December 16, 2013|By Randall P. Lieberman, Staff Writer
In late November, the South Florida Jewish Academy held an opening reception and auction for its “Third Annual Student Art Exhibition,” which featured more than 70 pieces of original artwork created by students of the academy.
The event took place at the academy’s new modern location in Coconut Creek, a 32,600-square-foot building at 3700 Coconut Creek Parkway, which is the former home of the Technological University of America. The academy is expected to move into the new building in early 2014.
South Florida Jewish Academy, a 501(c)(3) organization, is a kindergarten through 12th-grade school for special-needs children in Coconut Creek, currently located at 4640 N.W. 74th Place.
According to Baila Gansburg, the academy’s principal and headmaster: “We are proud to display our students’ talented and unique art work. One-hundred percent of the proceeds of the exhibit will go to benefit the students of our school. We understand that all typical children, as well as those with special needs, deserve special care and attention to help them gain confidence and realize their full potential.”
The South Florida Jewish Academy students really enjoyed showing their work in the art show.
Said 12th-grader Sammi Gordon: “The art show is a unique and empowering event for us students. It makes us realize that we have much more potential than we really think.”
Added teacher Jodi Blum: “The art show gives our students the ability to feel they can accomplish tasks that they never thought they could. When they showcase and sell their art they feel extremely proud of themselves.”
The event was sponsored by Bear Givers, a New York-based nonprofit organization. The art exhibit was a part of the EmpowerArt Program created by Bear Givers.
According to Bear Givers spokeswoman Kristen DiChiaro: “The primary objective of the EmpowerArt Program is to give children who have special needs — or are hospitalized — an opportunity to showcase their artwork in a professional gallery setting. The children are the stars at their art show’s opening reception and are able to see their creative pieces framed and on display. They are always excited to see their work being shown and purchased. This experience is very empowering, as is the knowledge that they are financially benefiting their organization.”
Added Joseph Sprung, chairman of Bear Givers: “This exhibit gave so many people an opportunity to see what these talented students are capable of and how they are encouraged and nurtured by the South Florida Jewish Academy. We were happy to support an event that allowed these students to showcase their creativity.”
According to Gansburg, children at the South Florida Jewish Academy are, as a rule, taught to be creative, imaginative thinkers.
Gansburg said, “Our students are actively involved in academic and social activities that build self-confidence, self-esteem, self-motivation and pride in their Jewish heritage.”
As for the new building, attorney Daniel Kaskel, partner with Sachs Sax Caplan in Boca Raton, represented South Florida Jewish Academy in the negotiations. It ended up being a nearly $5 million deal, with Eric Fixler, managing director in Johnson Capital’s Boca Raton office, arranging a $3 million loan to finance the acquisition of the building.
Kaskel said: “The South Florida Jewish Academy is a precious and necessary resource for many South Florida families with special-needs children. The new, larger facility will enable the school to continue its growth, serving a very important role in the education of children with special needs.”