THE SOCIETY OF THE FOUR ARTS ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT OF MOLLY CHARLAND, EDUCATION DIRECTOR
PALM BEACH, Fla.: The Society of the Four Arts announces that Molly Charland, the Director of Education who has been with the company for 22 years, will retire on September 28, 2018.
Based in Palm Beach, The Four Arts is a non-profit dedicated to sharing the best Art, Drama, Music and Literature to people of all backgrounds. Under Molly’s leadership the Campus on the Lakeeducation programs became a distinctive cultural and educational asset to Palm Beach County. The department grew from a few educational lectures in the historic King Library to more than 250 programs a year that attract more than 10,000 attendees per year. Since she began in 1996, Molly started two of the Four Arts’ most popular programs, Florida Voices (a series of discussions with Florida authors in the King Library) and the hands-on classes in the Campus on the Lake education department.
“If we’ve helped the community be a little more engaged with reading and lifelong learning, and a little more curious,” said Charland, “than we’ve succeeded.” Four Arts President Dr. David Breneman agrees, “Molly has dedicated 22 years to The Four Arts’ growth and progress, and doing so she has influenced the lives of countless local residents. Her unwavering commitment to establishing the Four Arts as Palm Beach’s center for lifelong learning has greatly enhanced the social, intellectual and artistic fabric of the community.”
Charland, 71, has seen many changes on both Palm Beach and at the Four Arts since moving here in 1990. “I love how the Four Arts has evolved. It reflects graciousness and learning, and serves as the standard-bearer for a civilized community,” said Charland. “Our staff takes this very seriously, and I am so happy to have been a part of it.” Her first job at the Four Arts was working in the
Gioconda and Joseph King Library. “They put me in charge of the Florida collection, which I adored,” Charland said. “I just read and read and read. I got to know many of the writers and acquired this tremendous background in Florida history.” In the summer of 2003, Charland was promoted to director of the library. When the Four Arts began looking for someone to run the expanding education department before the 2006-07 season, Charland was a natural choice.
The success of Campus on the Lake led the Four Arts to acquire the former Palm Beach Junior High building and transform it into the Fitz Eugene Dixon Education Building, a state-of-the-art education center featuring lecture halls, classrooms, an art studio, a demonstration kitchen, and an apartment for visiting Beyer Artists-in-Residence. “Everybody loves the Four Arts and they love what has happened here,” Charland said. “People from Stuart down to Boca Raton come to our programs, and that is what Fitz Dixon wanted. What an honor to have been a part of that.”
When the time came to begin the search for a new Director of Education, Molly suggested that the Four Arts consider Sofia Vollmer Maduro. After a thorough search and month-long interview process with Four Arts leadership, Maduro was selected and will begin on September 24th. “I am delighted that Sofia will take over,” Charland said. “She is the right person at the right time. As I am gifting her my remarkable colleagues Donamarie Vallee and Stephanie Grant, she will be in great hands.
In retirement, Charland expects to spend more time with her husband, Bob. They have been married for 40 years. “I have been cheating on him with the Four Arts for a long time,” Charland said, laughing, “my retirement is my husband’s 80th birthday present.” They plan to stay in the Palm Beach area and attend many more Four Arts programs.