By Eric Barton
The assignment was pretty simple: draw something that’s important to you, something you’d want to celebrate.
Considering the artists were kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, you might figure on a lot of kittens and footballs. But Brian Quail, the club’s CEO and president, says they came back with artwork that included far deeper themes.
Take, for, instance, the image a ponytailed girl hugging a man in fatigues.”I missed you Dad!” it reads, a tribute to her father, serving in the military.
“It was really, really touching,” Quail recalls of the moment he went through the works.
Those poignant pieces of art are now part of a project put on by Hoffman’s Chocolates. The art will appear in promotional material for the chocolate maker and on posters in its four Broward County stores.
Forty children participated and about a dozen pieces will rotate on display from now through this summer. The posters are available for purchase, with the proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Clubs.
The project is part of a partnership between Hoffman’s and Boys & Girls Clubs that began last year. Lois Marino, Hoffman’s director of marketing, says what surprised her was the level of skill behind the young artists.
“I mean, they look like professional paintings, and they were done by 12-year-olds,” Marino says. “I didn’t expect the level of art, but I also didn’t expect the level of messaging behind them.”
Putting the artwork on public display will no doubt encourage the young artists. And with two-thirds of Broward kids in single-parent homes, the need for the club’s programs is more important than ever, Quail says.
“We really become a second home for the kids,” Quail says. “Art helps express for the kids what’s possibly on their mind, and sometimes those are pretty weighty things they’re dealing with.”
Hoffman’s Chocolates Celebrate Campaign, 920 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-368-4320; 3341 Sheridan St., Hollywood, 954-962-5972; 801 S. University Drive, Plantation, 954-616-5775; and 1727 Main St., Weston, 954-660-0575, hoffmans.com.
Photo: The “Music” poster from Hoffman’s Chocolates’ new “Celebrate” campaign in support of Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County See more of the kids’ work on City & Shore‘s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/CityAndShoreMagazine/