By Patty Fantasia
Photos by Patty Fantasia
“Curious George” Visits the Las Vegas Jungle

By Patty Fantasia

Thursday evening, November 4th The Passman Galleries in the Venetian Hotel’s Canal Shoppes was the setting for a special unveiling of a unique jewelry collection with a portion of the proceeds from the opening night sales benefitting the Rey Foundation’s Hospital Chalk Talk program.


Besides his passion for coral, Mr. Passman also adored children. Crowder reminisced about a trip Bernard made to Cuba during which he was drawn to a group of youngsters playing baseball using sticks and socks. He detoured to a store, returning with baseballs and bats for the youngsters. Over the years Passman developed a reputation for supporting children’s causes, so it comes as no surprise that the upper management running his business today continue to support young people’s charities and sponsor at least one event a year.

Passman’s partner in this venture, The Rey Foundation, has a legacy of its own in the area of reaching out and helping others. Honoring the authors of Curious George, Margaret and H.A. Rey, the Foundation keeps alive the story of the pair’s escape from Paris in 1940 and continues their dream of bridging the divides between art, science and people. With facilities located at the juncture of the Lakes Region and the White Mountains in New Hampshire and most of their outreach programs at schools, hospitals and libraries focused in New England, they are now coming across the great divide to Las Vegas and bringing their Hans Rey style “chalk talks” with them.
The day before the event at the Gallery, Crowder had joined artist Nat Scrimshaw for a “chalk talk” at the Sunrise Hospital and during that session Scrimshaw held an interactive drawing session for the children, a practice he continued at Passman on Thursday evening. Parents and youngsters alike were delighted watching his sketch pad come alive with personalized Curious George drawings at the flagship store. Guests mingled enjoying the beautiful pieces while champagne and refreshments were served including grissini con prosciutto, pizzette miste, gamberi fritti spiedini di pollo picanti, baby cannolis and assorted Italian pastries. In fact, Crowder’s wife and three daughters arrived and participated in the festivities. The ornate jewelry and carvings served as a whimsical background much like a page from a storybook, for the Curious George items, which are also available online. No decision has been made whether or not they will be continued at a later date, but as Jack Crowder said, “They are extremely exclusive and could be gone forever,” so there’s no way to tell if this is merely a chapter in Curious George’s latest adventure or the end of the tale.