Mr. Dreyfoos wants Dreyfoos School of the Arts to tweak its name

Alexander Dreyfoos
Alexander Dreyfoos thinks more science-inclined students should apply to Dreyfoos School of the Arts (2007 file photo)

The namesake of the Dreyfoos School of the Arts, the prestigious arts-themed public school in downtown West Palm Beach, doesn’t want it to be known as just an arts school anymore.

At Wednesday’s school board meeting, Alexander Dreyfoos, who made his fortune manufacturing photography equipment and was founding chairman of the Kravis Center, asked board members to add the phrase “and Sciences” to the school’s title.

The school‘s new name would be: The A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts and Sciences.

“I don’t want to change anything else about the school,” he said. “I don’t want to see any changes in the curriculum or entry standards.”

Alexander Dreyfoos at Wednesday's school board meeting
Alexander Dreyfoos at Wednesday’s school board meeting

But he said that he worried that too many children with an interest in both arts and sciences feel compelled to apply elsewhere to nurture both passions.

“My goal is to have more eighth-grade students in Palm Beach County who have a great interest in both the arts and sciences apply to the Dreyfoos school,” he said.

Dreyfoos acknowledged that some teachers at the school are worried that adding “Sciences” to the school’s title could dilute its brand.

“I’ve talked to some of them,” he said. “They’re scared that just changing that name will change the importance of the arts.”

Dreyfoos argued, if anything, changing the name would boost the school’s arts reputation – by encouraging even more arts enthusiasts to apply.

“Making this change would in no way lessen the importance of the arts at the school,” he said. “In fact it would lead to even more talented arts students being at Dreyfoos.”

To win over skeptics, Dreyfoos offered an additional incentive: more money.

If the school changes its name, he said he would cover the cost of changing signs and would increase his regular donations to the school.

“If you approve this name change, I will increase my annual gift,” he said.

School board Chairman Chuck Shaw told Dreyfoos that board members would “seriously take into consideration” the proposal.

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