Delray) for their monthly Open Studio and Gallery night.
Great art, friendly artists, wine, snacks and a funky atmosphere made possible by the collection of artists who have breathed new life into a once moribund part of town.
The alley runs north and south between NE 3rd and 4th Streets, east of 3rd Avenue and west of the RR tracks. You’ll also want to check out their new website www.
So what about the entrepreneurs? We’re glad you asked.
Innovate Palm Beach is participating in “Global Entrepreneurship Week” by co-founding “The Art Of The Start”, a fusion of art, technology and innovation. AOS is an officially sanctioned Global Entrepreneurship Week event, and that event is set for tonight in Artist’s Alley.
Over 200 entrepreneurs, startups, innovators and funders will descend upon “Artist Alley” for an evening of networking plus hands on displays and presentations by the Delray Beach’s top entrepreneurs and startups.
The event begins at 5pm with a launch party hosted by 3rd & 3rd. Then the attendees will visit the specially designed host resource center and then mingle with the dozens of artists and makers who will be opening their galleries and maker spaces that evening. There will be live music throughout the event provided by Delray Beach’s own “Arts Garage”. The evening will end with an after party back at 3rd & 3rd hosted by Crane’s Beachhouse with more networking and a few surprises
The goal is to highlight Delray Beach as an entrepreneurial friendly city. To that, this event is co-produced by The City of Delray Beach, The Greater Delray Beach Chamber Of Commerce, The Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative, Innovate Palm Beach and

A Santana Tribute Extraordinaire

A Santana Tribute Extraordinaire

A Tribute to Santana
Carlos Santana is a rock legend.
He’s not coming to Delray. We saw him last week in Vegas.
But his music will be featured during the free Friday Night Concert Series at the Delray Center for the Arts. “Galo’s Tribute to Santana” kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
Galo is an awesome Santana tribute band and you’ll hear all the hits including “Black Magic Woman, “Oye Como Va” and “Gipsy Queen.”
If you love Latin flavored rock and great guitar work, don’t miss this show.
See you at the pavilion.

Trunk Show Benefits Historical Society
If you prefer jewelry design to Santana, we have a selection for you.
The Delray Beach Historical Society presents “Auriolus Art” featuring the designs of Dr. Doug Layton, a master jewelry designer, historian and artist.
This exclusive trunk show will benefit the Historical Society Friday, Nov. 22.
An open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 3 Northeast First Street.
A lecture and trunk show will be held from 5 to 8 p.m.
We recently had a chance to chat with Dr. Layton at an Artist’s Alley event. He’s fascinating and this show is highly recommended. Tell Tara we sent you.
For more information, please call 274-9578.

Icons in Delray

Icons in Delray

The Lettermen In Concert
After you perused the trunk show, you’ll want to head back to the Delray Center for the Arts to catch a performance by The Lettermen.
The legend trio are in town Nov. 22, 23 and 24.
Performances are set for Friday, 8:00 pm; Saturday, 2 & 8 pm; Sunday, 2 pm; tickets $45.
One of the most popular vocal groups in music history continues to entertain audiences with their iconic, smooth sound. The trio has seen members come and go over the past 50 years, but group leader Tony Butala has been a constant. Today’s trio includes Butala, Bobby Poynton and Donovan Tea singing the songs that made The Lettermen famous.
For tickets visit

Doug Bell &B Bellevue Cadillac roll into the garage

Doug Bell &B Bellevue Cadillac roll into the garage

Doug Bell at The Arts Garage
If you love a variety of musical styles, don’t miss Doug Bell and Bellevue Cadillac, Friday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. at The Arts Garage.
Bellevue Cadillac has been performing nationally and internationally for years and you’ll hear jazz, blues, gospel, Philly Soul and Doo Wop, not to mention some music you may recognize from TV shows. The Bellevue Cadillac’s sound has been used on The Soprano’s, Sex And The City and the film Shallow Hal and Me, Myself and Irene.
Visit for tickets and more information.

Holiday Crafts
We’ve given you music, we’ve given you jewelry, art and entrepreneurs.
But we haven’t forgotten about the upcoming holiday season.
The Southern Handcraft Society Holiday Craft Show and Sale is a must see and runs November 21, 22, and 23 at the Vintage Gymnasium at the Delray Center for the Arts.
Thursday and Friday hours are 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; free admission.
The Pineapple Grove Chapter of the Southern Handcraft Society presents their 21st annual juried craft show featuring a variety of handmade gifts, ornaments, jewelry, woodcrafts, cards, quilts, stitchery, toys, trees, dolls, home décor and tasty treats!

Final Week For A Brilliant Show at The Arts Garage
Don’t miss your final chance to see “The Longing And The Short Of It” a wonderful song cycle about the hilarious, heart-wrenching, and thoroughly messy business of being human; a new collection of theatre songs for our time which has it final few shows at The Arts Garage.
The show, which has received rave reviews features the songs of Daniel Mate”. The production runs through Nov. 24.
For show times and information visit

Weekend Best Bet: Look No Further Than the Delray Center For The Arts

Music, Elvis and Oktoberfest. What more do you need?

Music, Elvis and Oktoberfest. What more do you need?

Looking for something to do this weekend?
Well look no further than the Delray Center for the Arts in downtown Delray Beach for a weekend full of suds, music, nostalgia and Elvis!

The weekend kicks off early with an Oktoberfest concert tonight, Thursday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. at the outdoor pavilion.

The American German Club of the Palm Beaches kicks off their 40th Annual Lantana Oktoberfest with a free concert in Delray Beach.

Bring your lawn chairs, settle in with some Hofbrau Bier and German Brats, and get ready for an evening of Bavarian Music and sing-a-long rock played by the 10-piece band, HELDENSTEINER, direct from the Munich Oktoberfest. It just doesn’t get any more authentic than that.

On Friday evening, head back to the Delray Center for the Arts for the season kick off of the popular (and free) Friday night concert series.

Taking it to the Limit

Taking it to the Limit

The Eagles tribute Band “The Long Run” kicks off the concert series at 7:30 p.m.

The Long Run boasts some of South Florida’s finest and most respected musicians.  The band has reproduced the sound that made the Eagles one of the most successful bands in Rock and Roll history.

They capture the energy, melodies and vibe of one of America’s most successful bands. With five voices filling the harmonic vocals, they undoubtedly will please even the most discerning of Eagles fans.

The band claims, “…you won’t hear a Tribute Band this great till Hell Freezes Over.” They’ve performed with acts like Herb Reed and The Platters, The Flamingos, The Shirelles,  The Coasters, The Tokens, Trisha Yearwood , Gary “U.S.” Bonds, The Dixie Cups, Bobby Lewis,  Epcot’s British Invasion, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Mike Pinera from Blues Image, John Stewart’s Legends in Concert, The Romantics, Julio Iglesias Jr., Pattie Loveless and Louise Mandrell.

Bring your appetite, 15 food trucks will be on the grounds of the center. No outside food or beverage is permitted.

Also opening Friday, Oct. 10 at the Delray Center for the Arts is the new exhibit “Elvis:  Grace and Grit” featuring fine art photography from the CBS Photo Archive.

Elvis on the brink

Elvis on the brink

The exhibit, at the center’s Cornell Museum, 51 N. Swinton Ave., captures the 21-year-old Elvis on the brink of stardom. It’s magnificent.

Also at the museum is an exhibit called “Flashback: A Retro Look at the 60s and 70s” featuring artifacts on loan to the museum by the community. From political posters and old albums to photos and fashions, the exhibit captures the era through the eyes and experiences of locals. A must see!




Delray Center for the Arts – The Beating Heart of Delray

Delray Center for the Arts at Old School Square anchors downtown Delray

Delray Center for the Arts at Old School Square anchors downtown

Old School Square Cultural Arts Center, now known as the Delray Beach Center for the Arts, was created thanks to the determination of a local group of citizens who saved the 1913 Delray Elementary and 1925 Delray High School buildings from demolition after they were abandoned by the Palm Beach County School District in the mid 1980’s.

Over $7 million was raised to restore and re-adapt the facilities for use as a museum and theatre. These Delray Beach Schools are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The entire site serves as a gathering place for the community and has been the site of thousands of events and festivals celebrating Delray’s energy and diversity. From the Garlic Festival and free Friday Night Concerts to museum exhibits and cabaret—Delray Center for the Arts is vibrant 365 days a year.

The site consists of several historic structures lovingly restored and now home to a vibrant cultural scene.

Crest Theatre

Housed in the restored 1925 Delray High School building, the Crest Theatre was dedicated in 1993 as the performing arts center of Old School Square.  Originally the high school auditorium, the Crest Theatre was re-designed as a charming, 323-seat, state-of-the-art facility combining the original high school color (blue) with warm burgundy and gold accents.  The original stage was only 12 feet deep; therefore two stories of additional space were added during restoration to provide backstage, dressing room and storage areas.  The original proscenium remains an important historic feature of the theater.  The Crest provides a truly intimate entertainment experience.

The Main Stage Series (November-April) offers professional theater, music and dance as well as national tours, comedy, and unique variety shows.  The Broadway Cabaret Series (January-April) features Broadway’s hottest stars. The Lecture Series (January-April) features notable speakers from around the country and a wide variety of topics. Past speakers have included Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, President Mary Robinson of Ireland and TV game show legend Bob Eubanks.

The Crest also serves as an important venue for other organizations, schools and community groups to present their own productions and presentations. Surrounding the theatre are nine beautifully restored classrooms which now serve as meeting, workshop, reception and classroom space.

Cornell Museum

Housed in the restored 1913 Delray Elementary building, the charming Cornell Museum of Art and American Culture is one of the surprises that people discover in Delray Beach. The Museum offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere. It was dedicated in 1990 as the visual arts center of Old School Square and named in honor of Delray residents Harriet W. and George D. Cornell.

The architecture, formally known as “Masonry Vernacular,” makes the building unique in the downtown area. This style was used for several smaller buildings in the Old School Square Historic Arts District. Without the colorful exhibit banners and other signage, one would never guess that the building is actually a museum. During the restoration process, the original atrium and classrooms, which are now exhibition spaces, were restored to preserve the rare Dade County Pine floors, tall windows and open space. The only significant modification to the interior was to open the atrium up to the second floor, allowing for natural light to stream in and provide a more spacious feel.

The first floor houses two large galleries and the Angelique Tea Room, which is used for classes, receptions and other special events. The second floor, which can be accessed by two grand staircases (or an elevator) has three exhibition galleries and the children’s interactive gallery.

Exhibits rotate every three to four months and feature an eclectic mix of local, national and international fine art, crafts and pop culture.

The Cornell Museum is located to the south of the Crest Theatre building, and is connected to the Crest Theatre building’s Ocean Breeze Room and portico by a covered loggia.

The Pavilion

Completed in early 2002, The Pavilion is a state-of-the-art, outdoor performance facility located on the center grounds of Old School Square.

A concession building with restrooms and covered loggias surround an open lawn. A large backstage area includes two small dressing rooms. The facility accommodates enclosed tented events for up to 1,000; gated concerts for up to 3,500; or open multi-day festivals.

The Pavilion presents the popular Free Friday Concert Series and hosts most of Delray’s major festivals.

Completed in early 2002, The Pavilion is a state-of-the-art, outdoor performance facility located on the center grounds of Old School Square.

A concession building with restrooms and covered loggias surround an open lawn. A large backstage area includes two small dressing rooms. The facility accommodates enclosed tented events for up to 1,000; gated concerts for up to 3,500; or open multi-day festivals

The Pavilion presents the popular Free Friday Concert Series and hosts most of Delray’s major festivals, including The Garlic Festival, Cinco De Mayo and First Night.

School of Creative Arts

The School of Creative Arts is located on the second floor of the Crest Theatre building.  The School offers beginner through master level classes, for all ages, during fall, winter and spring/summer sessions.

Classes include drawing, painting, watercolor, collage, mixed media, printmaking, introduction to digital camera use, fine art photography, Photoshop Elements, portrait & still life lighting techniques and expanded youth classes. A new addition is The Writers’ Colony, with classes and workshops centered on self-publishing and getting published.  Also new for 2013 is the Visiting Artist Workshop Series, targeting local and national professional and serious, non-professional artists.

Class brochures are available in the Crest Theatre lobby and may be downloaded from the website at ; or call 561-243-7922, ext. 317 for additional information.

Vintage Gymnasium

This 1926 building was restored to preserve the character of the original structure. Seemingly frozen in time, the heavy wood beams still bear the markings of students who dared to climb up to scrawl their names in chalk. One such student was Ken Ellingsworth who grew up to be Delray’s long time Chamber of Commerce president and Vice Mayor.

Originally a separate building, the gymnasium was connected to the theatre’s backstage area during restoration.

While the gym is no longer used for sporting events, the original backboards remain in place. The loft, which held bleacher seating for the “away” teams, now provides space for seating or displays. The facility includes an adjacent food preparation/load-in area and the former locker rooms were converted to beautifully appointed restrooms. The facility has become a popular venue for parties, wedding receptions, dances, craft/trade shows, community events, town gatherings and other creative uses.