About the Festival
The Schmidt Family Centre for the Arts, a non-profit organization, will present its Eleventh annual Festival of the Arts BOCA March 2 -12, 2017. Considered by critics to be “an important and impressive addition to the artistic landscape” – the Festival, held in Boca Raton, Florida, has won numerous awards including: the “Muse Award” from The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, “Best Festival” by Boca Magazine and “Best Cultural Festival of 2014” from Palm Beach Illustrated. The Eleventh Anniversary season will continue to feature the finest in classical music, jazz, dance, film and authors.
Established in 2007, Festival of the Arts BOCA was designed to promote the cultural arts and to enrich the quality of life of the residents of Boca Raton, North Broward and Palm Beach County. As conceived by its founders, the Festival is more than just programming; it is a unique way of bringing world class performers, authors and speakers to Boca Raton which would be unattainable but for the special qualities of a serious cultural arts festival in a great wintertime destination.
The Festival celebrates the special quality of life in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County and the special qualities of Mizner Park, which has been selected by the American Planning Association as one of the ten best urban places in the United States. The Festival is special, because of the venue, the season, the quality and diversity of its cultural offerings and because of the opportunity for young and old to celebrate the traditions of the great arts and to be exposed to the incredible diversity of the performing and literary arts, at the highest levels.
Since its inaugural year, the Festival has been an unprecedented cultural arts festival, and has been heralded as a resounding success, with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, the Russian National Orchestra, Joshua Bell, Lang Lang, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway, and Pat Metheny. Other artists have included Grammy award winning soprano Renee Fleming, stars from international ballet, pianist/composer Conrad Tao, multiple Grammy Award winner Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Ballet Hispanico, young stars of the Metropolitan Opera, Jackie Evancho, Forte, Time for Three, Valentina Lisitsa, Arturo Sandoval, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Audra McDonald. The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, West Side Story and Raiders of the Lost Ark have been performed with live orchestra.
World-renowned speakers over the ten years have included Edward Albee, David Ebershoff, Anna Quindlen, Sir Salman Rushdie, acclaimed historian and Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin, Daniel J. Levitin, Richard Goodwin, David Brooks, Kevin Bleyer, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Barbara McDonald Stewart, David Ignatius, Anna Deavere Smith, Thomas Keneally, General George W. Casey, Jr., Geraldine Brooks, Clive Thompson, Siddartha Mukerjee, Richard Ford, Thomas Friedman, and Fareed Zakaria.
The Festival is special not just for the audience, but for the performers as well who appreciate the specialty of a festival and enjoy the opportunity to interact with other artists in a relaxed and convivial setting. The Festival tent, gleaming with festival lights, effects an uncommon sense of excitement and celebration in a casual environment which is comfortable to patrons who do not regularly attend concerts at more formal performing arts halls. The Festival is extraordinary because it is periodic and each year offers “something old and something new.”
Festival of the Arts BOCA is also about cultural arts education – introducing new audiences to great music and exposing young people to the great artists in master classes and open rehearsals. The images are remarkable: Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway leading the best flute students in the region in a master class, Tiempo Libre “teaching” the history of Latin jazz in words and music and the orchestra of Lynn University performing on stage with Tiempo Libre in the debut of a new composition at the Festival, Itzhak Perlman “doing a little Q & A” with students and two time Grammy Award nominee Joey Alexander playing two tunes with the Don Estridge High Tech. Middle School Jazz Band. These are just a few of the special moments that have been produced by the Festival. The Festival continues its commitment to education, offering master classes, school visits, lectures and open rehearsals to over 7,000 area students. In addition, over 1,000 Festival tickets are donated to students and teachers every Festival.
Festival of the Arts BOCA has already made a significant contribution to the reputation of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County as a quality tourist destination in the face of increased competition from other tropical destinations including the west coast of Florida, the Caribbean and Central America, together with the changing character of South Florida. What Festival of the Arts BOCA has done for Boca Raton and Palm Beach County is to establish a reputation as the home of a “best-of-class” cultural arts experience.
The Festival has been considered a major artistic success and garnered the attention of local and national press such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and CNN.
“The annual gathering is quickly becoming an important stop on the national arts circuit.”
– Palm Beach Post
Thank you for your support during this year’s Festival of the Arts BOCA!