The Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center (DHCAC) is genuinely a theatre for the community. When it opened in 1982, the DHCAC was Palm Beach State College's first performing arts center. Built on a campus without a theatre department, it is a beautiful example of Palm Beach State's commitment to the arts in the Glades communities.
In 1983, the Center opened its doors as a field trip provider to introduce the students in the Glades region to the performing arts through the CAFE series (Cultural Arts for Education). Since it's inception, this program has served over half a million students averaging 12,800 students per year including the Covid period through virtual programming. The H.E. Hill Foundaiton has been an integral part of this outreach by providing free transportation to local schools for many of these performances.
Outreach and partnerships have been important components of the programming.
In 1995, the theatre held its first week-long residency program with the Missoula Children's Theatre. Local children grades K-12 audition for approximately 50 roles and present a fully-choreographed musical production at the end of the week. Partnering with the Glades Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, the theatre offered two residencies during the summers of 2022 and 2023.
The Caribbean Dance Company of the Virgin Islands, Japanese storyteller Kuniko Yamamoto, Step Afrika!, the Mayhem Poets, Kevin Reese and School Sculptures, the Improvised Shakespeare Company and the Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre of New Zealand have all presented workshops/residencies in our local schools. These projects were made possible thanks to supporters including Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, The Farris Foundation, Prime Time of Palm Beach County, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, South Arts and the State of Florida Arts & Culture.
Students have also experienced the arts in their schools with performances by artists such as Adam Trent, Bill Blagg, Kevin Spencer, Cirque Zuma Zuma, and Larry Gatlin.
For 30 years, the Center worked with local volunteers to produce and present the Annual Living Christmas Tree performance, serving thousands of residents. Numerous local community businesses, organizations, schools and non-profits have partnered with the DHCAC for performances, pageants, recitals, meetings, and other activities, truly making it a center for the community!
In the fall of 2022, Palm Beach State College enhanced their committment to providing cultural education opportunities to the Glades communities with the addition of DHCAC Outreach Coordinator Vera Valerio. She has established new partnerships with Habitat for Humanity; Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies; and Mommy & Me to offer free community events such as Gingerbread House Decorating, Paint By Numbers, a Spring Egg Hunt, Dino Day and Zumba classes in our local schools.
For additional information regarding the theatre outreach and partnerships, contact Vera Valerio at 561-993-1161.