Favorite bedtime books in our house for years were the search and discovery creations of Walter Wick, the award-winning author and photographic illustrator of “Can You See What I See?” and co-creator of the famed “I Spy” series.
Now a Miami resident, Wick will present “Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic” in an engaging new show at the Lowe Art Museum on the campus of the University of Miami, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables.
The fun begins with a free opening reception and gallery talk by the artist 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday. The show will run through Sept. 24.
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“We are so excited to bring this exhibition to the Lowe because it truly holds interest for children today and the child in all of us,” said Jill Deupi, Beaux Arts Director and Chief Curator of the Lowe, in a release. “We invite our visitors of all ages to let their imaginations take flight while admiring the fantastic world and colorful whims of Walter Wick’s creative genius.”
The exhibition features early photographs, which provided a foundation for Wick’s interest in illusions, puzzles, games, and science as well as several handcrafted, meticulously detailed installation models along with large-format color photographs. Wick used these to illustrate his children’s books.
Together they provide a behind-the-scenes look at a fantastic creative process and a window into the puzzles and illusions so well known to parents everywhere.
“Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic” is the perfect platform for STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Math)-based learning, organizers said. The New Britain Museum of American Art is organizing the exhibition, with support from presenting sponsor Beaux Arts.
Disability advocate honored
South Florida native Danielle McGill has been named a Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center fellowship winner for the Ann Storck Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities.
SARTAC is known as a “national center created to share self-advocacy information and opportunities across the country.” McGill is one of six honorees this year and the opportunity will help her develop and grow leadership skills.
McGill, who lives with cerebral palsy, is a strong believer in education through advocacy and is known to not let her physical disability limit her ability to make a difference.
While a student of Taekwondo as a child, she developed a program for local disabled youth. And later as a student at Florida International University she started Club Abled, an organization focused on self-advocacy and education. As a result of her actions the school created a Disability Coordinator position.
McGill will work as the Policy Leadership Fellow with the Mobility Management Facilitation Program to bring awareness about current transportation barriers for individuals with disabilities.
“She is a bright and motivated young professional who brings a much needed insider’s perspective to our MMFP,” said CEO of ASC Charlotte Mather-Taylor in a release. “We’re so happy to have her as part of our team.”
To learn more about ASC, visit www.annstorckcenter.org/.
Free opera for family fun
One of the best things about summer is having time to relax and enjoy music as a family. Plan to experience the Riuniti Opera and the Alhambra Orchestra, with conductor Daniel Andai, in a performance of Franz Lehar’s “The Merry Widow” sung in English.
A just-for-kids, one-hour event is 10 a.m. Thursday at Ponce de Leon Middle School Auditorium, 5801 Augusto St., Coral Gables. All children are welcome, and adults, too.
A longer performance for all ages is 4 p.m. Sunday, June 25, at Temple Beth Auditorium, 5950 North Kendall Dr., Pinecrest.
Lehar’s operetta premiered in 1905 and it is frequently revived and recorded. The melodies, including the “Merry Widow Waltz,” are favorites. The cast members are Melissa Ruiz, Andres Lasaga, Eddie Valdes, Janelly Perez, Dale Kitchell, Jared Peroune, Catherine Gispert, Beatriz Menendez and Virginia Mendez. Beverly Coulter directs Riuniti Opera Company.
The free performances are a wonderful way to introduce children to opera, and beat the summer heat and rain. Both presenting organizations are local nonprofits dedicated to serving our community. Temple Beth Am has generously donated the Sunday venue. Parking is free as well. More at www.alhambramusic.org/.
Royal Court search has begun
Girls ages 9 to 14 can apply for the 2017-18 Junior Orange Bowl Royal Court. The queen and her court serve as goodwill ambassadors throughout the Festival Season and help continue a proud 66-year tradition. They also ride on the Royal Court Float at the 69th Junior Orange Bowl Parade on Miracle Mile in downtown Coral Gables on Nov. 26.
The application deadline is Aug. 11 and those interested can visit http://jrorangebowl.org/royal-court to fill out and submit the form online. This is not a beauty pageant. The queen, princesses and little sister are chosen based on personality, poise, and the desire to be involved in our community. They aspire to be future leaders and role models.
Michelle Benitez-Bermudez, Junior Orange Bowl president and former Royal Court Queen, said in a release that the honor changed her life.
“My passion to serve our community was ignited at 13 years old when I became the 1986 Junior Orange Bowl Queen. It gives me a great sense of achievement, joy, and humility to go full circle, from participant to leading this great organization as president,” she said.
The new Royal Court will be crowned at the finals on Aug. 26. All girls who participate in the search will be invited to the “Queen’s Dynasty Ball” Aug. 19. This festival season also welcomes a new Royal Court Chair and past participant Luisaura Alvarez.
“The Junior Orange Bowl Royal Court empowered me in my career and personal life. I’m confident it will continue to have a positive impact on young women for years to come,” she said.
If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at email@example.com.