EMAIL YOUR COMMISSIONERS

Our partners in Broward County have neglected to institute proper safety and cleaning procedures relating to COVID-19 during the pandemic at the Young At Art facility. They are wrongfully withholding grant money from Young At Art Museum (YAA), grossly mismanaged the maintenance of the County Building, and are moving to wrongfully terminate YAA’s lease at the Broward County Building amidst the COVID-19 pandemic when Broward County forced YAA to stop operations through an executive order but continue to charge them for rent and operating costs.


We would love to continue to serve the Broward community and look forward to a meaningful conversation about the future of Young At Art Museum and Broward County’s partnership. Read below to learn our story and how you can take action! YAA will do everything in our power to continue to serve you through the Arts. Now, we call on you to stand with us!




CLICK HERE TO LEARN OUR STORY



        Young At Art Museum (YAA) has had the privilege to serve the community for over 31 years, impacting the lives of families and inspiring the child in all of us through the power of art. We provide art to children for whom having an outlet and form of expression is so crucial including homeless children, children in transitional homes, children with autism or other sensory integration sensitivities, at-risk teen girls and many underserved children. Since opening our doors in 1989, Young At Art Museum has served over 1 million constituents in Broward County. While art programming has recessed in public schools across the county, Young At Art Museum has expanded to meet the growing creative and cultural needs of our community. YAA was financially successful in our first two locations with landlords who understood the importance of the arts and generously provided donated space. We are forever grateful to them for believing in our mission.


        In 2006, Founder and CEO, Mindy Shrago led a capital campaign fundraising millions of dollars towards the purchase of land and construction of YAA’s first permanent home. In May of 2012, our dream was realized: the opening of a 55,000 square foot state-of-the-art Gold Green LEED certified YAA building, housing a 10,000 square foot children’s library. Our lease with Broward County stated that they “believe that YAA is a valuable resource to the community that adds culture and provides educational experience for County’s youth, and (the) County hopes that YAA succeeds and maintains its presence in Broward County for a long time.” We were excited to work together with Broward in service of our community. Unfortunately, we quickly understood that our partners did not view YAA as a valuable resource and would not hold up their end of the partnership. Now, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Broward County’s punitive actions have ensured YAA’s failure.


        From the onset of our partnership, the County has grossly mismanaged the maintenance of the YAA building and the surrounding campus. In 2014, an investigation was opened into the Broward County Facilities Management Division and in 2016, an OIG report filed. In it, the Inspector General found “Gross Mismanagement” for the Division's oversight of landscaping vendors. (...Gross Mismanagement by the Broward County Facilities Management Division, Ref. OIG 14-026). The OIG report lists four photographs of unsightly lawn conditions and states “The Young at Art Facility is yet another example of the unacceptable conditions.” This OIG report was kept quiet and no newspaper outlet or media coverage came of the report. At the time of the investigation, Ian Mitchell was the Contract Administrator responsible for managing, coordinating, monitoring, and evaluating performance of the vendors that service the YAA building. During his interview with the OIG, Mr. Mitchell admitted that he had “dropped the ball” and “should have done more” in reference to his oversight of YAA’s landscaping vendor. Instead of making positive personnel changes, the County promoted Ian Mitchell to assistant director of the Broward County Facilities Management Division.


        The OIG report was created to correct gross mismanagement but with nobody at the County held accountable, we have been left with the continued repercussions. We have documented the consequences YAA has faced due to this mismanagement which include but are not limited to:


                 1. After YAA opened its doors in 2012, the County did not install signage onto the building for Young At Art until January 2020, despite continued requests


                 2. Inoperable security and operational tools which pose security risks to YAA and have been ignored by the County such as the many broken security cameras, broken PA system and lack of sound activated security alarms on exterior doors.


                 3. Drone aerial footage of our dilapidated building, which had badly deteriorated due to the failure of the paint to adhere as necessary preparations were not taken prior to painting. We have uncovered the County’s report from a lab which confirms this finding and is public record.


                 4. Videos, photographs and other documents (some of which are also public record) which clearly exhibit mismanagement that resulted in improper lawn maintenance.


                 5. The County-contracted Cleaning Supervisor neglected conducting annual cleanings, referred to as “air qualities.”


                 6. County-contracted vendors commonly entered the premises without supervision from YAA’s building manager. This often exposed children to dangerous areas of the museum including one occasion when four children entered the Young At Art Server room.


                 7. The unauthorized use of YAA machinery by County employees including the haphazard abandonment of the lift in the library.


                 8. Unlabeled circuit breakers, a simple yet crucial task when considering the safety of children and families.


                 9. Substandard plumbing maintenance which led to the most recent diagnosis of needing complete renovation due to neglect.


                 10. Neglected to install cover for outdoor kilns, creating unsafe working conditions for students.




        Without proper building maintenance, it became more challenging to maintain the business within. For years, we explained to the County that their gross mismanagement and lack of service are damaging the building, making fundraising impossible for us and putting our partnership and service to the community at risk. The County responded with claims of past operating (mostly maintenance) expenses. Their actions have not been those of a partner who hopes for our success, but rather of one who wants to be paid in full for services poorly provided or not provided at all.


        Currently YAA has paid rent through February 29, 2020 up until the COVID-19 pandemic began. On March 17, 2020, the County issued executive orders which directed YAA to close its doors and suspend all programs and functions due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. YAA lost revenue with the termination of Museum admissions, fundraisers, camps, classes, field trips, birthdays, and community events. In the face of great uncertainty and adversity, YAA staff continued to enrich and empower our community through the arts by driving to underserved communities to distribute art kits, mask-making kits and Bombas socks via our ArtREACH Program and Summer Break Spot sites. Our Community Initiatives Team also conducted a Driving Graduation Party for ArtREACH families, delivering students’ graduation certificates and artwork made during the school year, non-perishable food bags, balloons and goodie bags with toys.


        YAA generates most of its income during the Summer but unfortunately that revenue stream was also greatly affected because of the drastic social distancing and capacity requirements put in place by the County due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Summer Camp was our only paid program we could run yet it operated at a financial loss and ran solely for the benefit of our constituents who needed a place for their children while they were at work. We hoped to find a partner in the County- one that could work together in prioritizing the safety of our staff, students and their families however the County completely mismanaged many health protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. When YAA reported COVID-19 concerns and asked for guidance and proper reporting, no known action was taken. County-vendor Triangle Cleaning Services manager falsely accused the museum of two positive COVID-19 cases, setting in motion a highly consequential staff-wide rumor by sharing this fabricated medical information with another Triangle employee. Instead of making the necessary reports about county/vendor transgressions, the County FMD department sent the museum a letter saying they were suspending services by the County Janitorial Vendor in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.


        As a non-profit Young At Art Museum serves Broward County and is therefore eligible for funding provided by our County’s Cultural Division. Because of YAA’s quality programs we were designated to receive two grants totalling over $160,000.00 from the Cultural Division. In an attempt to attack YAA and hurt its ability to fight the County in an upcoming legal dispute, we were informed by the Cultural Division that they, “have been advised by the administration of the County to withhold releasing some of these agreements be they the supplemental grant contract and also the processing of the amendment to the operating grant as well.” We called the Cultural Division to ask for further guidance and they informed us that they had never seen funds withheld in this manner and that they would need to speak to the commissioners for further guidance. (Recording attached)




        After refusing to maintain our building, suspending our programs, offering no support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and then withholding our grants, the County delivered their lethal blow on July 29th when they sent YAA an eviction notice. In it they stated that YAA had 10 days to make maintenance payments (despite their lack of upkeep on our maintenance) and rent payments (despite our inability to conduct any programming due to Broward County’s order). YAA was forced to cancel the upcoming year of preschool and the last two weeks of summer camp, forcing many parents to hastily search for alternative childcare options.


        We would love to continue to serve the Broward community and look forward to a meaningful conversation about the future of Young At Art Museum and Broward County’s partnership. However, in order to move forward we need your help showing the Broward County Commission why the arts matter in Broward! Sign the petition and read below to get involved in our social media campaign.











HOW YOU CAN HELP


1. Support the museum and make your voice heard by sign up to be part of the Committee meeting with the Commissioners on Tuesday, September 22 2020, starting at 10:00AM. We are the #55 in the agenda.


Please Follow this link to register: Commisioners Committee meeting
---> Agenda Number: 55
---> Link for the Agenda: HERE
---> Links for the live video streaming : YOUTUBE , FACEBOOK and TWITTER
After submitting your registration online, you will receive an email with a telephone number to call, and a personalized access code. It will look like this:

On the day of the meeting:


-Call the telephone number you are given. You can call up to 10 minutes prior to the meeting start time. Your call will be answered and you will be put into a "Listen Only" mode until the Agenda Item number you have signed up to speak about is called.

-When it is time for you to speak, the Mayor will direct the conference operator to unmute your line. The Mayor will ask you to introduce yourself and tell you how much time you have to speak.

-If you are going to be watching the webcast/broadcast from your remote location, please mute the speaker on the device you are watching from BEFORE your line is unmuted to speak. This will help prevent feedback on the webcast/broadcast.

-The Mayor will let you know when the time you have been given to speak expires and will offer Commissioners the opportunity to comment or ask questions.

-At the conclusion of your comments, you can either hang up or stay on the line and listen to the rest of the meeting.










2. Share our #SaveYaa campaign Via FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM on your profiles and/or stories expressing how much you love YAA.


View this post on Instagram

#SaveYAA! 🚨 Broward County is the landlord of Young At Art Museum (YAA) and forced YAA to stop operations through an Executive Order amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Contrary to this, they continued to unlawfully charge YAA for rent and operating costs while simultaneously ceasing proper safety and cleaning procedures throughout the Broward County Facility. They have grossly mismanaged the maintenance of the building and are wrongfully withholding grant money from this non-for-profit organization. Broward County is now moving to terminate YAA’s lease. 💫 YAA will do everything in its power to continue to serve you through the arts. Over the past 31 years, we have served over 1 million constituents in Broward County by providing art to those whom having an outlet and form of expression is crucial. These include children without homes, children in transitional homes, children with autism or other sensory integration sensitivities, at-risk teen girls, and underserved children. Now, we call on you to stand with us! Please share this post on your feed! Tag @YoungAtArtMuseum and anyone who loves this museum, children, the community, or art! ✊🏾 Also tag those in charge of making the decisions for this Broward County Facility @browardcommissioninfo @mayordaleholness @michaeludine @beamfurr @mark_bogen @commissionersharief @senator_steve_geller 💜🧡💛 Visit link in @youngatartmuseum's bio to learn more and email Broward commissioners!

A post shared by Young At Art Museum (@youngatartmuseum) on








3. Show your support to #SAVEYAA with a Chair that Cares. Decorate the provided metal chair with spray paint, paint, pictures, drawings, glitter, mixed media and add #SAVEYAA anywhere on the chair. Each chair will represent your Voice and Family and will be part of a temporary installation on Thursday, September 10th in front of the Government Center. The chairs will be removed at the end of the Commission Meeting. Please pick up a metal chair from the YAA courtyard anytime, Friday, September 4- Tuesday, September 8 and return to YAA’s courtyard by Wednesday, September 9. Send questions or comments to mberlin@youngatartmuseum.org









4. If the top button doesn't work for you "EMAIL COMMISSIONERS", please copy and paste the emails of all Commissioners, the Subject and the Body provided below in your email, sign it with just adding your name and send it.



Email these addresses

nrich@broward.org,
mbogen@broward.org,
mudine@broward.org,
lfisher@broward.org,
sgeller@broward.org,
bfurr@broward.org,
tryan@broward.org,
bsharief@broward.org,
dholness@broward.org,
bhenry@broward.org,









All Comissioners Contact Information By District

DISTRICT 1 DISTRICT 2
Nan H. Rich
nrich@broward.org
Tel: 954-357-7001
Pro FB: @CommissionerNanRich
Personal FB: /nanhrich
Mark D. Bogen
mbogen@broward.org
Tel: 954- 357-7002
Pro FB:@markbogenforbrow
personal FB: /mark.bogen.9
IG: @mark_bogen
DISTRICT 3 DISTRICT 4
Michael Udine
mudine@broward.org
Tel: 954-357-7003
Pro FB: @commissionerMichaelUdine
IG: @michaeludine
Lamar P. Fisher
lfisher@broward.org
Tel: 954-357-7004
Pro FB: @commissionerlamarfisher
DISTRICT 5 DISTRICT 6
Vice Mayor Steve Geller
sgeller@broward.org
Tel: 954- 357-7005
Pro FB: @stevegellerfl
FB: /stevegellerfl
IG: @senator_steve_geller
Beam Furr
bfurr@broward.org
Tel: 954-357-7006
Pro FB: @electbeamfurr
FB: /beam.furr
IG: @beamfurr
DISTRICT 7 DISTRICT 8
Tim Ryan
tryan@broward.org
Tel: 954-357-7007
Pro FB: @TimRyan2020
FB: /TimRyan2020
IG: -
Dr. Barbara Sharief
bsharief@broward.org
Tel: 954-357-7008
Pro FB: @barbara.sharief.33
FB: /barbara.sharief
IG: @commissionersharief
DISTRICT 9 -
Mayor Dale V.C. Holness
dholness@broward.org
Tel: 954-357-7007
Pro FB: /BrowardCountyCommissionerDaleVCHolness



Contact Commissioners board

Broward County Board of County Commissioners
https://www.facebook.com/Browardinfo
IG: @browardcommissioninfo




Share in social medias and use #SaveYaa


Donate

Share this post on your feed! Tag @YoungAtArtMuseum, @BrowardCommissionInfo, @mayordaleholness , @michaeludine , @beamfurr , @mark_bogen , @commissionersharief, @senator_steve_geller and anyone who loves Young At Art Museum!

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