Portals Of Wonder was incorporated in 1999 by a small group of volunteers led by Artistic and Executive Director Irving Laurice, a world-record-holding escape artist and renowned multi-talented magician, mime, song and dance man. Best known for a series of spectacular escapes culminating in a history making “death-defying” [NBC] escape from a safe at the bottom of the Hudson River—over half a billion viewers globally have seen Laurice. His escapes alone were broadcast around the world by NBC, CBS, ABC, BBC to CNN, FOX and over 100 local, national and international news channels. Laurice believes in bringing hope, inspiration and wonder to those in the greatest need of them – to inspire isolated and disenfranchised people to follow their dreams. This empowering message of the spirit of possibilities evolved into Portals Of Wonder. (Please see – The Great Escape: Dare to Dream)
Maintaining a century-old tradition within Laurice’s family of utilizing ancient arts of magic to inspire individuals and communities, (Please see Newsletter Report). Portals Of Wonder applies this tradition to modern need, bringing a rare and uniquely holistic approach to the practical application of the arts in education to inspire and support our youth.
Programs are based upon the pioneering work of Laurice’s father, Morton Mintz, who utilized Jung’s psychology, creativity and social group work to help thousands of individuals and families build community through the arts. The Laurice Mintz family has been bringing commercial, cultural and social programs to New Yorkers and others internationally, since 1899. The family legacy in magic, music and the use cultural arts and educational is over 5,000 old. Portals Of Wonder’s family work is guided by co-founder Stephanie Berghash Snow’s educational use of song, poetry and environmental design in creating harmony and wonder, Executive Director, Janice E. Williams, production consult Sandra Nordgren’s, esteemed board members and colleagues whose work in theater, education, social work, medicine, law and media have helped Portals Of Wonder’s community outreach.
More than just uplifting and joyous, Portals Of Wonder’s cultural, educational and therapeutic programs and performances are designed to carry on the Laurice Mintz family history and work in supporting and enriching the community by inspiring and empowering individuals to reach their highest potential. Public programs for general audiences provide important cultural and civic services to the community. Gender sensitive, multicultural and intergenerational in nature, these programs are brought to people who would not ordinarily be able to afford or have access to them.