UPDATE: See the ‘live’ painting completed by artist Lydia Marie Elizabeth Schrader.
The Palm Beach Civic Association launched their 75th anniversary season with a Kick-Off Reception Monday. Over 300 members attended. The event was sponsored and hosted by the Royal Poinciana Plaza.
Civic Association Chairman and CEO Bob Wright thanked Samantha Perry David, COO of WS Development and Head of Up Markets, and Alexandra Patterson, project manager and interim general manager of the plaza, for hosting and underwriting such a beautiful event. The Royal Poinciana Plaza is the 2018 winner of Town Beautification Award sponsored by the Civic Association.
“Tonight, we’re marking a milestone at the Palm Beach Civic Association – 75 years of protecting the community,” Mr. Wright said. “For 75 years, the Civic Association has been standing tall with other community leaders and groups to guard and improve this special town. Tonight, I’m happy to report that – thanks to you – the Palm Beach Civic Association is bigger and better and stronger and more engaged than ever before.”
The Palm Beach Civic Association was founded in 1944 by a handful of civic minded Palm Beach residents who wished to preserve, protect and enhance the quality of life on the island.
The motto in the early days was “Keep Palm Beach, Palm Beach,” which is our mission today, Mr. Wright said.
Some of the issues 75 years ago were beach erosion, port expansion, deepening the inlet, zoning, taxes, parking and the lack of airline flights into West Palm Beach.
“Some things never change, which is why the Civic Association is so important,” Mr. Wright said.
The plaza commissioned artist Lydia Marie Elizabeth Schrader to do a live painting of the courtyard scene as it unfolded during the evening. The painting is an anniversary gift from the plaza to the association. It will be finished in a couple of weeks.
The guests enjoyed drinks and delicious passed hors d’oeuvres catered by restaurants located in the plaza, including Toojay’s Gourmet Deli, Sant Ambrose, Celis Produce and Coyo Taco. A 1936 Ford Phaeton from Ragtops was available for photo opportunities. Models circulated throughout the crowd wearing diamond jewelry from plaza tenants Valetina Kova, Rani Arabella, and Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa.
Everything at the party from the champagne coupes to the chandeliers was a nod to the Civic Association’s diamond anniversary and to the 1940s, when the organization first began, Ms. Patterson said.
Ms. Patterson credited the Civic Association with supporting Up Markets’ vision for the renovation of the plaza four years ago.
“Now, here we are in this beautiful place that would not have been possible without your support as we celebrate your 75th anniversary,” she said. “For 75 years you have advocated, protected and enhanced the best qualities of our little slice of paradise. We are thrilled to call you our supporters, fans, cheerleaders, customers, visitors, diners, shoppers, but – most importantly – you are each friends of the Royal Poinciana Plaza. We simply could not be more honored to celebrate your achievements as we are tonight.”
Civic Association Director Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, said she believes the association is crucial to the quality of life in Palm Beach. Ms. Brinker was U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and U.S. Chief of Protocol under President George W. Bush.
“It’s a tremendous asset to have people come together, discuss issues, get informed about candidates … It gives people so much more information to make decisions about what type of leadership we should have,” Ms. Brinker said. “That is a very important function. The committees are terrific, because they really try to address problems both singularly and globally to suit the needs of the people living here the people visiting here and the quality of life that we can add to this third largest state. I’m a great fan of the Civic Association, and hope that I can always be a supporting member.”
Civic Association Director Michael Reiter, former Palm Beach Police Chief and now owner of Michael Reiter and Associates – a Palm Beach security and investigative firm, described the association as “a group of very accomplished, intelligent, visionary people who want to help the government tackle its problems, capitalize on its opportunities, and continue to make this a wonderful place to live and work.”
For more information about the Civic Association and to join, visit palmbeachcivic.org or call (561) 655-0820.