Tag Archives: children’s museum

Young At Art: One of Broward’s Top Tourist Attractions?!?

Hoping to show why Broward County should keep making financial accommodations to the troubled Young At Art(YAA), museum officials will claim to be one of the area’s top economic engines. A  museum insider provided REDBROWARD with the YAA gameplan to combat the controversies and negative press surrounding the taxpayer-funded children’s museum in Davie.

Written in 2015, the YAA playbook was prepared to combat the report from independent consultant Louise Stevens of Artsmarket. Stevens’ report focused on financial problems as well as the controversial Bedlam Lorenz Assembly (BLA) program operated by curator Zack Spechler, the son of YAA CEO Mindy Shrago. The playbook makes no mention of recent controversies exposed by REDBROWARD such as nudity, pornography and topless women.

According to the YAA playbook, “Young At Art provides over $1,500,000.00 Total Economic Benefit to Broward County.” How does YAA come up with this shocking number? It uses a convoluted cost/benefit formula from “American for the Arts.” The playbook states, “[YAA] is an economic driver, supporting jobs and generating government revenue.” 

The playbook claims YAA is responsible for $8,737,704 total expenditures in Broward. YAA claims it’s responsible for 256.8 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in Broward. YAA claims it generated “559 documented hotel nights at 11 Broward hotels in 2014/15.”

Seriously? Tourists stayed overnight in Broward 559 times to visit the Young At Art museum off 595 in Davie? If you believe that, we will build you a children’s museum, oh wait….

Let’s hope Mindy Shrago and YAA Chairman David Di Pietro have better answers when they appear before the Broward County Commission on Tuesday.

Broward taxpayers deserve real answers.

Broward Commissioner Wants County To Take Control Of Young At Art Children’s Museum

After two weeks of scandal involving financial issues and hyper-sexualized content at the Young At Art children’s museum, Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler has had enough. Wexler has put the troubled children’s museum on next week’s commission meeting agenda. Wexler wants the County to cease all negotiations with Young At Art (YAA). More importantly, Wexler wants her fellow commissioners to discuss putting YAA and its pricey preschool under the control of the Broward County Cultural Division.

If successful, this would mark the end of co-founder Mindy Shrago’s reign at Young At Art.

After intimidation games failed, REDBROWARD exposed sexualized exhibits sponsored by YAA curators and artists. These included a Naughty By Nature exhibit which apparently exposed children to pornographic imagery. This exhibit was curated by Shrago’s son Zack Spechler, a paid employee of YAA.

REDBROWARD presented videos of Shrago attending a political party hosted by her daughter, Ali Spechler. In the video, a laughing Shrago whacks a Donald Trump pinata, while her topless daughter rants about Bernie Sanders.

In another video, Ali Spechler hosted a party which vilified the political enemies of her father, Jay Spechler. At the end of the video attacking Judges Victor Tobin and Lee Seidman, Ali Spechler participates in a wet t-shirt contest.

Earlier this week, REDBROWARD revealed Shrago and YAA fundraisers continued to received pay increases even as they begged the County to renegotiate their financial deals.

Federal income tax forms filed by YAA in 2012 show Mindy Shrago’s salary jumped from $125,000 to $141,000 after Broward taxpayers built the new facility in Davie. Shrago received hefty raises in 2013 and 2014. She currently receives a $157,000 paycheck as executive director

Last month, Wexler asked Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry why Young At Art (YAA) had failed to submit their latest proposal for financial relief. Some believed YAA was “playing games” to avoid dealing with the term-limited Wexler. Others wondered if YAA chairman David Di Pietro hoped to avoid the matter while his wife, Judge Nina Weatherly Di Pietro, is facing re-election.

There is no more avoiding the issues facing Young At Art. Broward taxpayers deserve answers. On Tuesday, Shrago, Spechler and Di Pietro will have to answer to the Broward County Commission.

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