Under the auspices of the City of Hollywood, the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood opened in 1975 at 1301 S. Ocean Drive in Hollywood. On Aug. 31, 1978, the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood was incorporated as a non-profit, 501©(3) corporation. From its former beachfront gallery, which was dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 2, 1975, the Center found its niche in South Florida’s art scene by promoting contemporary, innovative artists and programs.
In 1991, the Center moved to the city-owned, historic (circa 1924) Kagey mansion in downtown Hollywood at 1650 Harrison Street. The move allowed immediate expansion in display space, and also added classrooms for youth and adult arts education. After renovations, the Center’s new home opened to the public on Feb. 2, 1992.
Also in the early ’90s, the Center opened its Arts School, which is located in an adjacent building at 1626 Harrison St.
The Center redefined its mission in 1997 to offer performing arts on par with its visual arts programs. In 2000, it took over the programming and management of the city’s Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center, a 500-seat theater located at 1770 Monroe Street. (U.S. 1 and Monroe Street).
Designated a Major Cultural Institution in Broward County on Oct. 6, 2005 by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council, the Center today is only one of eight Major Cultural Institutions in the county out of 575 cultural entities.
Annually, the Art and Culture Center provides programming which impacts more than 50,000 South Florida residents and visitors. Its adult and children’s visual and performing arts education programs celebrate creativity and excellence, while its innovative exhibitions, films and performances introduce fresh perspective to the arts.
Educational programming includes adult, children’s and youth arts classes, after-school and outreach programs, camps, and other art curricula that meet Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.
In partnership with the Broward Education Communications Network, the Center offers distance learning arts classes to Broward County Public Schools (elementary, middle, high and ESE schools). The Center also provides music/drama/theater and visual arts programming for schools and other non-profits.
Committed to creating opportunities for all people to experience the visual and performing arts, through its support by individuals and public and private entities, the Center offers complimentary admission to its galleries on the third Sunday of most months (check schedule) and tuition waivers for qualifying youth to its variety of education programs as well as free family-friendly interactive performances featuring music, theater, and dance.
History of Art and Culture Center Building
This beautiful example of Mediterranean Revival architecture was built in 1924 by the home’s founding family, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Kagey. Built for an estimated cost of $16,000, it is one of Hollywood’s first show place homes and was completed a year before the City of Hollywood was incorporated. Jack Kagey was the sales manager of Joseph W. Young’s Hollywood Land and Water Company. He earned the seed money to build the home by winning a contest held by Young for his salesmen during the height of the 1920s real estate boom. Kagey and his 11-man team sold $426,260 in properties in just 10 weeks. First prize was a choice of a car or $5,000. Kagey took the money since he already owned two cars. The Kageys were in the home for just two years, when in September 1926, the structure withstood a devastating hurricane that ended the land boom and reduced the City’s population from 18,000 people to just 2,000.
The home shares many features with Joseph Young’s house on Hollywood Boulevard. This includes the Batchelder tiles in the fountain in the main gallery, which were inspired by tiles from southern Spain. The home offers a central tower, hip roof with Spanish clay tiles, second-floor balcony with Norman double arches, a balconette, and rough stucco wall finish. The space that now houses the main exhibition gallery was once the garden (hence the fountain). The current Executive Director’s office was the master bedroom and the library was the living room (the original fireplace remains).
The home was owned in the 1930s by an industrialist who manufactured Brillo pads, and in the ’40s was rumored to have been a gambling parlor, according to Bill Foster, whose twin brother Edward lived here with his wife and three children in the 1950s. This remained a private residence until 1960 when the Foster family converted it into a funeral home. The Fosters doubled the size of the home, which became the Johnson-Foster Funeral Home, to 12,000-square feet. The additions included a chapel along the east side that later became the Center’s main gallery. Many of the home’s original features from the 1920s were retained, such as the glass doorknobs, wrought-iron railings, tiles on the second-floor balcony, wood moldings and floors, and arches.
In January 1990, the property was purchased by the City of Hollywood to become the new home of the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, which had operated on Hollywood beach since 1978. The home was renovated with private and historical state grant monies and opened on February 2, 1992, with the exhibition As Seen By Both Sides, a collection of 83 works by 20 American and 20 Vietnamese artists.
The Art and Culture Center of Hollywood now serves as a cultural landmark for both its contemporary visual arts programming and for the distinctive character of the structure. In 2008, the Broward Trust for Historic Preservation honored the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood for its stewardship of the Kagey building. The building is currently designated by the State of Florida as a significant historical structure and is forever to be held for public enjoyment by city government.