Wonder was incorporated in 1999 by a small group of
volunteers led by Artistic and Executive Director
Irving Laurice Mintz, a world-record-holding escape artist
and renowned magician who holds a Master's in Social Work. Best
known for a series of spectacular escapes in the 1980s,
culminating in a 1990 escape from a safe at the bottom of the
Hudson River—an escape that was covered by 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. Additional influences include co-founder Stephanie Berghash Snow’s educational use of song, poetry and environmental design in creating harmony and wonder, and Executive Director and Producer, Sandra Nordgren’s work in theater to grow community.
More than just uplifting and joyous, our six cultural, educational and therapeutic programs and performances are designed to support and enrich the community by inspiring and empowering individuals to reach their highest potential. Public programs for general audiences provide an important cultural and civic service 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.