Young At Art Honors Women Of Vision

DAVIE, Fla. – Each year during the Women of Vision Queen of Hearts Luncheon, community leaders are honored for their support of Young At Art Children’s Museum.

This year, it was a blending of the past and a look to the future as Museum Co-Founder and Associate Director Esther Shrago was recognized for her tireless dedication and contribution to the growth and success of the Museum over the last 20 years. The Broward County Board of County Commissioners was honored for its vision that will result in a new LEED-certified 55,000 square-foot Young At Art Museum and Children’s Library to be built at 112 Avenue and I-595 in Davie.

“The new Museum and Children’s Library will become a national model for other children’s museums in the country,” said Mayor Stacy Ritter, who accepted the recognition on behalf of her fellow commissioners Vice Mayor Ken Keechl, Ilene Lieberman, Kristin D. Jacobs, Women of Vision Luncheon Chair Lois Wexler, Sue Gunzburger, John E. Rodstrom, Jr., Diana Wasserman-Rubin and Josephus Eggelletion, Jr.

This year’s Women of Vision Luncheon also celebrated the Museum’s 20th anniversary so it was only fitting to honor Shrago, who with her daughter Mindy, the Museum’s Executive Director, who together founded Young At Art in 1989 with its first space, a 3,200 square-foot donated storefront in Plantation.

“I share this honor with the entire Young At Art family and a very supportive community as together we continue to provide hands-on cultural, arts and educational experiences in fun, innovative, one-of-a-kind environment for all of the children and families who visit here,” said Esther.

The luncheon was a time to look back and ahead. A wall was specially designed to highlight photos marking the 20 year history set alongside plans for the new Museum. “This is an exciting time for us,” said Mindy. “We’ve come a long way over the past 20 years. Esther and I thank the Commission for their unwavering support and belief in our mission to integrate the arts with math, vocabulary, geography, language and multicultural understanding to educate more than one million children and their families.”

Each of this year’s Women of Vision received a hand-crafted silver ring designed by Young At Art’s Artist in Residence Chisseko Kondowe. For the past 12 years, Kondowe has created an original, intricately designed piece of jewelry to be presented to the Women of Vision. Originally from Kenya, Kondowe’s family worked in precious metals and he continues that work, using the traditional designs and methods of his ancestors.

As guests arrived at the luncheon, they were welcomed with Suessical treats, whimsical hors d’oeurves such as mini hot dogs with sauerkraut, sesame chicken served with chopsticks and cups filled with macaroni and cheese in keeping with the Museum’s Oh Seuss! Off to Great Places, an enchanting exhibition that transports visitors inside the magical world of Dr Seuss on display through May 10.

Tables were topped with red and white checked clothes and spectacular centerpieces were made by Girls N’ Power, a program serving at-risk girls from the Pace Center for Girls in partnership with Young At Art and the Girls Club. All proceeds from the luncheon and the centerpieces were designated to programs serving at-risk youth.

The gourmet luncheon began with a garlic toasted bread boule filled with cream of carrot, champagne and dill soup that was followed by a bento box style entrée of a poached pear salad with watercress, Belgium endive, goat cheese medallions and champagne vinaigrette and a Mediterranean pasta sautéed with artichokes, capers, mushrooms, spinach, grilled chicken and a light volute sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese. The luncheon culminated with a visit from the Cat in the Hat who led a chorus of “Happy Birthday to Young At Art” as individual birthday cakes with sparklers were delivered to each table.

“Together we will transform the South Florida cultural landscape with the new Museum,” said Wexler. “What a spectacular addition this will be to our community that will help us make Broward County and all of South Florida a better place to live and work.”

Luncheon sponsors included Leo Goodwin Foundation, Inc., Wheelabrator South Broward, Alters Boldt Brown Rash Culmo, BankAtlantic, The Commons, Pirtle Construction, David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation and media sponsor, the Sun-Sentinel. Gerlinde Photography and Over the Top, Inc. Rental Party Linens also donated services.

Young At Art is currently in the midst of the Art Answer Capital Campaign to build the new Museum. To donate to the Art Answer, contact Melissa Telford at 954-424-0085 or visit
“We have an exciting road ahead of us as we look to raise funding and in particular match a $500,000 challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for the new Museum,” Mindy added. “We appreciate all our supporters and sponsors now and moving forward into 2009.”

About Young At Art Children’s Museum
Young At Art Children’s Museum is located at 11584 W. State Road 84 in Davie, Fla. Hours are Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 per person. Members and children under age two are free. Annual Museum family membership is $65 per family and includes free admission, discounts, preview parties and more. Major funding support is received from the Broward Cultural Council and the Broward County Board of County Commissioners; the State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs; and the generous support of corporations, foundations, individuals and Museum members.

Chris Feeley, ext. 237
Maria Pierson, 222