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Free & cheap exhibits, activities at Four Arts cultural center, Palm Beach

While the Society of the Four Arts hosts a seasonal menu of performance and creative programs, fall through spring, it is also packed with free, fun and cheap things for adults and children to do at the Palm Beach cultural center year-round. Currently it is holding ongoing book discussions and lectures, plus garden and gallery exhibits.

The venerable institution was founded in 1936 on the eastern shore of the Intracoastal Waterway. Today, it is a 10-acre campus with a gallery, gardens and performance space – all sustained by some of Palm Beach’s most affluent residents. Years ago, it adopted the motto: Four Arts for Everyone.

What are the Four Arts, anyway? The Society of the Four Arts defines them as Drama, Art, Music and Literature. Here’s a chance to experience Palm Beach culture on a dime.

Red-upholstered seats face a curtained stage.

The seats covered in red upholstery to match the lush stage curtains give the Walter Gublemann Auditorium at the Society of the Four Arts a warm storybook feel. Photo: Courtesy Four Arts

“There is something for everyone at The Society of the Four Arts. Enjoy a midday stroll in the beautiful Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden and Four Arts Botanical Gardens,” Four Arts spokesman David Darby said.

The society has a limited number of members, and they get the first chance at tickets. But there are often tickets available for purchase by non-members, and the free events are open to all. Its galleries, gardens and libraries are open as follows:

  • Botanical And Sculpture Gardens
    Open daily – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather permitting.
  • King Library
    Open Monday through Friday – 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
  • Four Arts Children’s Library
    Open Monday through Friday – 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

In addition to the events below, the Four Arts offers free monthly school-age programs in cooking, art and floral design. Dates and classes will be announced at Required reservations may be made by calling the Children’s Library at (561) 655-2776.

You'll find the Four Arts at 100 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach.

Here are some favorite free and cheap opportunities at the Society of the Four Arts.

Cream-colored three-story building.

The Society of the Four Arts' beloved Children's Library is housed in its elegant administrative building on Royal Palm Way. Photo: Courtesy Four Arts

Sculpture and botanical gardens are free

The Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden and Four Arts Botantical Garden are always free. The Garden Club of Palm Beach planted the botanical garden in 1938. The gardens are open from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. each day except for major holidays, and they close during inclement weather.

Look for free hard-copy guides to the garden and historic buildings next to the King Library and Dixon Building or scan the QR code displayed there to open the tour on your smart device.

Free decent-led tours of the sculpture garden are offered at 10 a.m. Wednesdays from December through April. Individuals and groups of up to 10 are welcome, according to the Four Arts’ guide. Arrive 15 minutes early and meet the docent at the garden entrance next to the King Library.

Opulent bouquets of flowers placed on a concrete garden beach.

The lavish Garden Club of Palm Beach Flower Show in 2021 at the Society of the Four Arts. Photo: Carolyn DiPaolo

Biography Book Club

Each group will focus on the life of a prominent person. A suggested reading list of available books from the King Library will be distributed once registers. Attendees must read at least one of the books and come ready to discuss. To register, email or call (561) 655 2766. Find out more at

There's so much more at the Four Arts: including an art museum, master classes and lectures. Once you visit, you will appreciate this jewel of Palm Beach.

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Mary Lou Cruz

About Mary Lou Cruz

I worked at the South Florida Sun Sentinel for 21 years, as an Advertising Special Sections Writer; Editorial Systems Editor in Technology; and Editorial Assistant in the Newsroom. Before my newspaper career, I worked in the airline and travel industry and I have lived in Brazil, Puerto Rico and vacationed in more than 25 countries. Originally, I'm from Maryland. I moved to Florida in 1984 and raised my daughter in Miami. Email:

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