It was with a heavy heart that we learned recently of the passing of Center pioneer Sylvia Stoltz at the age of 97. Sylvia left us with a legacy of volunteerism and support that dated back to the Center’s original location on Hollywood Beach in the 1970s and continued following our move to the current downtown facilities in 1992.
Sylvia moved to Hollywood from New York in 1978, three years after the Center opened, and became involved immediately as the charter member of the Center’s docents. She remained a Center member for another 30 years and was the last surviving member from the original docents group she helped found. She passed on November 24, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale.
Sylvia stood out for her wonderfully colorful hats and for the spirit of volunteerism she fostered at our original location at 1301 S. Ocean Drive on Hollywood Beach. In addition to serving as a docent for Center exhibitions, she became Director of Volunteer Services, helping organize fund-raising events and generating sales at the Center’s Creative Arterie Gift Shop.
“We had plant sales, we hired an auctioneer to do an auction, we had an Elegant Junque sale,” Sylvia said in a 2015 interview for the Center’s 40th Anniversary publication.
“We always raised money. We had a day at the races at Gulfstream Park. It was all volunteer driven.” Joy Satterlee, the Center’s Executive Director, remembers Sylvia as a vibrant presence who had a positive, can-do attitude even in her advanced years.
“The Center wouldn’t be where it is today without such volunteers and pioneering leaders as Sylvia,” Satterlee said. “She was among those incredible people who treasured what the arts do for a community. She made things happen and we’re so grateful that she dedicated so much of her time and passion for the arts to the Center.
“It’s hats off and thank you to Sylvia. She was a beautiful lady and will always be remembered as a great supporter of the Center. It’s incredible that Sylvia stayed involved with us up until her passing. I will personally miss speaking with her and sharing the latest news about our organization with her.”