St. Lucie Cultural Alliance Welcomes New Executive Director, Alyona Ushe

St. Lucie Cultural Alliance has named its new executive director, Alyona Ushe after a lengthy national search.  Ushe began her career by founding Classika-Synetic Theater in the Washington DC Metro area. In South Florida, as President and CEO of Creative City Collaborative (CCC),  she grew the organizational budget to over $3 million. She founded the critically acclaimed Arts Garage, where she presented over 500 performances by both regional and international artists and launched numerous signature series and educational and outreach initiatives. Under her leadership, CCC won highly competitive bids in Pompano Beach to revitalize, program, and operate a 3,000-seat dormant amphitheater, and to open a new $20 million Cultural Center. The Rickie Report welcomes Alyona and looks forward to working with her and the St Lucie Cultural Alliance team!








“We are thrilled that Alyona Ushe will be putting her energy, creativity, and extensive experience to move St. Lucie County’s Alliance to an entirely new level of commitment to the community it serves,” said Rebecca Miller, Chair of the St. Lucie Cultural Alliance Board of Directors.


Ushe brings over twenty years of leadership experience in launching and growing distinctly different organizations for both nonprofit institutions and municipalities. As the Alliance’s Executive Director, Ushe will lead the implementation of the SLCA strategic plan, establish and cultivate strong partnerships with artists, organizations, events, and groups in St. Lucie County, and work towards engaging compelling arts and education experiences for residents and visitors alike.


“SLCA’s overwhelming success since its reincarnation is remarkable. Neil Levine, SLCA Interim Executive Director, has done an outstanding job in developing a powerful road map for the vision and direction of the organization,” said Ushe. “I am honored to take over the reins and continue to build on the great accomplishments while developing new initiatives to strengthen St. Lucie County’s cultural economy and support the local creative community.”



St. Lucie Cultural Alliance’s new executive director, Alyona Ushe





With Ushe’s expertise and years of experience, it is foreseen that she will have no problem filling the big shoes of Dr. Neil Levine, who has been the interim director since the organization reestablished in 2018.  “I’ve been delighted to have had the opportunity to assist the cultural alliance by developing organizational structure and strategic development, resulting in significant momentum. And I am pleased that foundational work is to be built upon by a true professional. I feel sure that Alyona will further develop the alliance into a benchmark organization we can all be proud of,” said Dr. Levine.


Ushe began her career in the arts by founding Classika-Synetic Theater in the Washington DC Metro area. There she produced over 100 original productions and organized the company’s participation at numerous festivals, including the International New York Fringe Festival, The Kennedy Center Prelude Festival, and the Shakespeare Festival in Washington, DC. She created and implemented extensive education outreach programs, praised on the floor of the US House of Representatives, resulting in significant Federal Appropriation funding.


In South Florida, she was the President and CEO of Creative City Collaborative (CCC), where she grew the organizational budget from $250,000 to over three million in under five years. She founded the critically acclaimed Arts Garage, where she presented over 500 performances by both regional and international artists and launched numerous signature series and educational and outreach initiatives. Under her leadership, CCC won highly competitive bids in Pompano Beach to revitalize, program, and operate a 3,000-seat dormant amphitheater, and to open a new $20 million cultural center. Previously, Ushe was the Executive Director of the New Orleans Opera Association.


About St. Lucie Cultural Alliance:

St. Lucie Cultural Alliance (SLCA) is the professional organization representing the arts and cultural sector in St. Lucie County. SLCA’s mission is to better position the arts and cultural sector as a significant contributor to the vibrancy, and educational and economic wellbeing of St. Lucie County. SLCA is a proud partner of The City of Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie County, St. Lucie County Tourism Division, and Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County.


St. Lucie Cultural Alliance

2300 Virginia Avenue  Fort Pierce, FL 34982





For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986

“Keep Art Alive” St.Lucie Cultural Alliance Transcends Counties, Cities Or Countries. Real Resources, New Art Activities Are Available

The newest edition of “Keep Art Alive” from the St.Lucie Cultural Alliance transcends counties, cities or countries.  Anyone can use this information to continue to bring culture to their lives, as we make our way into a new world.  Learn new art techniques, find financial forums for help, discover new art resources, enjoy art activities for adults and children.  The Rickie Report shares the details and some photos here.  We are proud to be a Media Sponsor of this organization.















With school remaining closed, and summer coming with must of us still in quarantine, what is a better way to keep the family entertained than a creative art project?! Recycled art is an inexpensive and fun way to explore creativity. Plus, we all know, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  Let’s recycle and pile up on inexpensive art supplies right from home.

In this edition of “Keep Art Alive”, we will learn recycled art tips and tricks, and how to get creative on a low budget or no budget.






Found any treasures around the house? Let your imagination run wild! Create the most eye-opening recycled artwork and let us see it on social media using hashtags #artstlucie #stayhome #withartstlucie #keepartalive #jointhemovement #recycledart, and tag us, @artstlucie . We will repost it on all our digital platforms, including our website. 1. 2. 3. Treasure hunt





We will continue to use our platform as a hub to bring free resources, opportunities and financial relief information to you during the adversities of COVID-19.

Resources are updated weekly          Get the latest updates







We would also like to extend a private invitation to you to join our exclusive Facebook group, Join the Movement, created for our members, partners and friends. There, feel free to lead discussions about the arts, including sharing, teaching, learning, asking questions, providing feedback, making suggestions, and getting and sharing resources. Have you visited our online marketplace? Start a discussion about one of your favorite pieces in the Facebook group.

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For more information:

St. Lucie Cultural Alliance

2300 Virginia Ave     Fort Pierce, FL 34982-5632






For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986

America’s Top Dog Model 2020 Contest “Fairy Tails” Calls For Stories And Photographs Of Your Favorite Pup

Calling all top dogs and storytellers! You are invited to enter America’s Top Dog Model 2020 Contest “Fairy Tails!” If you can imagine your dog as a star in a book of fairy tails, this contest is for you! One cover dog and 11 finalists will have their winning photos and stories published in America’s Top Dog Model’s book of Fairy Tails, and win an array of paw-some prizes! America’s Top Dog Model 2020 Contest ends April 30, 2020. There is no fee to enter!  The Rickie Report shares the details and some photos of last year’s winner.




“Romeo”, Photography by Vasi Siedman



Calling all top dogs and storytellers!

You are invited to enter America’s Top Dog Model 2020 Contest “Fairy Tails”!

If you can imagine your dog as a star in a book of fairy tails, this contest is for you!



Fairy Tails can come true when you crack open your imagination and explore the world of “Once upon a time.” Your fairy tail should consist of a 500 – 600 word story that portrays your dog in an original life story or “retelling” of a classic fairy tale. If it is a reinventing of a story like Cinderella… “It’s like Cinderella, but with a twist.”

In addition, entrant must submit an original, “professional” quality photo of your dog that “portrays” the character that you created in your fairy tail. The setting can be real or staged. No humans or other kinds of animals may be included in the photo.

If you are entering online send only your dog’s profile, including your story and a professional quality photo. Print out and execute the remaining documents should they be requested if your dog becomes a winner or finalist. If you are sending your entry via US mail, all contest documents are required. Please be sure to read America’s Top Dog Model 2020 Contest rules, for complete details.

One cover dog and eleven finalists will have their winning photos and stories published in America’s Top Dog Model’s book of Fairy Tails, and win an array of paw-some prizes! America’s Top Dog Model 2020 Contest ends April 30. The contestant that unleashes cover-dog style, and the best fairy tail story will become America’s Top Dog Model ® 2020 national winner and receive the following paw-some prizes!



“Romeo as Prince Charming”  photography by Vasi Siedman



The Grand Prize Winner will receive the following:


* Winning story and cover of America’s Top Dog Model book of Fairy Tails  

* Winning photo on America’s Top Dog Model website cover page  

* Six-month Model Management and Career Coaching

* Original watercolor of winning photo from Connie Benwitt Art

* Miniature replica of their dog by Lucy Francis

* Designer Fairy Tail hat by Hayleys Hats

* Ruby Coat from

* Six-month subscription to PetPIX Academy online photography classes

* America’s Top Dog Model ® signature accessories

* Autographed copy of How to Become a Top Dog Model




Finalists Prizes:

Eleven Finalists will have their winning photo and story published in America’s Top Dog Model ® book of Fairy Tails and winning contest photo featured on the website; they will also receive a six-month subscription to PetPIX Academy online photography classes, and an autographed copy of How to Become a Top Dog Model


“Romeo at Mad hatter’s Tea Party” Photography by Vasi Siedman

Top Dog Model YouTube Reality Series:



The canine-savvy creators of the nation’s favorite, 15th annual dog modeling competition, announces America’s Top Dog Model’s new original reality series How to Get to the Top.

The second season of the series will return in August.



  • Premiering August 7, How to Get to the Top is YouTube’s newest reality series that focuses on the lifestyles of America’s Top Dog Model ® winners and their people. 


  • Each week in the 5-Episode series, America’s Top Dog Model 2019 winners along with their people will reveal their journey to the top!


  • If you are new to America’s Top Dog Models, here’s what to expect, plus details about the winners, format, and premiere date.


The summer months are precisely when fans tune into beloved reality competition shows. And starting August 7, America’s Top Dog Model introduced something new to the brand’s YouTube Channel…a series that fans and dog lovers have been waiting for. 

According to Jo Jo Harder, the creator of America’s Top Dog Model competition “our new series provides an opportunity for our aspiring canine models, which include rescues and mixed breeds, to be celebrated. This is America’s Top Dog Model’s mission, to celebrate dogs that make a difference in people’s lives.”

Here’s what to expect, plus details about the winners and format. 

America’s Top Dog Model ® 2019 winners were selected for their winning style and heartwarming stories, along with star qualities, training, charities, and best thought-out photographic portrayal of the contest theme “Pup Stars.”  The stars include national “Pup Star” contest winner Moto Girl, a stunning Chihuahua from Bend, Oregon, and eleven fabulous, Pup Star finalists, including Nevada, Athena, Ryder Cole, Tucker, Bella Boo, Macie Blu, Presley, Daphne, Kekoa, Peanut, and Kronos. 

Those who want to learn more about America’s Top Dog Model reality series, can visit and follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.  For information email  America’s Top Dog Model ® lifestyle brand includes an annual calendar contest, books, a TV Show, charity events, an online store and model management—proof that fun ideas can inspire millions, humans and canines alike.


“Romeo Announces America’s Top Dog Model 2020 Contest ‘Fairy Tails’.

Photography by Vasi Siedman




For more information about this or other offerings:

Jo Jo Harder, CEO/The Jo Jo Companies
Jo Jo Productions
Founder/America’s Top Dog Model (R)
Boca Raton, FL









For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986

Patrick McCallister Shares Insights And Suggestions For Artists, Art Show Producers, And The Public. April Is Autism Awareness Month

World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) is observed every year on April 2nd.  Patrick McCallister shares some of his insights when he attended an art show, to raise public awareness of autism. The Rickie Report includes some helpful points which enhance not only the experience for the art lover, but increase sales for the artists. WAAD highlights the need to help and improve the quality of life of those with autism so that they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.  While we are physically distanced and our awareness is more heightened, we can learn some new behaviors when we go back to our new “normal”.





If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.

– Dr. Stephen Shore




April   is   Autism   Awareness   Month

Awareness and Acceptance Are Good For Artists



By Patrick McCallister, With Rickie Leiter




To raise Autism Awareness, we must first become informed.  The aim of sharing this is to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, foster worldwide support and inspire a kinder, more inclusive world.


Patrick shares, “As Deborah and I walked onto the crowded street for the art show, I could hear myself making involuntary guttural sounds. I put in my earplugs and set a pair of industrial earmuffs over them to block almost all sound”.


“Fortunately that show was laid out in such a way that it minimized the amount of multi-directional pedestrian traffic I’d encounter. If it wasn’t set up like that, I couldn’t have been there. We would have left before walking into the art show, altogether. Still, throughout our visit my head was on a proverbial swivel as I nervously watched out for anyone getting too close to me. Incidental touches are more than disturbing to me — they’re painful, which is something many people find hard to believe or understand”.


“When I stopped to look at pieces that caught my eye, artists and other sellers started friendly, but quickly got visibly annoyed”.

“I’m used to that….”, Patrick tells The Rickie Report.

“Yeah, it’s hard for many folks to talk to me when I’ll expose just one ear, and then only partially. Yeah, it’s hard for them to understand I might not seem to be looking at them or things they’re trying to show me, but I see a lot more with peripheral sight than people realize. I can’t explain these things on the spot, so as soon as people seem annoyed I walk away to spare us all grief”.


“The wares of George Tortorelli, of Medicine Wind Music, caught my eye at this show. I’m a primitive flute and musical whistle player. I stopped to admire his handmade instruments. He approached, then visibly paused and slowed his hand movements. He kept his hands back as he gently gestured toward instruments while we talked. He paused when I checked behind me for people, and picked up where he was when I turned back as though it was normal interaction”.


“People approached his booth. My chest tightened. I was instantly ready to leave. Deborah stepped between the newcomers and me — a natural motion to other people’s eyes  – that’s a protective measure for me. George moved aside and said, ‘You can step behind my table if you want’.  I took him up on the offer. I analyzed his wares for what must have been 15 minutes. George took care of other customers on the public side of his table as I did this. I’d laid out the instruments I would choose from in an impromptu but systematic organization. Then I made my picks and my purchase. It was the only thing I bought at the show that day. George nodded to thank me. He made no attempt to shake my hand”.


“George wasn’t being rude. By intuition or background he picked up on the fact I’m autistic, whether by name or not, and adapted to my needs.  And he got my business! Odds are I’ll buy from him again. (I spend more time on his website than I should, looking at his gorgeous instruments. I know from owning one are also high quality)”.


Patrick conveys, “There’s a moral to this whole story. Awareness, acceptance, adaption, and accommodation = art sales”.


He adds,”It’s difficult to summarize autism, which is why “spectrum” was added to the diagnostic terminology — autism spectrum disorder. Autism is a developmental condition usually typified by weakened social drives, which often shows as social awkwardness. This is most often accompanied by other manifestations such as delayed, underdeveloped verbal communication, sensory problems, often aversion to sounds, and others, such as repeated gestures referred to as “stimming.” Some recoil from calling autism a “disorder,” and prefer terms such as “neurodiversity.” In diagnostic terms, “disorder” simply means someone’s learning or mental processing is different from norms.  


Some people with autism live and work autonomously with varying levels of support. Others can’t. Patrick tells us, “What makes a huge difference between an autistic adult being able to live and work independently, or needing lifelong care, is the presence or lack of an aware, accepting and accommodating society”.


Readers cannot take Patrick’s narrative and use it as a template for identifying other autists. He shares, ” Yes, ‘autist’ is a dictionary word for someone with autism.  If you’ve met one autist …you’ve met one autist!  There are some general clues you are talking with an autist, for example when the person seems bothered by sounds or movements. They may have a tendency to look away while speaking or have a tendency to articulate a specialized knowledge without apparent regard to social norms”.


Our take-away from this?


Fortunately it doesn’t take specialized knowledge to converse with those with autism. Watch and listen to people and follow their cues. This works for everything from affective disorders, such as depression, to anxiety disorders and mental-heath conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. You’ll meet people with all of these and many more, when displaying art. Throw “weird” out of your thinking and replace it with “uncommon” and let those ‘less common’ customers lead you to how to interact with, and sell to, them.



Patrick reminds us, “We love and want art, too”.


Patrick McCallister is a longtime journalist who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in 1993. Like a lot of people with developmental differences, he hid the diagnosis for years. Today he advocates for people with disabilities in various areas, but especially transportation.

For more information:


In 1970, the Autism Society launched an ongoing nationwide effort to promote autism awareness and assure that all affected by autism are able to achieve the highest quality of life possible.  In 1972, the Autism Society launched the first annual National Autistic Children’s week, which evolved into National Autism Awareness Month (NAAM). This April, we continue our efforts to spread awareness, promote acceptance, and ignite change.

The Autism Society of America, the nation’s oldest leading grassroots autism organization, is is proud to celebrate National Autism Awareness Month  in April 2020 with the its new “Celebrate Differences” campaign. Designed to build a better awareness of the signs, symptoms, and realities of autism, #CelebrateDifferences focuses on providing information and resources for  communities to be more aware of autism, promote acceptance, and be more inclusive in everyday life.

The Autism Society recognizes that the prevalence of autism in the United States has risen from 1 in 125 children in 2010 to 1 in 59 in 2020 – recognizing this continued increase, the goal for NAAM is to further increase awareness about autism signs, symptoms and opportunities through: information and referrals, events, printable and digital resources, and community partnerships with businesses and organizations dedicated to building inclusive experiences.

The Autism Society has a variety of resources designed to inform and encourage communities to celebrate differences, and become more inclusive of individuals with autism. The campaign will overlap with World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd, and continue throughout the month. These resources will be made available on social media for sharing as well as on for download.



Being a part of a community and feeling included is extremely important in people’s lives. Being part of a community doesn’t mean that it has to be necessarily one’s neighborhood/geographic community. People can experience and explore different communities by traveling and/or taking vacations. People can meet new people and try new things when they go to various camps or retreats. Some may find community among a religious belief they share with others.


There are many communities in which people can be a part of such as work and/or social communities which are centered on leisure activities or hobbies. But being a part of any of these communities does not mean simply that the individual is present. To have true community inclusion, the individual needs to be participating and accepted by the other individuals. Becoming a part of any community takes time and effort. Individuals will have to learn practices of the community and have to get accustomed to new things and people. Similarly, the members of the community will have to learn and get accustomed with the new member. Community inclusion is not always a fast process, especially when it causes people to get out of their comfort zone. But with proper supports and effort, community inclusion is extremely rewarding and life-altering.




For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986

Here Is Something You CAN Do During The Covid19 Crisis!

While being physically distanced, there is no reason to feel powerless. Negotiations are ongoing in the Senate on what is being called “Phase Three” of the COVID-19 response relief package. As you know, the coronavirus has already had a devastating economic impact on America’s nonprofit arts sector—financial losses to date are estimated to be $3.6 billion. More advocacy is needed and you can help with the click of your computer, a phone call to your Congressional  legislators, or a letter.  The Rickie Report gives you the links and information here.  Please share with others who appreciate, enjoy, and want to support the cultural arts.








The U.S. Senate legislation under consideration today has several items we’ve been asking for—your advocacy has been working! For example, there is some funding for the NEA, but it’s not enough. Self-employed artists, creative workers, and nonprofits appear to be included in the Paycheck Protection and Small Business Administration disaster loan provisions, but we need to ensure they are included in the final bill version.


More advocacy is needed!



In order to support the sector at this vital time, request that your members of Congress include the following in the current legislative package currently being negotiated:

  • Support $4 billion in COVID-19 relief funding to be administered by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services—House Arts Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and House STEAM Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) led a letter to House Leadership with this ask, Senate Cultural Caucus Co-Chair Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) did the same in the Senate. Waive matching requirements and general operating support reprogramming for FY2020 grantees, as well as for COVID-19-specific grantmaking;
  • Encourage charitable giving by increasing the allowable amount of the proposed $300 above-the-line tax deduction available to taxpayers that do not itemize their returns, and removing AGI limits on allowed deductions for charitable giving;
  • Ensure that proposed forgivable SBA disaster relief loans support all arts and culture workers by: specifying that access to forgivable loans is available for self-employed workers, increasing the employer eligibility threshold by applying the 500 employee cap to fulltime employees, and eliminating the employer size cap for nonprofit organizations;
  • Support pandemic unemployment benefits for workers ineligible for state unemployment benefits, which will provide essential support for self-employed workers in the arts and culture sector; and
  • Ensure arts eligibility for additional forms of disaster relief, such as Community Development Block Grants, education and lifelong learning programs, and health and wellness initiatives.

In a national survey by Americans for the Arts, 91% of responding arts organizations indicated that they have cancelled one or more events. Many arts organizations have closed their doors for months to come. These estimates are based on more than 5,000 respondents to an Americans for the Arts nationwide COVID-19 impact survey, and then further extrapolation of those data nationally using IRS data about nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. The most recent figures show economic losses of $3.6 billion to date, up from $3.2 billion last week. The survey is ongoing, and these figures will be updated regularly. Given that losses documented in the survey have occurred only in the last two months, Americans for the Arts anticipates additional billions in potential revenue losses for the nonprofit arts and culture field.

Join us in calling on Congress NOW to include the aforementioned items in the final package for COVID-19 relief.





Our mission is to build recognition and support for the extraordinary and dynamic value of the arts and to lead, serve, and advance the diverse networks of organizations and individuals who cultivate the arts in America.

Connecting your best ideas and leaders from the arts, communities, and business, together we can work to ensure that every American has access to the transformative power of the arts.






For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986

Whitespace Announces Blow Out Sale For Season Closing!

Whitespace The Mordes Collection announces a Blowout Sale to end this Season!  The Rickie Report shares the details here.






For more information please visit:

or email:





For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986





Artists Eye Gallery & Boutique Announces Open Call To All Artists For “Texture” Exhibit

The Artists Eye Gallery & Boutique invites you to their 6th judged show of the season and shares a Call All Artists to participate in this Open Show! You’ll see a diverse selection of art from all genres and created in many different mediums adorning the walls of this beautiful gallery in downtown Lake Worth. Browse the Boutique, filled with hand-crafted items made by our artists such as fashion jewelry, glass items, home decor as well as giclees, art prints and greeting cards. Enjoy light refreshment and meet the artists and art lovers at the Opening Reception on Friday, March 6.  The Rickie Report shares the details here.





Artist Information:


Take-in is on Monday, March 2nd from 10 until 2:30 pm at the Gallery.

Take-down is Monday, March 30th from 10  until 2:30 pm.

This is a judged show with awards.

It is not necessary to “jury in” to this show.

We give ALL artists a unique opportunity to show and compete!

 Please note: We do not accept artwork that contains nudity, lewd language, or religious/social justice/political messaging.

See details below:





Would you like to show your work in our gallery?

We are proud to offer an unprecedented equal opportunity for all artists! We are unique in the fact that we accept the work of ALL artists, from emerging to professional, to show, sell and compete for awards in our Artist’s Eye Gallery and Boutique in downtown Lake Worth.

Our gallery is owned and operated by the Lake Worth Art League, the oldest non-profit art organization in Palm Beach County, founded in 1941. The league is comprised of very talented artists from all disciplines. More good news… it is very inexpensive to join and show. First, become a member for just $75. per year. You then have the opportunity to show up to 5 pieces of work in each one of our 8 judged “season” shows. Each show is judged by a qualified judge that is not affiliated with the league. The league offers cash prizes and ribbons for first, second, third, and honorable mention award winners, and a ribbon Recognition award. Entry fee for each show is $25. for first entry and $15. For the second. $10. For each each additional piece up to 5 total. Summer exhibitions continue with reduced prices for entry. The league retains 20% of all sales, which along with membership, entry fees and our volunteers, helps keep the gallery open and your work visible to the public. A reception with light refreshment is held for each show. All shows are advertised. Membership offers also offers the opportunity to sell your work in our Boutique. 


For more information  about this exhibit, future exhibits, classes, workshops, or membership:

604 Lucerne Avenue    Lake Worth, FL  33460



Gallery Hours:   Tuesday thru Sunday    Noon – 4 pm

Meet the Artists Reception 1st Friday of each month  6-8 pm

Bringing art to the community from the community, since 1941





For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher


17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986






London Calls For Art Aficionados With Special Tour

Final call for London art-centric tour April 23 – 30, 2020 under the auspices of Whitespace!  Experience a private collection visit to the Zabludowicz Collection and so much more! The Rickie Report shares the details.








For more information:





For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986



Innovative Focus Of Visual Art Exhibit And Performing Arts Event On Black History At Center For Creative Education Brings Generations Together

The Center For Creative Education celebrates Black History with a visual arts exhibit that spans generations and visionaries.  The Opening Reception on Friday, February 28 coincides with the Opening Performance of “BLACK WALL STREET, The Play”, the dramatized telling of the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma massacre and destruction of one of the wealthy black communities of the 20th Century.  Tickets to the play are also available on Saturday, February 29. The art exhibit continues through the end of March.  The Rickie Report shares the details and some sneak peeks.  Kudos to the CCE for bringing such a moving, insightful combination to the community!





425 24th Street    West Palm Beach, FL 33407
T: (561) 805-9927



Black History at Center for Creative Education

February through March 2020:



The Sallie & Berton Korman Gallery at Center for Creative Education


P  R  E  S  E  N  T  S:  





Opening Reception:


Friday, February 28, 2020


6 PM


$10 Entry


Light Bites and Drinks Provided



Nipsey Hussle Memorial by AndrewGreenaway



Featuring Artworks by:



The late, African American Folk Artist

Jimmie Lee Sudduth

(Fayette, Alabama | 1910-2007)


The late Folk Contemporary Artist

Purvis Young

(Miami, Florida | 1943-2010)


Benny Holmes

(Pleasant City, West Palm Beach)



Exhibiting Artists also include:

Doba Afolabi

Akeem Agbelekale

Ashlee Breyan Sanford

Laurent Dareau

Rosemarie DeJean

Janelle ExtraOrdinary-J Fulford

Jada Grantlin

Andrew Greenaway

Andrew Hollimon

Walter Johnson

Lupe Lawrence

Melissa Loftman

Reverie x Riss

James Silk

Shani Simpson

Katiana Smith






The same evening as the exhibition reception there will be a special performance:





In the Conrad Hilton Theater at CCE:



Friday, February 28 & Saturday, February 29




Creative Touches Productions presents





The dramatized telling of the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma massacre and destruction of one of the wealthy black communities of the 20th Century.


Friday, February 28 | 7pm

Saturday, February 29 | 2pm


$5 Youth (15 & Under), $15 Adult (16 & Up)

VIP TICKETS: $25 (Reserved Seating Area and Goodie Bag)

Seating Is Limited, Rain or Shine, No Refunds

ON    SALE    NOW!!




Thank you to our Supporting partner:

Spady Cultural Heritage Museum in Delray Beach

Special Thanks to:

The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County

Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Culture Builds Florida

This is part of the Black Wall Street, The Play series.


For more information about these events or other programs:

The Gallery at Center for Creative Education
425 24th Street    West Palm Beach, FL 33406

For more information about this event, classes, workshops or upcoming exhibits:

Jonathon Ortiz-Smykla, Gallery and Marketing Manager

State Issued Photo ID Required for Visit
T: (561) 805-9927 ext. 106   F: (561) 805-9929

Empowering Students to Grow Academically, Creatively and Socially Through Arts-Based Education





For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986


West Palm Beach Library Foundation Director, Tami Lesser, Speaks About The Role Of The Mandel Public Library Of West Palm Beach. A Library Is More Than A Building Filled With Books

The Mandel Public Library in West Palm Beach is truly a community center!  Our interview with Tami Lesser, West Palm Beach Library Foundation Director gives you more insight to serving 760,000 people each year! Programs at the Library are FREE to you…yet not free to the Library.  Save Saturday, April 4 for Food for ThoughtCall to reserve your spot for a Tour of the Library!  From personal visits, discussions with library staff and the West Palm Beach Library Foundation personnel, The Rickie Report shares the importance of what this library is providing and can provide in the future. Has anyone noticed their “411” address = “Information, please”?  We give you a comprehensive list of all programs available!








West Palm Beach Library Foundation




“Public libraries are the sole community centers left in America. The degree to which a branch of the local library is connected to the larger culture is a reflection of the degree to which the community itself is connected to the larger culture.” – Russell Banks


TRR:  We are excited to welcome you!  Tell us more about your role .



As the new Executive Director of the Library Foundation, I have quickly come to understand and experience these meaningful words by celebrated American writer Russell Banks. The Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach is much more than a building filled with books; it is vital institution that enriches and strengthens our local community.


Your generous support allows us to continue to provide an educational and inspirational center where children can excel and adults can thrive. Gifts to the Foundation support these fundamental programs, services and resources for our community members who need them most.


TRR:  Can you give us some specific examples of what you offer beyond books?



Every day, I witness magical moments at the Library that showcase the difference we are making in people’s lives:

– Young adults continue their education and earn their High School diploma or earn a job thanks to our job training programs.

– Our senior community stays active with fitness classes and stays engaged by meeting friends for lectures, jazz concerts, and art classes.

– Teens receive guidance from a mentor, learn new skills in job readiness programs, get help with schoolwork from certified teachers, or just hang out with their friends in a safe and creative space.

– Children actively learn, discover and explore while doing homework or reading, and have fun with music, arts and crafts, dance and more.

– Families connect with each other and meet new friends during storytimes, baby yoga, self-lead activities and special events.


Dog Tales at Mandel Public Library



TRR:  Tell us more about “community building”



This Library is a Community Builder – the structure, the wonderful staff and the programs and resources offered are all aiding, encouraging and shaping our community programs in a remarkable and critical way!


The library serves over 760,000 people each year, providing our children, teens, and adults endless opportunities for learning, growth, enrichment, inspiration, entertainment and so much more.


The Library Foundation’s mission is to raise funds for the Library to provide the free quality programs, services and resources that enrich and strengthen our diverse community. A great public library depends on a partnership between private philanthropy and public funding from the City. Because of our generous donors, we have a gem in our community that serves as a center for learning, inspiration and creativity.


To express our appreciation, I am excited to share that we have launched the WPB Library Foundation Giving Society to recognize our supporters, who contribute a minimum of $1,000 annually to the Library Foundation. Our first Giving Society event will be on March 11 with celebrated columnist and author, Leslie Streeter.

Please see our newsletter below for more information about the Giving Society and the March 11 event as well as other important news. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available now for our main event, Food for Thought, which takes place on Saturday evening, April 4.

If you have not yet come on a library tour, please let me know and we will make it happen. I look forward to seeing you soon!



Teens at Mandel Public Library



Programs We Fund:

From providing technological support, to highlighting different cultures, to a vast array of programs and services, the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach presents many new, unique, and interesting events that are free to the public – but, of course, not really free for the Library. For example, the West Palm Beach Library Foundation has supported programs and utilities such as:

  • Baby and toddler yoga classes
  • Equipment, so computers are fully accessible for children
  • Teen Mentoring and Support for high-risk teens
  • Get that Job Programs, preparing youth and adults for the working world
  • GED Programs so individuals obtain high school diplomas
  • Children and Teen Homework help Centers with certified teachers
  • Children’s Summer Academy with a free healthy lunch every day
  • Technology classes/ Girls Can Code classes
  • Art classes
  • Dog Tales


For the child inspired to read on her own after attending story time … the student who needs high-tech computer access to complete his homework assignments … the new resident seeking connections in the community … the job hunter preparing for an interview … the small business owner researching marketing techniques … or the senior who masters sending emails so they can stay in contact with friends and family across the country … the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach is here to serve the entire community.

Now is the time for those with the capability to step up and lend support to ensure a strong, accessible, enriching public library for generations to come.

The following are just a few of the programs the West Palm Beach Library Foundation has supported at the Mandel Public Library. To find out how you can support these and other programs, call the Library Foundation at 561-868-7793.



Arts411 at Mandel Public Library


The After School Elementary Homework Center helps children excel in all academic programs.  Located in the heart of the Children’s Library, the center’s certified teachers use creative and interactive teaching methods to assist children.

The Teen Homework Center on the second floor in the teen section of the Library provides high-risk teens with a safe environment where they receive academic support. They have the opportunity to meet with other teens to work on projects in the arts, sciences, and math.  The Library becomes a place where teens receive help with academics while developing and building life skills.

Science Projects 101 helps low-income children achieve gains in scientific literacy.  Since many children lack support at home to complete science projects. During two-hour sessions, students and parents learn about the scientific method and receive kits which include materials needed to complete their science projects.  Pre- and post-survey results have shown that children who participate in the program substantially improve their science knowledge and grades in school.

Children’s Summer Academy minimizes or reverses “Summer Slide” for low income children.  This six-week program provides a safe, accessible learning environment which enables children to maintain and build their skills in reading, writing, science, and math.  Breakfast and lunch are provided as incentives to attend the programs and to provide the energy needed to fully engage in the learning process. 

The Summer Reading Program for preschool- and elementary-age children. This program encourages these children to complete reading logs, which track the number of books they read. Every week, children receive books to help them build their home libraries.  Books selected by the children have included Caps for Sale, A Pocket for Corduroy, Flat Stanley, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Magic Tree House series, Bad Kitty, Captain Underpants, Charlotte’s Web, and James and the Giant Peach.

Early Literacy Bilingual Computer Stations in our KidSpace strengthen the skills of preschoolers to promote school-readiness. These computer stations enable the Library to expand its outreach to young children who have limited or no access to computers at home and at school. At the Mandel Public Library, the Early Literacy Computer Stations increase the Library’s ability to meet school-readiness goals for both English and non-English speakers.

Dog Tales provides reluctant readers with opportunities to read aloud to trained therapy dogs that listen to these young readers so they can develop a love of reading and improve their reading comprehension.  With dogs present six days a week during the school year and three days a week during the summer, Dog Tales has become a treasured program.  The Library ensures that new Library Edition books are available for the children who participate in the program.

Let’s Read is a volunteer-based literacy program that improves the reading skills of children. Annually, forty volunteers trained in the art of reading aloud bring story times to 1,800 students in four academically struggling schools. This results in children developing stronger reading skills and a love for books.  Children in the program receive gift books to build their home libraries.  Children served through this program begin to develop a lifelong relationship with the value of the printed word and begin to see reading as an enjoyable experience.

Teen Mentoring builds self-esteem and provides teens with the confidence and motivation they need to be successful in life. Teens come to the Library and discover a safe haven where they will receive homework help, get advice on life’s challenges, make friends who have similar interests, and receive assistance with job readiness, GED, and college preparedness. At-risk teens acquire the skills needed to become outstanding, responsible citizens.  A variety of activities designed with their needs in mind, such as lectures, arts and crafts, poetry slams, and group technology projects, help them develop a more positive outlook on the future.

Young Adult to Senior Adult programs abound at the Library as recreational, educational, and cultural settings. The Library provides free skill-building, physically engaging, and diverse life experiences which are not found anywhere else.  Tango, swing dance, yoga, and Pilates are just a handful of the classes offered at the Library. Imaginations soar and educational opportunities thrive for tens of thousands of people every week.

Job Readiness Programs, underemployed, and unemployed young people and adults eager to find work and/or full-time positions take place through out the year.  Due to their lack of computer and job readiness skills, adults receive assistance in preparing resumes, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews, gaining computer program knowledge, and improving writing skills.

Studio 411 Art Classes and Lectures   is a comprehensive studio space for the library’s popular range of arts programs, where  artistic adults can create, explore, and learn about a variety of arts and crafts from painting, drawing and sculpture to crocheting, soap-making and even jewelry-making…with all supplies included!  This studio provides so many adults in our community an outlet to be creative, develop their talents, and learn from local artists.
Arts programming at the Mandel Public Library is funded by the West Palm Beach Library Foundation supported by YOUR generous donations.





VIP Cocktail Reception with Black Widow Author Leslie Gray Streeter for Giving Society Members

Join Leslie Gray Streeter, The Palm Beach Post columnist and new author, for a discussion of her memoir,
Black Widow: A Sad/Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like “Journey” in the Title 

MARCH 11, 2020  Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM  VIP Cocktail Reception for WPB Library Foundation Giving Society
Meet the celebrated columnist and new author during her book launch tour.
Members will receive a signed copy of the book, and complimentary valet parking at the Library Book Drop on Clematis Street.
Reserve your seat at 561-868-7715 or
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Black Widow Book Discussion & Signing,

FREE and open to the public



Last day to pledge:

 Wednesday, February 26 at 9 pm



Just make a donation of $20 or more to our charity page on theAmerican Honda Birdies for Childrenwebsite and then guess the total number of birdies that will be made by the entire field in the four rounds of the 2020 Honda Classic golf tournament.  To help you along, they provide you with the total number of birdies made in each of the last ten tournaments.  Best of all, 110% of your donation will benefit the WPBLF.


Donate here to benefit the WPBLF and make your best birdies guess:



2020 Food For Thought    Saturday, April 4, 2020

6:30 – 9:30 PM

Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach   411 Clematis Street | West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Complimentary Valet at the Library Book Drop on Clematis Street. You’re invited to an elegant dinner party featuring notable authors and personalities leading an array of lively discussions. Choose your table host to converse, inquire, and engage with this expert, and guests of similar interest, about your favorite topic. Gain insights about varied topics including the arts, architecture, culture, current affairs, entertainment, history, literature, music, news, science, and more. Dinner will be served in the impressive ‘Grand Reading Room on the 4th Floor. Your support benefits the free quality programs, services and resources at the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach that enrich and strengthen our diverse community. Peruse the menu of great conversations and table hosts on our website   Cocktail Attire.  The vision of the West Palm Beach Library  Foundation is to create an inspired community where children excel and adults thrive. After purchasing you tickets we will contact you to chose your table host our you are welcome to call: Nickie Hennevelt 561-868-7715 Sponsorship opportunities please call: Nickie Hennevelt 561-868-7715




For more information:


Mail a check to the West Palm Beach Library Foundation:

411 Clematis Street  3rd Floor  West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Call Tami Lesser at 561-868-7793

To join the Giving Society, contact Executive Director Tami Lesser
at 561-868-7793    Levels starting at $1,000 minimum annually.








For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986