Monday, June 4, 2012

YAA Celebrates Grand Opening of New Museum & Broward County Library

On Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6 with the grand opening of the spectacular new 55,000 square-foot Young At Art Museum and Broward County Library in Davie, Fla. A weekend of exciting celebrations and festivities is planned for the new Museum, which will be the epicenter of cultural arts education for children and their families.

Young At Art Museum will feature four permanent, themed galleries: GreenScapes, which encourages children and adults to reconnect with nature by discovering the potential of art to call attention to environmental issues; CultureScapes, which celebrates and brings new understanding of our culturally diverse world through the eyes and art of contemporary artists; WonderScapes, a world of imagery dedicated to childhood development through art, literacy and play; and ArtScapes, which provides a thematic journey of art history where art crosses time, place and culture.  All four galleries were designed by the award-winning team of Peter and Sharon Exley of Chicago-based Architecture Is Fun, Inc., whose firm has dedicated its practice to creating family friendly designs meant to stimulate and educate young minds about the world around them. Projects include the Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum and the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

Visitors also will enjoy the unique YAA Institute, Showcased-Artist Studios/Installations, a National Traveling Exhibition Gallery, a Teen Center and Recording Studio, a Museum Gift Shop, the Tossed Up Salad Café and a 10,000 square-foot Broward County Library. A preschool and early childhood learning center will offer parents an arts-based curriculum for their young children.

“Through the joint development of this facility and its many cooperative programs, this is a groundbreaking partnership and one that we know will be a model for other museums and libraries throughout the country,” said Robert Cannon, Director of Broward County Libraries. “This unique facility will provide cooperative, hands-on computer and reading literacy programs and art education activities for families in South Florida as well as visitors.”

The Young At Art Institute features cutting edge equipment and studios that incorporate natural lighting, the truest form of illumination, especially for painting. The Young At Art Institute’s design allows students space to work outside, adding a nature component to their art education. Age-appropriate classes in painting and drawing, ceramics, mixed media, cartooning, printmaking, digital and darkroom photography and 4-D video design will be offered.

Showcased-Artists Studios/Installations will feature, among others, Kenny Scharf, Pablo Cano, Edouard Duval Carrie, Kenichi Yokono and Leonel Matheu, who collaborated with museum designers and fabricators to infuse their creative spirit and artful voice throughout the exhibition spaces.

The brainchild of artist and Young At Art Museum Executive Director Mindy Shrago, Young At Art had humble beginnings in a donated, 3,200 square-foot storefront in 1989. At a time when school arts programs were being scaled back, her focus was to make a difference in art education for children and their families in South Florida. The Museum’s exhibitions and programs quickly outgrew the space and Young At Art moved to a new expanded location in Davie in 1998.

To carry out the mission of Young At Art, “One child at a time,” Shrago formed collaborations with major corporations such as Target, IKEA, Coventry Health Care of Florida and PNC to create community outreach programs such as Target First Fridays, ArtSTART on the Go and Alice’s Wonderscapes. Under Shrago’s direction, Young At Art also conducts an arts-based program for at-risk girls in conjunction with PACE Center for Girls and ArtREACH, an after-school program dedicated to bringing the arts to children living in homeless family shelters.

“Building on 22 years of creative educational experiences and having served more than1.5 million children during that time, Young At Art has mounted its most important exhibition to date, which is the opening of our fantastic new building,” said Shrago. “By inspiring families to experience art together in meaningful ways, we are developing a new generation of tomorrow’s patrons, advocates and supporters of arts-based education.”

Projected to serve more than 500,000 children and families during its first year, the new Young At Art Museum will be a unique community gathering place and a groundbreaking model that bridges the gap between adult-oriented art museums and those specifically designed to appeal to children.

“The opening of our permanent home is testament to the steadfast support of our community, governmental and corporate partners who understand the importance of art and creative thinking and the positive impact it has on our children and families,” said Shrago.

The Museum, which is under consideration for Gold LEED-certification status by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), was designed by architect Margi Glavovic Nothard of Glavovic Studio, Fort Lauderdale. The new Museum integrates beauty, function and energy efficiency with cantilevered walls, natural woods, maximum use of natural lighting throughout the facility, a cistern for collecting rainwater, water-efficient landscaping and preferred parking for hybrid vehicles. The building itself exemplifies Young At Art’s mission of providing inspiring, interactive experiences in which art is central to shaping young minds and enriching the community, as well as a commitment to conservation and recycling. It is both a work of art and a teaching tool, incorporating the latest environmental-conscious technologies.

“There are so many environmental qualities that are an aesthetic expression of the building,” said Glavovic Nothard. “As we get ready to open, what strikes me the most about the new Young at Art Museum and the Broward County Library is a sense of the universal. Young At Art embraces everyone, yet, evokes a poetic sense of belonging and a provocative point of view.”

Young At Art is the only children’s museum in Florida and one of only six children’s museums in the nation to have achieved accreditation by the American Association of 

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