Philanthropy

Laurice’s Breath-Taking Risks
For Underprivileged Youth

Laurice is founding Chairman and Producing Artistic Director of Portals Of Wonder, which has brought magic, mime, music and myth to over 10,000 critically ill children, homeless youth, the disabled and frail elderly Holocaust survivors.

In the forefront of the arts education movement, Laurice and his team bring programs to serve critically ill children afflicted with AIDS and cancer, children in foster care, impoverished families and youth at risk, and frail elderly, specializing in Holocaust survivors. Combining education and the arts for community building, he shares his years of professional magic and experience in social group work, creativity and the visionary process through educational presentations of magic, myth, mime and music for all ages.

Laurice and his troupe’s educational cultural arts programs have received recognition from news media, major universities, medical centers, social service agencies, legislators and artists, including the New York City Board of Education, New York City Homeless Services, New York Governors Mario M. Cuomo and Hugh H. Carey, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Dr. Patch Adams, Mrs. Jean Kennedy Smith, and the families of Hollywood and Broadway Oscar and Grammy award winning, legendary royalty from Pete Seeger, Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz, to Charles Chaplin, Houdini, and Florenz Ziegfeld. After achieving his seventh world record, Laurice’s dedication to the service of others inspired him to earn a Masters in Social Work to compliment Certificates in Jungian Psychology, Creativity and Social Group Work.

Child Prodigy

Laurice started performing magic, acrobatics, mime, singing and playing the guitar, banjo, concertina and other instruments by 6 years old. By 10, he was professionally performing for small events. By his teens he had accepted daring escape challenges, performed illusions, slapstick comedy, mime, played instruments and sang internationally. At 16, his lecture-demonstrations and classes were in demand by major universities. He taught at New York University, CUNY and the New School for Social Research. By 30, his international appearances, network television media events and segments had reached over half billion people worldwide.

Following in the footsteps of his centuries old family tradition, Laurice’s purpose in accepting escape challenges, sharing his other talents, and family legend, is to evoke wonder, hope and joy that inspire young and older alike to pursue their dreams. The underlying purpose for accepting such daring escape challenges is to offer a different model – a metaphor for disadvantaged children which demonstrates that anything is possible, especially their fondest dreams. To view video clips and learn more about Laurice’s world-record mystifying feats and arts education workshops please visit www.PortalsOfWonder.org and read, “The Great Escape – Dare to Dream“.

Family Legacy Revealed

The Laurice family has provided significant commercial theatrical, cultural arts, educational, community building and social service contributions to millions of New Yorker’s, since 1899.

From the development and delivery of commercial theatrical vaudeville presentations at Broadway’s legendary The Palace Theater, to The Palladium and Lincoln Center, on network radio and television broadcasts, and in Hollywood film partnerships with Disney and other producers and distributors throughout the United States, Europe and China, the family’s theatrical enterprises continue to be enjoyed by hundreds of millions worldwide.

Pioneering Cultural Arts Educators:
A Centuries Old Family Tradition

The nonprofit foundation, Portals Of Wonder, Inc., was founded in 1999, to help carry on the Laurice pioneering family work in the arts, education and social services.

The family has funded, pioneered, developed and delivered educational, community cultural arts and social work programs at New York University, New School for Social Research University, Baruch College, College of Staten Island, Hunter College School of Social Work, Yeshiva University Wurzweiler School of Social Work, the Williamsburg Settlement House, New York Foundling Hospital, Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City Department of Homeless Services, the Art Lab at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Staten Island Jewish Community Center, the Brooklyn Museum, and Central Presbyterian Church, among others.

Father, Morty Mintz, pioneering artist, educator and social group worker
Father, Morty Mintz, pioneering artist, educator and social group worker

Laurice has found inspiration in his father, Morty Mintz’s legacy. “I try to bring Dad’s gentle touch to every heart I meet. Dad was the most insightful and compassionate man I’ve ever known.”

A brilliant fine and performing artist, Morty’s artwork was critically acclaimed by The New York Times and The Art Digest. His humor, singing and musical talents were sought after for radio, television and Broadway. Yet he eschewed fame and fortune for a humbler life, pioneering ways to help people build stronger, deeper relationships for more a meaningful life.

“Occasionally I speak with those whose lives were deeply touched by my father’s quiet, courageous social group work and therapeutic interventions that often turned personal tragedy into success – bringing hope and new beginnings to individuals and families in crisis. I feel fortunate to have been under his wing and to now apply his influence to the foundation of Portals Of Wonder.”

Over his 45-year career, Morty Mintz used his extraordinary Tzadik powered vocal, musical, humorous performing and fine art talents to build community, save lives and profoundly strengthen tens of thousands of individuals, families, and communities by connecting people to their gifts through his pioneering combination of Jung’s psychology, creativity and the cultural arts, in a non-competitive, social group work setting. He built places where people go for warm, kind and gentle community, where one’s creativity is honored.

Among the many who recognize Morty for this extraordinary work are the great Dr. Carl C. Jung, one of the four founding fathers of depth psychology, Mrs. Alice Tully of Alice Tully Hall at NYC’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Honorable Mario M. Cuomo, twelve year Governor of the State of New York who galvanized the nation with his Keynote speeches and was chosen to be the Democratic national candidate for President of the United States. Gov. Cuomo said in candid astonishment, following his first hour-long meeting with Morty: “That’s the smartest man I ever met.” …a beautiful human being.”

The Laurice family has a 5,000 year history in magic and the mystical Kohen tradition, the Jewish priestly direct bloodline lineage from the biblical magician-prophets, Moses and Aaron.

Grandfather Irving Mintz, gifted singer and humorist
Grandfather Irving Mintz, gifted singer and humorist

His grandfather Irving, was an extraordinary singer and humorous storyteller who escaped the pogroms, Laurice’s father Morty continued to pass on the family’s lineage of magic and music, embodied in generations of Zadiks [spiritual community leaders], Kohenim [Jewish priests], Cantors [spiritual singers] and mystical Kabbalah Rabbis [teachers] who used the fine and performing arts to build community and inspire reverence for life’s deeper meaning.

Great-Grandfather, Master Magician, Lazarus Laurice 1897
Great-Grandfather,
Master Magician,
Lazarus Laurice
1897

Great-grandfather Lazarus Laurice, master magician and confidant of Houdini’s over 100 years ago, opened his humble home to artists, youth and elderly in need. Several of those many kids he mentored, grew up to help build Broadway and Hollywood, and became known as the Warner Brothers. Great-grandfather Lazarus Laurice, who later booked Broadway’s premiere vaudeville theater, The Palace, was looked upon as a kind, gentle and trusted man by many of the now legendary Broadway and Hollywood greats of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The generations of 19th, 20th and 21st centuries bore brilliant fine and performing artists resulting in a family steeped in over 140 years of Vaudeville, Hollywood and Broadway theater lore who also used the arts to serve spiritual needs and build community.

A centuries old family tradition utilizing the arts to educate and build community is carried on through the founding of Portals Of Wonder, as Laurice walks in the footsteps of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who each contributed to the family tradition of helping disadvantaged children, families and elderly by using the arts to build deeper connections for those in their communities.

Visit Portals Of Wonder