In the late 1980’s, a group of arts teachers proposed that a school of the arts be developed in Palm Beach County. A survey was taken to gauge community interest and as the early founders predicted, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
In a fortunate coincidence, the School District was looking at Magnet Programs to further integrate their schools. The Palm Beach County School of the Arts opened in 1990 with 350 students in grades 7-9, specializing in five art areas – communications, visual arts, music, dance and theatre. At the same time, the School District and Palm Beach High School Historical Society worked toward renovating the abandoned Central Schools’ campus in downtown West Palm Beach to accommodate the school’s growing popularity. When the high school finally moved to its new campus in 1998, its presence helped ignite the rebirth of downtown West Palm Beach, transforming the then blighted area into an emerging cultural destination.
In 1993, community leaders established the School of the Arts Foundation to raise funds to enhance the art and academic programs at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts. The Foundation funds needs and opportunities that the School District cannot fund.
In 1997, Alexander W. Dreyfoos made the largest private contribution ever made to a public school in Florida. He pledged $1,000,000 to support the Palm Beach County’s public arts magnet high school, which was subsequently named the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts. In 2020, Mr. Dreyfoos made a second $1,000,000 pledge to support a scholarship for nursing.
In 2009, the Foundation received its second gift of $1,000,000 from the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund. The Davis’ son, Alan, made the endowment gift in memory of his parents to support the supply needs of the school’s art areas.
In 2011, Beverly Taubert, a retired educator, left her estate of $1,200,000 to the Foundation to establish the Beverly A. and William E. Taubert Scholarship Endowment Fund to support the college dreams of Dreyfoos students with demonstrated financial need.
Since the doors opened August 27, 1990, more than 7,600 students have graduated. Today, over 1,450 creative, dedicated students travel daily to the school’s campus in West Palm Beach from as far away as Tequesta, Pahokee and Boca Raton to participate in six arts disciplines that include communication arts, dance, music, theatre, digital media and visual arts.