Cultural Quarterly
Spring/Summer 2009
Volume XXII, Number 2
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Cultural evolution
Several Broward County organizations celebrate
significant milestones – and we all benefit
from their experience and achievements!

By Holly Strawbridge

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Look in the paper any day of the year, and you’ll find listing after listing of plays, concerts, art shows, art films, festivals, celebrations and other types of events throughout Broward County. There are thousands of opportunities year around to hear musicians, watch dancers and actors, view artwork and meet the talent. And the list grows longer every year.

More than 500 arts organizations now exist in Broward. Although these organizations may be young when compared to their counterparts “up north,” many have become an integral part of the artistic fabric of life in South Florida. It’s hard to imagine life without the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, which will celebrate its 20th year in 2011, or the Third Avenue Art District, which turns 15 in 2010.

Eight thriving cultural organizations in Broward County are celebrating landmark anniversaries this year. As diverse as area residents themselves, these organizations meet educational needs and satisfy cravings for all kinds of artistic endeavors. If you are not familiar with some of these organizations, use this opportunity to visit, take a class, support an event, buy a piece of art or attend a performance. It’s a way of saying “thank you” for making Broward County a richer place to live and play.

35 years
Shadow Boxing
Shadow Boxing, South Regional Library

Broward County Library System
Today’s library is so much more than a storehouse for books: It’s a wonderful venue for the public to enjoy writers, musicians and performers. Thanks to the foresight of pioneers who established the county library system in 1974, our libraries are a tremendous showcase for the vast amount of talent residing in Broward County.

The system quickly grew and the need for a flagship reference library became clear. Funded by a bond issue, the Broward County Main Library opened its doors 25 years ago. The distinctive 260,000-square-foot building was designed as a multipurpose facility and is decorated inside and out with paintings, sculpture and mixed media works acquired through the Broward Cultural Council’s Public Art and Design Program. The Main Library was hailed as the symbol of resurgence of business, government and culture downtown, and it has become a destination in its own right. In 2008, the Main Library attracted 550,000 visitors, who came to use the free computers, get help with job hunting, do research and, of course, check out books.

That same year, the Main Library provided 1,600 programs, which 36,000 people attended. “The community loves music and art. We’re very fortunate that we have a large facility on the sixth floor for art exhibits and a 300-seat auditorium for recitals and plays,” says Program Manager Barbara Miller. “There are so many talented artists in Broward that not to highlight them would be a crime.”

Most of the library system’s 37 branches also feature local artists to the extent they have room.The Main Library celebrated its 25th anniversary with art exhibits and special programs held throughout the month of April.  These included a juried exhibition of multimedia works based on the theme, “Worlds Connects @ Your Library;” a jazz saxophone program in honor of The Great Gatsby, which was part of the Big Read program; a Chopin piano concert; nationally recognized storytellers; live musicians and a literary dramatist. www.broward.org/library/

30 years

Art & Culture Center of Hollywood
Art and Culture Center of Hollywood

Art and Culture Center of Hollywood
From its inception in a small beachfront gallery, the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood has grown into a major cultural force in Broward County. The organization offers year-round opportunities for people to experience the visual and performing arts. This year alone, the center will offer 15 exhibitions of contemporary and emerging artists in the historic home it occupies on Harrison Street. The center’s art school is located next door.

In 1997, the Art and Culture Center added the performing arts by launching OceanDance, an annual free event on Hollywood Beach that brings national and international dance companies for the community to enjoy. In 2000, the center assumed management of the Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center (HCPAC), a 500-seat theater at US 1 and Monroe Street. Today, the center’s programs and facilities attract more than 50,000 visitors and residents per year.

Nevertheless, educational outreach is perhaps its biggest secret.

“People have no idea the extent that our educational programs reach into the community. It’s the core of what we do,” says Executive Director Joy A. Satterlee, APR.

With the arts taking a hit from lack of school funding, the Art and Culture Center has picked up the slack. Visual arts and dance workshops and programs in public and private schools as well as hands-on opportunities in its galleries, HCPAC and at the ArtsPark at Young Circle help ensure that children learn to express and develop their creative side.

Art and Culture Center of Hollywood
Art and Culture Center of Hollywood

The Art and Culture Center also broadcasts age-appropriate arts classes into Broward County classrooms at no cost. Curriculum, worksheets and supply lists are available to teachers in advance through the center’s website. The program is immensely popular, and lesson plans have been downloaded more than 17,000 times in the last 18 school months - proving the need for an arts curriculum.

“We serve as a regional model of this program. No other arts entity in this region has shown the growth or success as we have with the Distance Learning program,” Satterlee says proudly.

The Art and Culture Center didn’t make any special plans for a 30th birthday party, because, Satterlee says, “we have events all the time and celebrate our existence and service to the community every day.”www.artandculturecenter.org

University Center for the Performing Arts

University Center for the
Performing Arts

For 30 years, the University Center for the Performing Arts has taught adults and children the skills they need to be dancers, actors and musicians. The dynamic training center started as a storefront dance studio in Plantation, but today occupies a 6,000-square-foot warehouse in Davie.  More than 75 classes are offered year-round for adults and throughout the school year and during summer camp for children. All skill levels are accommodated, from beginner through professional, in nearly all types of dance, as well as acting, voice, piano and guitar. In the near future, classes in Afro-Cuban dance and in dance for children with special needs, such as autism and Down syndrome, will be added.

Many instructors have been with the University Center for 25 years or longer. Their goal is to develop performing abilities and stage presence. Throughout the year, the University Center provides plenty of opportunities for students to put their newly acquired knowledge to the test in front of an audience. For a list of classes and workshops, please see www.ucpafl.com.

To celebrate their 30th anniversary, University Center for the Performing Arts faculty became the stars in a faculty artist concert on March 21 and 22.  “Testimonials from their students who have gone on to professional careers surprised them and brought many of us to tears. It was very affirming and rewarding,” says director Vindhya Khare.www.universitycenterfortheperformingarts.com

20 years

Fashion-Judge,-Jimmy-Star-at-the-Red-Eye

ArtServe
Over the past two decades, ArtServe has been a major resource for artists of all types throughout the county. ArtServe has created cultural experiences for artists and the community and helped artists manage their business and administrative needs. The organization, which was started by the Broward Cultural Arts Council to support local and emerging artists, was initially known as Business Volunteers for the Arts in Broward County. It took the name ArtServe when it moved into its facility on Sunrise Boulevard.

ArtServe celebrated its 20th anniversary in January with a cocktail reception at the Ritz on Fort Lauderdale Beach. More festivities are in store this year. Past board chairs were honored at the 20th Annual Encore Awards on May 15 at the Hyatt Pier 66.

In August, the public will be invited to a free exhibition of artworks by ArtServe members at the ArtServe galleries on Sunrise Boulevard.www.artserve.org


Young @ Art

Young At Art Children’s Museum
More than one million budding artists have taken art classes, exhibited their work and viewed exhibits at Young At Art Children’s Museum since the organization opened in Davie 20 years ago.

The museum’s success surprised some naysayers, who said it could never be funded. But Executive Director Mindy Shrago was optimistic it could be accomplished.

“The arts are critical to the growth of the whole child. Creating, being curious, digging deeper, letting go and exploring safely builds self-esteem. The joy of the creative process fosters love of learning and leads children on pathways to success in school and life,” she says.

Throughout the year, Young At Art delights children with clever programs built around themes such as Dr. Seuss or Alice in Wonderland, parties, special events and camp. Participation has driven the demand for new facilities, and a 55,000-square-foot building with classrooms and gallery space is in the planning stages. This building will enable Young At Art to offer state-of-the-art facilities for teenagers. More than 300 teens also volunteer with the organization, learning museum operations and experiencing the joy of the creative process.

What better way to celebrate its 20th anniversary than with a show of artwork that alumni created at the learning center? The artworks will be on display from May 9 through July 12.

www.youngatartmuseum.org

10 years

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Arts for the Future Scholarship Fund
In 1999, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA) and the School Board of Broward County created the Arts for the Future Scholarship Fund (AFSF) to enable graduating high school students to continue their education and training in the visual, performing, musical and technical arts at colleges and universities. In only 10 years, the AFSF has supported more than 700 students, making it one of the largest and most successful scholarship programs in the United States.  

More than $60,000 in scholarships are presented every year at Stars on Parade, a free event held at the BCPA in which the winners showcase their talents. The students receiving scholarships are selected by their schools in recognition of exemplary ability, academic achievement and community service. 

This year’s event on April 29 marked the 10th anniversary of this innovative program. “Recipients included a student who began an arts program for abused and neglected children, another student who founded an art club at her school and dozens who found their lives enriched through their participation in the arts,” says Sharon Brooks, director of education for the BCPA.

Funding for the scholarships is provided by generous local corporations and foundations, who have donated more than $620,000 to date. Teachers nominate students for the award.  The Fort Lauderdale Downtown Rotary Chapter also participates by identifying talented youngsters with financial need. www.browardcenter.org/education/scholarships.aspx

ArtsUnited
ArtsUnited was formed in 1999 to use the arts to fight bias and bigotry toward the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. The organization serves primarily visual artists, but is open to writers, playwrights, musicians and other creative types.  Based at ArtServe, ArtsUnited supports artists by providing multiple opportunities throughout the year to showcase their art in the community.

To celebrate its anniversary, ArtsUnited is planning a barbeque on May 29 at Hagen Park. The party will include a photo retrospective of the last 10 years. Tickets are an affordable $35 and are available through www.artsunitedonline.org.

Cinema Paradiso

Cinema Paradiso
Fort Lauderdale’s only theater dedicated to foreign films and independent films opened in a historic building just south of downtown in April 1999. Cinema Paradiso was the brainchild of Gregory von Hausch, president and CEO of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, which is now housed at the theater.

Film lovers celebrated Cinema Paradiso’s 10th anniversary with a day-long party on April 11. The day featured performances by the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theater (a nod to the Vinette Carroll Theater, which was housed in the building prior to 1999); the award-winning Danish film Everlasting Moments; live jazz; and, of course, a showing of the Academy Award-winning Cinema Paradiso, the charming Italian film from which the theater took its name.

For information on current films playing at Cinema Paradiso and through the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, please see www.fliff.com.

broward on Broadway

Broward on Broadway
In 1997, a group of theater lovers formed the TBI players as a way to raise funds for Temple Beth Israel. In 2000, they became a bona fide community theater group serving western Broward County and renamed themselves Broward on Broadway. The troupe is an eclectic mix of local residents who present three quality productions a year at Plantation High School.

Broward on Broadway doesn’t officially begin its 10th season until 2010, but is already making plans to celebrate the occasion with a dessert reception on the opening night of their 2009-2010 season, which begins with Beauty and the Beast. For more information, stayed tuned to www.browardonbroadway.com.