Palm Beach State College: The Heart of Palm Beach County Culture

Lake Worth Campus

Through innovative academic programs and unique cultural offerings, Palm Beach State College has inspired emerging artists and captivated audiences for decades, earning it a secure spotlight on Palm Beach County’s robust cultural stage.

Students come to Palm Beach State College to develop their talents in everything from music, theater and the fine arts to film, graphic and web design, architecture, interior design, photography and ceramics.

Students prepare for careers in the arts either by taking courses as part of their Associate in Arts transfer degree or by enrolling in Associate in Science or College Credit Certificate programs. Offerings are always expanding, and now include digital animation and the recording arts. The College also runs summer programs in the arts for children ages 8 to 17.

Palm Beach State’s three theaters bring world-class cultural and entertainment events and visiting artists to all corners of the county.

The Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center, a 467-seat theater on PBSC’s Belle Glade campus, has made the world of the arts affordable and accessible. Opening in 1983, it is still the only cultural, artistic and family entertainment center available on a continuing basis to residents and visitors in the Glades area of Western Palm Beach County and the communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee.

The Duncan Theatre has been a fixture on the Lake Worth campus since 1986, when it opened in honor of beloved literature and drama professor Watson B. Duncan III. The 698-seat theater is known regionally and nationally for its diverse offerings in modern dance, ballet, new music, jazz and theater.

For five consecutive years, Florida Weekly News has chosen the Duncan Theatre as the “Best Place For a Song and a Dance.”

Eissey Campus Theatre opened in 1994 on the beautifully wooded Palm Beach Gardens campus. This 750-seat theater serves as northern Palm Beach County’s center for education and the arts and presents a season of international artists as well as regular performances by local professional companies.

“Palm Beach State College theaters have been serving the greater Palm Beach County community for a combined 97 years, offering first-class performing arts experiences for all. No matter where you live or work or are visiting, we have you covered. East or west, our theaters are there to satisfy your entertainment needs,” said Mark Alexander, executive director of theaters.

Aside from its educational offerings and theater performances, the College supports art galleries on the Lake Worth and Palm Beach Gardens campuses. The galleries seek to develop a lifetime appreciation and understanding of the visual arts in students and families. Each features numerous exhibitions a year by professional artists, art faculty and students.

“I am so proud to lead an institution that I believe is the heart of Palm Beach County,” said PBSC President Ava L. Parker, J.D. “I believe that we are the heart of the county because of our size, our dedication to transforming our students’ lives, and in how we respond to our community and our community’s workforce needs.”

Founded in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college, Palm Beach State now boasts the largest enrollment of any higher education institution in Palm Beach County and fourth largest in the state. Its five campuses provide access countywide, and its more than 49,000 students have the choice of earning associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees and career certificates, spanning more than 130 programs of study.

For more information, please visit or call (561) 868-3450 to learn more about arts and culture at PBSC and how you can support the cultural heartbeat of Palm Beach County.

The flow of talent through PBSC has enriched the county and the world beyond, whether its graphic design students who go on to professional careers in advertising and corporate communications or film, music and theater students who become directors, singers, musicians and actors.

“The arts and humanities teach people to think critically and deal with the world using a creative approach, and our programs support that tradition,” said Vernon Grant, PBSC’s associate dean for Humanities.

“There is a great mixture of creativity and skilled applications imparted in all of our programs, and our galleries and theaters showcase this talent to the community.”


If you’ve never been to one of Palm Beach State’s theaters, here’s what you’ve missed so far this year…

Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center in Belle Glade

Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center

  • Motown Magic

  • Missoula Children’s Theatre presents Alice in Wonderland

  • Love is a Rose: Celebrating the Music of Linda Ronstadt

  • Billy McGuigan’s Rock Twist

  • Illusions & Beyond

  • Forever Young

  • The Gospel According to the MACG

Duncan Theater on Lake Worth Campus

Duncan Theatre

  • Paul Taylor Dance Company

  • Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

  • The Bronx Wanderers

  • Maxwell Quartet

  • Stayin' Alive

  • Josh Young sings Andrew Lloyd Webber

  • Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure (Family Fun Series)

Eissey Campus Theatre on Palm Beach Gardens Campus

Eissey Campus Theatre

  • Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches

  • Goldner Arts in the Gardens for Young People

  • Ballet Florida

  • Palm Beach Opera

  • Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival

  • Indian River Pops Orchestra

  • The Phantom Tollbooth (Family Fun Series)