Journalism & Research

Arts Education

ArtsEd Forever apple motif.ArtsEd Forever!
By Lisa Turano Wojcik

Pablo Picasso once said, "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away."

According to many talented and dedicated people, there is no better way to give away one's gifts and talents than to the minds of children and youth - for they are the future of our community. It's proven that through education in the arts, students and at-risk youth can improve their self-esteem and academic skills while starting down the path to becoming the self-disciplined, well-rounded adults of tomorrow.

Ramblewood Middle School Marching Band, directed by John Nista, 2014 Arts Teacher of the Year, MusicArtsEd Forever! honors outstanding contributors to the realm of arts education in Broward County - the celebrated teachers, legislators, dedicated individuals and local businesses and community organizations who have made a lasting impact on the arts.
The Broward Cultural Division and its partner, Business for the Arts of Broward, held their 29th annual awards program at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts last November.

Formerly known as the Arts Teachers of the Year Program, ArtsEd Forever! was expanded to recognize others who enrich our community through their outstanding dedication and achievements in arts education. Honor of Excellence awards are presented in five categories for teachers of visual arts, music, theater and dance and for teaching artists. Legislator Recognition is for government officials who promote and are involved with the local arts community.
The Exceptional Arts Education Organization award is for local arts education organizations, while Outstanding Contributions to Arts Education awards recognize local individuals, businesses and organizations. Local individuals considered for the award are those who, through volunteer hours, fundraising contributions and advocacy, perform valuable service to advance arts education in Broward. Local businesses and organizations chosen are those which enrich our community through funding or creating arts education programming. ArtsEd Forever! strives to bring awareness to these often-unsung heroes.

The Honor of Excellence recipient for visual arts was Wendi Librach. She’s been teaching for 11 years, three of which were as art specialist at Flamingo Elementary School in Davie. Librach has been a passionate advocate and vocal supporter of the benefits of art education.

She explains, "My goal is to expose my students to every aspect of the arts, as well as teaching them how the arts are a part of every subject they are learning. I believe theater, music, dance and the visual arts will help my students to become engaging young adults." Librach bubbles over with compassion and encouragement for her students. She says, "The main thing I try to instill in my students is that they shouldn’t be afraid to try to create art. I allow them to have fun without fear of judgement. And when they find success, from their own perspective, in a form of art, then I know I have succeeded!"

John Luffred, Honor of Excellence winner for musicMusic : John Luffred
John Luffred, Honor of Excellence recipient for music, is the choral director and chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Coral Glades High School in Coral Springs. He has been teaching for 32 years and is the current president of the Broward County Vocal Teachers Association and acts as a choral group judge throughout Florida. Luffred received a Miami Herald Silver Knight Teacher of the Year award and was inducted into the Teaching Hall of Honor. He declares, "It’s just a great experience for me, seeing how energized the kids are, how focused they are and how talented they are!" Luffred is an inspiring teacher.

"I’ve always felt the need to provide a well-rounded music education for my diverse student population," Luffred says, "where they can work to achieve high accomplishments and feel the joy of success." Their success led to what Luffred thinks is his biggest contribution. He has created a legacy of musicians and music educators in his past students. "I am proud of the fact that many of my students have gone on to major in music education in college and are now successful professional educators."

2014 Honor of Excellence winner for theater Michelle TerlTheater : Michelle Terl
The Honor of Excellence recipient for theater was Michelle Terl, director of theater at Parkway Middle School of the Arts in Lauderhill. Terl is a 15-year veteran of teaching theater in addition to her background as an actor, director, playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker and film editor. She is founder and president of the Broward Educational Theater Association (BETA) and also served on the board of directors of the Florida Association for Theater Education (FATE).

"The most important thing I believe," Terl says, "is that the arts are crucial to a complete education. Through the arts, we learn to express ourselves, to synthesize our academics, to learn empathy and to understand what it is to be human." Art education gives students the opportunity to experience confidence-building freedom, connections with others and communication skills.

Terl thinks her greatest contribution comes from building connections. "I connect my students, past and present, to each other. I connect my students to theater professionals and theater-going experiences. The classroom is everywhere. Connections help me create the next generation of artists and arts patrons."

Aimee Sangster was the Honor of Excellence recipient for dance. She has been a dance and reading teacher for seven years at New Renaissance Middle School in Miramar and is also a professional dancer. She danced in the Black-N-White Hip Hop Showcase, performed with famed recording artist, Pitbull, among others, and did choreography for music videos. She is a leader in the Dancers Alliance Organization, fighting for dancers' rights.

As dance director, Sangster spearheaded the school's Booster Club and raised money to turn an empty room into a full dance studio. She received the Teacher Directed Improvement Fund and the IMPACT Grant for five years. She showcases her student-created music video project, "Reading with Music," at the IMPACT Expo. Sangster's dedication to building the dance program at New Renaissance has had a major impact on the school and community by bringing culture to many students who wouldn't ordinarily have opportunities for dance instruction.

"The most important thing is having a trusting, mentoring relationship with my students," Sangser says. "They can make big changes in their lives, when my students accept my advice, not only in school, but in life as well."

The recipient for the category of Teaching Artist Recognition was Carrie Sue Ayvar. She has been connecting with people through stories in English and Spanish for over 30 years. Ayvar is a nationally renowned master storyteller, Chautauqua scholar and Kennedy Center and Wolf Trap-trained artist. She has received many awards, including the National Storytelling Network’s Oracle Award, Advancing Teaching and Learning Through the Arts and a National Parenting Publications Honor from iParenting for her CD titled, Cuentame Un Cuento/Tell Me A Story. Ayvar explains that storytelling is one of the oldest, most universal forms of education. She says, "Cultures all over the world have told stories as a way of teaching and passing on their beliefs, traditions and histories."

Ayvar has a rich talent for connecting people, cultures, ideas, experiences and curriculum content through stories. She believes her greatest contribution to her students is finding purpose in what she does. "I find my purpose every time I ‘paint’ my pictures in the listener’s minds. Shared stories build bridges between people. It’s hard to hate someone when you know their story; when you can see them as an individual."

Sue GunzBurgerLegislator Recognition - Sue Gunzburger
Former Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger, who retired from office in November 2014. was awarded the Legislator Recognition award for her dedication and outspoken support of the arts over the course of her 32-year public career. This award was a fitting and well-deserved farewell.

Gunzburger made important contributions in promoting the arts through her work on the Broward Cultural Council and Funding Arts Broward (FAB). She was also very vocal in lobbying the state government in Tallahassee for adequate levels of funding for arts education. Her experiences as a parent and teacher gave Gunzburger a profound appreciation of the benefits of art education. She adamantly states, "If we don’t educate the young in the arts, the arts will die out." She continues, "Some children who struggle with academics can, through the avenues of visual arts, dance, theater, bands and orchestras, learn self-discipline, improve their self-esteem and improve their grades overall."

Among the many causes Gunzburger championed, one of her great accomplishments was improving the lives of many Broward County children through her work with the Children’s Services Council, which she helped create. Highlights in her long list of accolades include the Crystal Vision Award for Government from the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood and the Encore Award for Government Leadership from ArtServe. Gunzburger is truly a person who cares deeply about making a difference for the people of Broward County. 

Janet Erlick, Executive and Artistic Director, Fort Lauderdale Children's TheatreExceptional Arts Education Organization - Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theatre
Photo: Janet Erlick, Executive and Artistic Director, Fort Lauderdale Children's Theatre
The Exceptional Arts Education Organization award went to the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theatre. Accepting the award on behalf of FLCT was Janet Erlick, its executive and artistic director. Erlick also received the Outstanding Contributions to Arts Education Individual award. Erlick served for 25 years as CEO and CFO for the 61-year-old nonprofit arts education organization. The FLCT offers classes for students ages 4 to18, produces high-quality productions and serves more than 40,000 people each year. The Galleria Mall, which houses FLCT, received the Outstanding Contributions to Arts Education, Business award.

Erlick’s achievements include doubling FLCT’s annual budget and producing and directing more than 150 full-scale professional productions. She developed a comprehensive community outreach program, which includes A Bridge From Me to You, an anti-bullying conflict resolution program, and From Page to Stage, a literacy program for students throughout Broward County. Erlick also created a scholarship program that provides more than $60,000 per year in FLCT tuition assistance to students.

Participation in the Arts, Erlick believes, transforms lives and communities in profound ways. "Every person can benefit in a significant way, whether as a participant or supporter," Erlick says. "In addition to entertainment and importance to our quality of life, the arts also increase engagement, address social issues, challenge beliefs, ask tough questions and contribute to the healing of the world." Erlick thinks her greatest achievement is her development and implementation of arts programs for people with terminal illnesses and their families, people with special needs, children in residential social service settings and in juvenile justice or rehabilitation programs. "In every instance," she says, "I have witnessed lifechanging moments through the arts."

Ana M. Valladares, Children's Services Council of Broward County.Outstanding Contributions to Arts Education - Children's Services Council of Broward County
Photo: Ana M. Valladares - Governor Appointee,  Children's Services Council of Broward County

The Children's Services Council of Broward County in partnership with HANDY Inc. (Helping Abused Neglected Disadvantaged Youth) received Outstanding Contributions to Arts Education, Organization award. The Children's Services Council has funded hundreds of programs serving Broward's children and families. Its mission is to empower children to become responsible, productive adults while realizing their full potential, hopes and dreams.

Piper Roth has been the programs manager at CSC for eight years. She oversees transitional programming for older youth with disabilities and youth development programming for middleschool students. Roth currently serves on the Broward County Arts Education Committee and is a strong advocate of the arts. "The arts are an integral part of educating and supporting children and youth," she states. "Arts education provides children the opportunity to experience success and express themselves in ways that they may otherwise not have." Roth thinks that the CSC's major contribution to arts education is the funding the agency allocates for arts programming with interactive activities for children and families. The CSC provides a large portion of funding, resources and technical assistance to HANDY for its work with at-risk youth.
HANDY is an award-winning nonprofit organization made up of dedicated advocates for children in foster care and in the child dependency system. HANDY has met the critical needs of more than 45,000 at-risk children in Broward. Since 2004, the organization has incorporated music, art, dance, and drama into its life skills curriculum. Recent partnerships include Jubilee Dance Theatre and Chie Moo Arts for dance and drama, well-known local artist George Gadson for visual and literary art classes, and local artist Steven Sylvester for a clay art project, Help Me Build a Home of My Own, which emphasizes interpersonal skills. These programs combine expressive art, community service opportunities and positive adult role models.

Evan Goldman, an attorney and CEO of HANDY, says the art programs "foster a hard work ethic and development of a high level of commitment and responsibility in each young talent." He continues, "The benefit of arts education to disadvantaged children is immeasurable. The positive impact on their lives is priceless." He adds, "Making the arts available to these children has allowed them avenues for healthy emotional expressions of deep-seated pain and newfound happiness." Goldman praised the CSC, saying that it is the driving force behind infusing arts education in child-serving agencies across Broward - and HANDY’s most important partner. Their efforts are truly worthy of community-wide applause!"

The Broward County Cultural Division’s ArtsEd Forever! Program proudly celebrated these individuals and organizations who truly excel in giving their talents and gifts away to benefit the children and youth of our community. Artistic disciplines in schools and community organizations are critical to the development of young minds. Arts education fosters confidence, creative problem solving, collaboration and communication, crucial in every aspect of their lives. As Michelle Terl says, "Our youth become the creative thinkers and innovators of the 21st century." CQ

ArtsEd Forever LogoThe ArtsEd Forever! event is a dazzling, arts-filled array of activities scheduled for October 28, 2015, at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
It’s a very special evening with a private reception for award nominees and sponsors, followed by a public reception for supporters, parents and families. The night culminates in a stage production featuring performances by youth from Broward County schools, followed by the awards presentations to the arts educators of the year, the exceptional arts education organization and outstanding contributors to arts education. The event will also be the kickoff for the one-year term of service of the Arts Education Ambassador.

Interested in Sponsoring the ArtsEd Forever! 2015-2016 Program?
The Broward County Cultural Division is seeking private sector contributors who believe in the powerful effect of arts education on academic achievement and creativity and its ability to inspire a desire for lifelong learning. The Division aims to raise $25,000 to make this event happen.

Committed sponsors will have their names and company logos prominently displayed in the event program and will receive recognition at the ArtsEd Forever! receptions and public event on October 28 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. For information contact Grace Kewl-Durfey at 954-357-7869 or Brittany Martin at 954-357-4795.

Arts Education

Art and Culture Center of Hollywood’s 
Distance Learning Program
 By Lisa Turano Wojcik

School is not always a regular day of “the three R’s.” Occasionally, Broward public school students get a real treat in the form of a hands-on interactive lesson in the arts. The lessons are so lively and fun that while students are busy painting and building their creations, they don’t even realize they are learning science or math at the same time. Or if they do, they really enjoy it. The Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, in partnership with the Broward County School Board, offers a free, creative, arts-based Integrated Distance Learning Program for public school students. The teleconferencing sessions allow students to interact in real-time with teachers and artists without leaving their classrooms. ACCH delivers its program through the Broward Education Communication Network (BECON).  These lively classes utilize various themes and presentations in the visual and performing arts to complement the core curriculum areas of math, language arts, history, and cultural studies for grades K through 12, including exceptional education (ESE) classes.

The Art and Culture Center of Hollywood is a highly respected non-profit organization under the auspices of the City of Hollywood. The Center is located in the historic Kagey mansion at 1650 Harrison Street in downtown Hollywood. The building houses contemporary gallery spaces as well as a student gallery for youth and adult arts education. Next door the Center’s Arts School hosts afternoon, evening and summer arts education programs for the community. Since 2005, the Center has been designated as one of eight Major Cultural Institutions in Broward County. ACCH promotes contemporary, innovative artist exhibitions and provides high-quality music, theater, and visual arts programming, implements outreach endeavors, and provides diverse cultural services to the local community.  ACCH also provides excellent arts programming for schools and other non-profits. Integrated Arts Distance Learning is funded by the Broward Cultural Council, Helen Ingham Foundation, Target, City of Hollywood, and Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.

Susan Rakes, Assistant Director of the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, oversees its education department. As the arts were progressively reduced and eliminated from many Broward County schools due to budget constraints, Rakes noticed that there was a need for unique art lessons to fill that gap. She worked with BECON to establish the ACCH Distance Learning Program.

BECON TV is the Broward Education Communications Network, owned and operated by the School Board of Broward County. Well-known for its own distance learning programs, BECON’s Education Broadcast System (EBS) broadcasts 2-way, interactive videoconferencing between classrooms and special guests and experts. BECON broadcasts are delivered to classrooms throughout Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County.

Rakes says, “The Center’s interactive arts program not only provides students with a creative outlet, but helps in comprehending and reinforcing math, science, and language arts concepts in a fun way.” She explains that students who receive arts education learn important life skills including cooperation, critical thinking, and creative problem solving. Hands-on learning activities are a proven, positive way to reinforce academic content skills in a way that can be more easily mastered. In November, students made colorful “tie-dyed” turkey decorations from household supplies. While enjoying the physical activity, they experienced first-hand complex vocabulary words and science concepts of absorption, adhesion, and cohesion. It wasn’t a tedious lab exercise, instead, it was a fun and creative way to appreciate the concepts. Rakes adds, “The lessons also serve as a great resource for teachers that may feel uncomfortable in their own ability to offer integrated art lessons in their classrooms.” The education staff at ACCH has designed their Distance Learning Program lessons to meet Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, so all are compatible with Broward County School Board curricula.

Some Broward schools have also had to reduce sports and performing arts offerings. Rakes has expanded the program in recent years, from solely visual arts, to include music, drama, story telling, and the art of sports. She enlisted help from the Florida Panthers last December, to create the “Skate, Skate, Skate in the Sunshine State,” a lesson which combines sports, language arts, math, and science. It was a high energy lesson thanks to the wonderful staff of the Panthers Hockey team, ice skate program, and Stanley C. Panther. It taught students the “how to” skills of ice skating, vocabulary words and rhyming, and how ice skating relates to math and science concepts of angles, radii, and friction. It was such a huge hit, that ACCH and the Panthers will be presenting another lesson on May 1, 2015.

Over the past 9 years of operation, the ACCH Distance Learning Program has been very well-attended and popular. It was so successful, Rakes said, “When we first started this program, we didn’t know that we would positively impact the lives of over 10,000 students in schools throughout Broward County.”

ACCH, along with experienced teachers, artists, and experts in a variety of fields, produces all of the curriculum components. The live-feed lessons are performed by teaching artists on site at the center. Lessons are totally interactive. According to Rakes, students can see and hear the online instructor, and ask questions. They can also hear questions and responses from students in other participating schools. And the instructor can respond to any of the students in the classrooms that are signed on. To participate, teachers must register for lessons by contacting BECON. These classes are only accessible, at present, to Broward County public school classrooms through BECON. However, when funding can be secured, Rakes hopes to expand the program into a web-based platform. This will enable charter, private, and home schools to connect to the live broadcasts. In the meantime, years of archived printed lesson plans are available online at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood’s website for teachers, home school parents, and anyone to download and perform for themselves.

A recent Distance Learning Program lesson “Discovering Geometry through Tradition: Calavera Sugar Skulls,” covered the cultural studies topic of the native Mexican tradition of Día de los Muertos. Another covered an environmental science issue, with the “Endangered Species Mobile.” Some interesting lessons scheduled now through May include “Gyroscopic Sculpture” and “3-D Kinetic Sculptures: Pop-Up Valentines,” in which students will create three-dimensional art.  For more information about Distance Learning programming, call 954. 921. 3274. Or go to
Arts Education

The New

Rose Miniaci Arts Education Center

at Broward Center for the Performing Arts
                                                                         By Lisa Turano Wojcik

Broward County residents and students interested in the Arts are very fortunate. We are lucky because the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale has one of the nation’s largest arts-in-education programs.  BCPA has been in partnership with the School Board of Broward County for 24 years.  It hosts events for more than 125,000 public school students annually. This September, the newly completed addition to BCPA, the Rose Miniaci Arts Education Center, opens at 201 SW 5th Avenue in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The center’s namesake, Rose Miniaci, is known, according to Blacktie South Florida, as “a lady that makes a difference.”  She and her late husband, Alfred, have been dedicated supporters of children’s educational programming and the arts through the Rose and Alfred Miniaci Foundation, Inc. since the 1960s.  Rose supports art scholarship programs in New York and here in Fort Lauderdale, where she resides.  She has been a supporting partner with the Broward Center for Performing Arts since its beginning in 1991.

Construction of the new education center started in 2011 as part of an overall 58 million-dollar renovation and expansion effort.  The beautiful new state-of-the-art building is a dedicated educational facility.  It includes the JM Family Studio Theater, 3,000 square feet of classroom, coaching, and office space, and 2,100 square feet of space for rehearsals and recitals (Miller Construction Co., Jan. 2014).  Jan Goodheart, VP of External Affairs, boasts that the center has advanced technology that will enable distance-learning programs to connect its students with artists, locally, nationally, and worldwide.  She says that this will give students who attend RMAEC a unique opportunity to interact with a vast pool of experts.  Students from Sheridan Technical Center will also be afforded opportunities to learn from professional mentors and practice their skills in Technical Theater Production in the beautiful blue and purple seated, high-tech studio theater

The Student Enrichment in the Arts program (SEAS) is the result of the collaboration between BCPA and Broward County Schools.  This year is the SEAS program’s 24th season.  The award-winning program presents professional company theater performances in Broward Center’s Amaturo Theater free of charge for students in grades K through 12.  Performances are coordinated with the county’s curriculum, Florida state educational standards, and the Reading Residency program for economically disadvantaged students.  Thanks to the new Rose Miniaci Arts in Education Center, SEAS has been enhanced.  SEAS Plus interactive workshops related to the performances add a new way for students to expand their experience in the arts.  
After major construction was completed this summer, Sharon Brooks, Director of Education, and Jackie Carlson, Education Coordinator, were able to run a successful summer arts camp.   Doors opened officially for classes on Monday, September 8th.  Tammy Holder, resident teaching artist in music and theater coaching, joyfully welcomed students as they checked in for musical theater classes.  The two classes for children and pre-teens will run for 10 weeks.  The children will end their session with a performance of Free to Be You and Me.  And the pre-teens, together with the teen classes will culminate this December in a special performance of Willie Wonka.  Those students will collaborate in that production with theater professionals. 

Diana Shapiro, of Sunrise enrolled her daughters, Rachel and Chloe, in this Fall’s musical theater Youth class.  She said, “I signed the girls up for musical theater because I thought it would be fun, but more important, it would develop their passion for the arts.” She also hopes it will help her younger daughter, Chloe, to overcome shyness.  After experiencing her very first theater class, Rachel said, “It was fun, the teacher was nice, and we learned about acting by playing hide-and-seek.”

The talented group of teaching artists at RMAEC are guaranteed to engage students of all ages and skill levels.  With a focus on music, theater, and dance, their classes are designed to engage, enrich, and inspire a passion in students.  A selection of baby and toddler classes, including “Baby Smarts” and “Story and Play,” are available for parents attending together with their children, ages 3 to 36 months.  The same themes are offered for parents and pre-schoolers, ages 3 to 5 years.  For youth, ages 5 to 8 years old, there are classes titled “Lullaby of Broadway” and “Sing! Dance! Act!”  Pre-teen youth, ages 9 to 12, have performance workshops and mentor programs in addition to the same themes offered to younger children.  Teens, ages 12 to 18, will be able to participate in musical theater dance, musical theater singing, and Improv classes. The teen Broadway class, led by New York City music director, Tammy Holder, will feature special guest artists from the national tours of Annie and Phantom of the Opera.  It will also cover topics such as “How to Audition” and “Technical Theater Skills.”  There is also an Exceptional Theater class, unique to BCPA, for students with physical and intellectual disabilities ages 14 to adult.  

And parents don’t need to just drop off their kids and leave.  RMAEC offers a great collection of classes for adults in ballroom dancing, Improv Basics, and singing.  And for stressed out or fitness conscious folks, there are Yoga, Pilates, and Zumba.  Private lessons are also available for children to adults in voice, piano, acting, and dance.  The schedule of exciting classes for Fall 2014 is available in brochures at the center and online.  Registration can be done online at or by calling 954-414-6904.
Arts Education
2014 Arts Education Convenings & Dance Industry Symposium
By Lisa Turano Wojcik
A meeting of the minds! Assemble, congregate, meet, collect, gather, and exchange ideas with experts in Arts Education and Dance at ArtServe in Fort Lauderdale.

On Wednesday, May 14, 2014, the Broward Cultural Division hosted two back-to-back regional convenings:Arts Education: Policy, Equity and Action (2:00pm-5:00pm) and Cultivating South Florida’s Dance Community(5:30pm-8:00pm).

The convenings brought together stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and organizations, representing a range of perspectives. These gatherings are designed to generate ideas and action beyond what single individuals are able to imagine or achieve on their own.

Arts Education Convening: Policy, Equity and Action

The topics highlighted in this session were the result of a decade-long study and report, Reinvesting in Arts Education, published by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). PCAH is a research board currently headed by First Lady Michelle Obama, who serves as honorary chair.

1.   Introducing model policies to reinforce the place of arts in K-12 education. The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities believes that the arts should be part of the education of every child in America. The PCAH supports initiatives that give young people the opportunity to experience accomplishments that are part of being an artist and scholar. The PCAH forms these beliefs into governmental policies which help support the arts in education at local levels.
Building collaborations among different approaches. 
One aim of this convening was to foster partnerships among places of art - museums, galleries, artists’ studios, acting and dance ensembles, local governments, schools, universities, and other community organizations. Through collaboration comes artistic advancement, which will in turn benefit communities.

2.   Developing the field of arts integration. Broward teaching artist Timothy Leistner, Ed.D, believes that integration of the arts into school curricula is of vital importance. Engagement in the arts gives students skills which cross over to and enhance core academic areas. 

He also says, "I believe it is important that artistic endeavors are provided for the sake of ‘creating art,’ which is important in itself! And the arts have no socioeconomic barriers; engagement in the arts benefits children from all economic backgrounds."

3.   Expanding opportunities for teaching artists. Betsy Mullins-Urwin, art services director at Arts for Learning Miami talked about her organization’s Teaching Artist Training and Certification Program. The program will give training and credentials to local artists interested in sharing their talents with the community through teaching in schools and other educational programs.

A4LMiami is one of South Florida’s leading sources of arts-in-education services. It provides programs that connect the arts to core-curriculum subjects. This connection promotes life and communication skills, literacy, problem solving, self-discovery, and self-esteem.
Dance Industry Symposium – Cultivating South Florida’s Dance Community The Broward Cultural Division invited businesses, organizations, educators, dancers, choreographers, schools, and suppliers involved in the dance industry to join in a discussion with the public.

Participants explored critical questions.
What is the state of dance in South Florida? This lively forum brought more attention to the discipline of dance, an art often left out of the spotlight. It’s a rare opportunity for both the experts and the public to inform policymakers on issues, needs, and concerns specific to the field of dance.  Photo:
Buraczeski Etude Choreography Danny Buraczeski Dancers Bak MSOA Dance
Repertory (2014) Photographer S & O Photo
Program attendees experienced a real treat. Talented dance students from Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach performed short modern dances learned from collaborating with Laura Bennett of the American Dance Legacy Initiative from Brown University. Bak MSOA is a premier magnet school for the visual and performing arts in Palm Beach County. The performance was followed by an interactive workshop and discussion panel.
What can be done to ensure dance as a viable, thriving arts discipline within the region? The American Dance Legacy Initiative (ADLI) is part of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University in Rhode Island. ADLI produces innovative materials and programs designed to engage artists, educators and the public with America’s dance heritage of signature works by historical and contemporary choreographers. ADLI has been working to develop a unique compilation, the Repertory Etudes Collection.
Julie Adams Strandberg, co-founder of ADLI, says this collection comprises a common knowledge of dance history and movement traditions which are rarely ever shared in the field of arts education.
ADLI’s purpose is to widely share this collection with dance organizations and schools. Strandberg and Bennett plan to offer "concrete nuts and bolts tools" that dance students can use. Bennett explains that these dances are adaptable to a variety of skills levels, affording all students the ability to practice this repertoire.
Martha Satinoff, Dance Director at Bak MSOA is enthusiastic about ADLI’s work. "It challenges us artistically and technically. It brings modern dance history into our classrooms and onto the stage, allowing our dancers to be a part of passing the art from one generation to the next." Strandberg was excited about "realizing our vision in Florida during this event."
Toranika Washington, dance director at the University School at Nova Southeastern University, says, "This is an exciting opportunity for creative growth and development for South Florida artists. I’m looking forward to it, and I encourage all artists, especially dance educators to attend." 


These two events were made possible by the following collaborators: American Dance Legacy Initiative at Brown University; VSA Florida; Florida Dance Education Organization; Arts for Learning Miami; the School Board of Broward County; Broward County Board of County Commissioners; Broward Cultural Council; ArtServe; Children’s Services Council of Broward County; Kravis Center for the Performing Arts; Power of Performance, Inc.; Bak Middle School of the Arts; Body and Soul Dance Theatre; and Brazz Dance.

Both sessions were free of charge and hosted by ArtServe, 1350 E Sunrise Boulevard.

Arts Education

Broward County ; Cultural Home ; Cultural Quarterly Online ; Live ;Arts Teacher of the Year
Arts Teacher of the Year Program
Celebrates Outstanding Educators
by Lisa Turano Wojcik

The goal of teaching the creative arts is to have a profound, multi-faceted influence on the development of the whole individual.  The 2013 Broward County Arts Teacher of the Year Program honored five outstanding educators who achieved that goal.

The Broward Cultural Division and its partner, Business for the Arts of Broward, presented their 28th annual awards in November at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.  The program highlights the excellence of arts educators, the critical nature of artistic disciplines in schools and their impact on developing young minds.  This was the first year the program presented Honor of Excellence awards in five separate categories: visual arts, music, theater, dance and teaching artist. It was also the first year private schools were eligible.

Visual Arts

The 2013 winner for visual arts is Keri Porter from Wingate Oaks Center in Lauderhill.  Porter specializes in teaching special needs students.  She has a bachelor of fine arts from Florida Atlantic University, is National Board-certified and is pursuing a master's degree in special education focusing on autism.  Among numerous awards, Porter has been honored as the BAEA Art Teacher of the Year for Exceptional Needs Students and Wingate Oaks Teacher of the Year.  She is passionate about her students. "Art is for everyone!" she says.  "For 16 years I have worked with the county's most needy and medically fragile students. It's truly my honor and privilege to work with them daily."  She adds, "Art is much deeper than just the pleasure it brings. It can heal wounds, help children learn and help people communicate and express hidden emotions."  Porter's greatest contributions are teaching educators to adapt methodologies to be accessible to anyone with any disability and giving her students opportunities to express themselves through art   providing experiences they might not otherwise have.


John Nista from Ramblewood Middle School in Coral Springs was the winner for music.  A 33-year teaching veteran, Nista has spent the past 18 years as band director at Ramblewood.  He holds degrees from Youngstown State and Nova Southeastern University. He received the Oliver Hobbs Award from the Florida Bandmasters Association and has directed all-state middle school bands.  John was listed as one of the Fifty Directors Who Make a Difference and received Teacher of the Year three times at Ramblewood.  Nista believes that the arts inspire, stimulate and develop students' imaginations and can help every student with development in school toward academic success. Humbled and honored by this latest award, he says, "Through music, I try to relay the importance of teaching life skills and building self-confidence. I treat each student as if they were my own child and hope to make their lives a little more fulfilled."


The winner for theater was Jason Zembuch from South Plantation High School in PlantationZembuch has taught for 17 years, 10 of those as director of South Plantation's theater program.  He incorporates deaf and hard-of-hearing students through his Theater for the Deaf.  His nationally recognized program is one of the only theater venues in South Florida accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences.  Zembuch's stage productions have won National CAPPIES Program Best Play or Musical awards and were showcased at the Florida State Thespian Festival.  He is guest artist at the Center for Hearing and Communication and also volunteers with Kids in Distress.  He holds a master's degree in directing from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt UniversityZembuch believes it's important to instill in his kids that "no" and "can't" don't exist.  "When faced with obstacles," he says, "we must figure out how to overcome them, not if we can overcome them."  In creating an environment where students can take risks and discover the craft, he helps them discover who they are as people.


Toranika Washington from University School at Nova Southeastern University in Davie was the winner for dance.  Washington is the University School's dance director, sponsor for the National Honor Society for Dance and founding director of Innovations Dance Theater.  She received her master's degree in teaching and; learning from NSU and is pursuing her MFA in choreography from Jacksonville University.  An award-winning choreographer, she has performed for Universal Studios, taught master classes and lectured at conferences.  She assisted in writing the Sunshine State Standards for dance programs used in all Florida schools.  She was one of eight dance educators chosen for the national Surdna Foundation Arts Teacher Fellowship Award.  The talented Washington keeps herself aware of innovative explorations by attending workshops and conferences and staying connected to the global dance community.  She helps her students to be involved in many workshops that offer opportunities to train with master dance specialists. "These experiences," Washington says, "enhance my students' mental and physical awareness of the dance world, and enrich their personal growth and development."

Teaching Artist

The winner for the newest category, teaching artist, is Dr. Timothy Leistner, Ed.D.  For more than 10 years, Leistner has made a significant impact on the arts in Broward County as an artist, writer and educator.  He founded the Art Intended for All art education program for special needs adults and also worked with the YMCA to provide art programs for special needs children.  He is the owner of the Artist's Eye Fine Art Gallery in Dania Beach and was named the "Best Visual Artist - Broward/Palm Beach" by New Times Magazine. He was also received Artist of the Year for Community Impact and Individual Art Leadership both from ArtServe Encore Awards.  Dr. Leistner believes it is most important to inspire students to be personally creative and express themselves individually.  "A zest for learning will lead them to build confidence in their abilities," he says. "Teaching the arts is not only vital to developing a wholeness of one's education, but is also a joy."

"The arts can help students become tenacious, team-oriented problem-solvers who are confident and able to think creatively," says Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education.  The Broward County Arts Teacher of the Year Program proudly celebrates teachers who excel in developing these confident, creative thinkers. 


Broward County > Cultural Home > Cultural Quarterly Online > Live > Arts Education

Necessary Tools for the Public Artist:
ative Artist Advancement Program
By Lisa Turano Wojcik

How would you interpret the word “diversity” by acting it out? How could you use theater skills to bring an urban issue to the attention of a community to effect positive change? And how could you convince a local government agency to pay you for your art? These are some of the questions answered – among many others – through the Broward Cultural Division’s Creative Artist Advancement Program.

Creative, ambitious individuals from all backgrounds - painters, sculptors, architects, writers, actors and filmmakers who possess keen interests in contemporary urban, historical, aesthetic and technological issues - enrolled in the workshop series this spring.  The five-and-a-half-day professional development program took these creative individuals through the business skills required to partner with community redevelopment agencies and the creative ideas needed to produce art projects that bring renewed life to public spaces.

Broward County arts consultant Elizabeth Wentworth, who recently was engaged by the city of Dania Beach to write its cultural plan, characterizes CAAP as “An excitingly innovative way of connecting artists with community, government and, most importantly, commissions; the end result will be more inviting environments and authentic place-making.” 

The most recent CAAP series kicked off on Friday, April 26, and was followed on the weekend by a two-day workshop, “Public Art and Design,” chaired by Lynn Basa, a renowned Chicago-based public artist.  Participants explored the basics of public art through a day of lectures, panel discussions, presentations and hands-on activities.  On day two, Lynn and local painter and instructor Henning Haupt expanded on the topic with a day of critiques and sample presentations to demonstrate the artist selection and review process.

Marie L. York, senior fellow with the University of Florida’s Center for Building Better Communities, gave a “Community Design” workshop on May 4.  Artists learned what community design means, what it does for redevelopment areas and what cutting-edge work is happening.

Barbara Schaffer Bacon, Massachusetts-based co-director of Animating Democracy, taught the third workshop, “Civic Engagement,” on May 11.  She provided a perspective on how to identify community issues and opportunities and to formulate project goals.  Bacon also explained ideas about civic engagement and how to build effective collaborations and partnerships.

“Starting and Funding Your Project” on May 18 was the last session, which was conducted by Marty Pottenger, a widely known solo performance artist and director.  Artists focused on ways to initiate and fund their own projects in innovative ways. They learned where to procure funding for projects that can serve the needs of communities.

Broward Cultural Division Arts Administrator Grace Kewl-Durfey and Pottenger escorted CAAP participants on a walking tour of the Flagler Arts and Technology - “FAT Village” - area.  Artists got first-hand experience in interacting with the community by engaging in an outdoor theater exercise:  physically interpreting words that suggest social and community issues. This was much to the delight of passersby.  Robert Wojcik, senior planner for the City of Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency, assisted workshop leaders by describing ways in which individuals and businesses can approach local government agencies for grants and public art commissions which enhance community environments.

Judging from the reaction of the participants, CAAP is meeting its objectives.  “CAAP covered all our concerns that for years were a constant ‘what if we could?’  Now, our strength and confidence has increased, we have the tools to reach our goals, and our work has a better chance to be seen,” said workshop participants Nazlly Fajardo and Nestor Guzman.

“The caliber of the speakers and their willingness to share their knowledge left us with tremendous interest in giving back to our communities, and to inspire others to do the same,” they added.

An additional workshop was offered on Saturday, August 10, “Engaging Community in Creative Ways.”  Presented by Bacon, this experiential interactive workshop focused on techniques for cultivating good partnerships, conducting focus groups and interviews, mapping exercises, story circles and leading meetings.  Artists discovered how they can help residents imagine more meaningful public art in their communities and how to promote the arts as a powerful catalyst for community, civic and social change. 

“I have discovered a whole new realm of opportunities to explore,” noted workshop participant Jacklyn Laflamme. “Listening to the incredible speakers has motivated me to set new goals.”

Broward-based artists who completed the entire series of workshops were rewarded with an opportunity to apply for seed funding to create new art ideas.  Letters of interest were submitted by June 7.  Project proposals are to be submitted by October 29.  Four $5,000 grants will be awarded at a reception on December 30.

The Broward Cultural Division will repeat the Creative Artist Advancement Program workshops in the future. For more information, contact Grace Kewl-Durfey at 954-357-7869, or visit, for the application and further details.

December 2011 E-News Brief


As reported in last month's e-news, the 1960
Pan Am Worldport (now Delta Terminal 3), is slated for demolition to make way for the expansion of Delta Terminal 4. Lisa Turano Wojcik, daughter of the late Emanuel Turano, FAIA (formerly of Ives, Turano, and Gardner and one of the principal architects of the Pan Am Worldport), is an advocate for Save the Pan Am Worldport and shares this account:

Delta Airlines is the current owner of a famous landmark at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York: the former Pan American World Airways Worldport terminal, now simply called T3. Delta has been planning for years to demolish T3, citing the structure is not only in great disrepair, but that it is also obsolete for use with today’s much larger aircraft and current airport security measures.

Many oppose the total destruction of this historically and architecturally significant building, specifically the portion called the "Saucer" or "Rotunda." We believe that Terminal 3's rotunda is an iconic piece of American heritage and aviation history. It exemplifies the epitome of inventiveness that characterized mid twentieth century architecture. This great building represents modern American design at its best. It symbolizes the post-World War II period when our nation was at its height in innovation and the economy was booming. This time was the peak of great change in culture, art, architecture, and engineering.

The terminal, originally known as the Pan Am Terminal was designed in the late 1950s by the architectural firm of Ives, Turano, and Gardner in association with architect Walther Prokosch of Tippets-Abbett-McCarthy-Stratton. The principal architect, Emanuel Turano, won an award of excellence from the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) for the design. The terminal was built in 1960 as a showcase for international jet travel and is particularly famous for its four-acre cantilevered "flying saucer" roof.

Worldport ushered in the Jet Age with the Boeing 707, and later also introduced the world to the magnificent Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet. The building launched the Beatles’ British Invasion when they arrived there. The "Flying Saucer," as it was affectionately called by fans of aviation and mid-century modern architecture, has been featured in many feature films, TV shows, and magazine shots for its unique elliptical, futuristic design. Worldport briefly appeared in the James Bond film Live and Let Die and in the opening sequence of The Family Man, starring actor Nicolas Cage. In the film That Touch of Mink, Doris Day boarded a Pan Am flight out of the Worldport. The Saucer was featured on the cover of Life magazine several times and is now featured throughout the television series Pan Am.

Last year, Delta Air Lines and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced a $1.2B redevelopment project at JFK International Airport to expand Terminal 4. On August 4, 2010, The New York Times reported that Delta planned to move international flights to Terminal 4 by mid 2013, following the construction of nine additional gates in Concourse B. Delta's domestic flights continue to operate out of Terminal 2. Complete demolition of Terminal 3 is expected shortly after the move, and the space will be used for parking planes.

Growth in air traffic is inevitable, and the resulting demand for modern, efficient, and secure airport facilities is essential. Yes, the current facility at Terminal 3 has outlived its usefulness in this regard. However, preservation advocates say the main Worldport structure can be saved by some creative planning and foresight. Saving at least part of Worldport's contribution to America's aviation and architectural history can include an altered redevelopment plan, restoring the Flying Saucer’s rotunda and using it as part of the connector in the planned walkway between the existing T2 and the new T4 expansion. The new walkway would give Delta Air Lines an instantly recognizable identity at JFK. It can also house upscale restaurants and pubs, duty-free shopping, a unique Delta Skyclub, and a magnificent view of the airfield. This would make it a useful, revenue-generating part of the terminal, an additional justification for preservation.


T3 in October 2011. Photo: Edith Bellinghausen
Additionally, reinstalling the Milton Hebald Zodiac sculptures that once adorned the screened entrance to the terminal would both restore the façade’s original architectural integrity and increase the structure’s historical significance.

The famous gull-winged TWA Flight Center (Eero Saarinen, 1962) has been granted protected landmark status, spared from the chopping block and undergoing restoration. The 1960 Worldport was unfortunately not given the same protection as a New York City Landmark, nor deemed eligible for National Register of Historic Places because of the additions and alterations made to the original saucer structure over time. There is great concern that Terminal 3 will meet the same fate as the equally distinguished "Sundrome" Terminal (1969), which was was unceremoniously demolished in October 2011 despite pleas from Henry Cobb, partner of the globally award-winning architect I.M. Pei.

Kalev Savi, a Systems Engineer in Sydney, Australia, with former ties to Pan Am Airlines, is heading up a preservation effort. He has created a petition at addressed to Richard H. Anderson, CEO of Delta Airlines, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and Chairman Robert B. Tierney of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. You can help by signing the petition, and by following this concerned group on Facebook at With the success of this effort, T3 Worldport will no longer be seen as an aging, outdated facility, but a revitalized icon that will continue to intrigue and attract the traveling public just as it did at the dawn of the Jet Age.

The United States was arguably at its best during the 1950s and 1960s. Americans did some pretty amazing things. The Worldport is one of them. During those decades, we wowed the world with our accomplishments and our inventive American way. This building represents America at its best, and it is a great example of that wow factor. We need to save it so we can remember who we were and what made us great.

- Lisa Turano Wojcik


© 2011 L.W.

Filler articles for magazine, journal, or newspaper:

Sound travels 343.2 meters per second (0.213254 miles per second or 768 mph) in air. Sound does not travel in a vacuum.

Light travels at a constant 299,792,458 meters per second (186,282 miles per second or 3,104.7 mph) in a vacuum.  It travels 90 meters per second slower through air.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc is Latin for "after this, therefore because of this." It is a logical fallacy meaning, "Since that event followed this one, that event must have been caused by this one" (not taking into account other factors). It is known as false cause or coincidental correlation.

Where’s That Darned Umbrella When You Need It?
Do you wonder where your umbrella is when you need it? I’m always losing those pesky folding umbrellas. As soon as it rains, I look for one. When I’m in my office, the umbrella is in my car. If I’m in my car, the darn thing is in the house!

© 2011 L.W.

Weird News Article:

July 31, 2010 8:52 AM


     Medical Mystery - Headless Cat Lives!!
                 By Black Diamond


Mr. Spots, the headless cat. © 2010 Black Diamond

SUNRISE, FL -- A South Florida family has a living headless cat

ur Mr. Spots had a terrible accident, but survived, thank God," says owner, Black Diamond. It's amazing!

Veterinarian, Dr. Rochelle Stone of Animal Hospital of Sunrise, in Sunrise, FL, say this was the most complex surgery she has ever performed at her animal clinic.

"Dr Stone said, “Ms. Diamond was desperate and brought him in quickly after the accident. We did what we could to close the gaping neck wound, but only afterwards did we realize that the head was missing."

Days after the landmark surgery, Spots was taken off of life support and incredibly got up and walked about.

The cat owner's sons, Dominic and Devon replied, "He bumps into a lot of things; it's cool!"

Mr. Spots is hungry, but no one has yet discovered just how he manages to eat.

Ms. Diamond attests that this photograph she took of Mr. Spots is genuine and not retouched or photoshopped.
© 2010 L.W.

Book Introduction & Review:

Book Forward Ghostwritten by Black Diamond
Review: After Life, What? A Post-Death Quest (Paperback)
One Man's Personal Quest for Self Education, September 14, 2007

This book was written as the result of one man's twenty-year campaign to educate himself on matters that he previously considered well beyond his grasp. It is remarkable how he engagingly explains complex ideas in a way that the "common person" can comprehend.

I personally know people who read this book after the loss of a loved one and were comforted by it's message. Not only were they comforted, but it opened their minds to consider new personal beliefs about the soul and what comes after this life. -LW

Where to buy this book:

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