Donald and Ann Brown Donate $2 Million to Palm Beach Dramaworks
Donald and Ann Brown of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; and Washington, DC have made a generous gift of two million dollars to South Florida’s acclaimed professional resident theatre company Palm Beach Dramaworks. In honor of their contribution, the single largest contribution in the history of the organization, the theatre company’s new facility located on Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach will be named the Donald and Ann Brown Theatre and will have its officially opening night gala on November 11th, 2011 (11.11.11) "Palm Beach Dramaworks is one of South Florida’s most deserving cultural treasures and has won local and national acclaim for its inspired productions. We value our commitment to the theatre because we believe the performing arts are beacons of the times we live in--they illuminate tales that shine in the light. With this new theatre, Dramaworks will not only continue to present first-rate productions, but they will have an intimate, professional, first-rate facility to call home," stated Donald and Ann Brown. "Words are simply not adequate to express our gratitude to Don and Ann Brown for their generous support of Palm Beach Dramaworks, and for taking a leadership role and exemplifying the level of Arts advocacy that is needed throughout our country. The Brown’s clearly recognize the vital role of the private sector in supporting those Arts institutions that most enrich and enhance our lives. On behalf of the staff, management, and board of directors of Palm Beach Dramaworks, let me express our sincere appreciation to Don and Ann Brown for investing in our regional theatre, and recognizing it as an important component of our community...and our society," stated William Hayes, Palm Beach Dramaworks' Producing Artistic Director. The donation will endow the South Florida’s theatre institution main theatre facility in the Brown’s name and will feature a newly reconfigured auditorium chamber with seating capacity of 218, a multi-use black box theatre space, newly designed administration offices and costume shop. The project is designed by Gino deSantis (Zeidler Architects). There will also be a new lobby bar featuring gourmet snacks, coffee, beer and wine. Originally opened in 1999, the former Cuillo theatre occupies a distinctive location on Clematis Street and defines a gateway to the newly established waterfront and West Palm’s restored downtown.
More about the Browns and Dramaworks: Donald A. Brown has been a real estate attorney and real estate entrepreneur in Washington, D. C. for over 50 years. He was a founder of the law firm of Brown, Gildenhorn & Jacobs and also, a founder of the JBG Real Estate Companies. From 1983 to 1995 Mr. Brown taught a real estate course at the Harvard Business School. He has also taught real estate at the Columbia Graduate School of Business, the Yale Graduate School of Management, the George Washington School of Business, and the UDC School of Business. His civic interests range widely from education, art, and theater to golf, tennis, skiing, and sailing. He received an appointment by President Ronald Reagan to be a commissioner of the International Cultural and Trade Center. In 1989, Mr. Brown was chosen to be a Washingtonian of the Year. Recently, the Supreme Court of Florida certified him as a mediator of disputes in Florida Courts. Mr. Brown is a permanent resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; summers in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and maintains a home in Washington, D. C. Ann Brown, a former two-term Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission from March 1994 to November 2001, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a Commissioner and the seventh Chairman of the CPSC. As Chairman, Mrs. Brown was recognized for gaining publicity for the agency’s work through appearances on the Today show and other national media, for revitalizing the agency, and for demonstrating outstanding commitment, caring and concern for the safety of America’s families. She served as vice president of the Consumer Federation of America for 15 years and as chairman of the board of the consumer advocacy group Public Voice. Mrs. Brown has received many honors including "Pillar of the Community Award" from the League for Educational Awareness of the Holocaust, and the lauded "Service to the Nations Award." Other affiliations include: Washington Opera Society, National Symphony Orchestra, Norton Arts Council, Palm Beach Dramaworks, and the Hanley Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. For over eleven years, Palm Beach Dramaworks has proven itself as a pivotal component of downtown West Palm Beach. Situated on Banyan Boulevard, between Dixie Highway and Olive Avenue, the theatre has become a cultural magnet, with more than 20,000 visitors annually. Its productions have been hailed by critics in South Florida, and by The Wall Street Journal as one of the country’s leading regional theatres. Palm Beach Dramaworks is a non-profit, professional theatre and is a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the South Florida Theatre League, Southeastern Theatre Conference, Florida Professional Theatres Association, Florida Theatre Conference, and the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.