As you know, arts related activity has been hit very hard by the COVID-19 closures. Venues have been closed for months and months and limited capacity remains a major challenge.
Our own Mizel Arts and Culture Center achieved a very successfully choreographed “pivot” when we took our Denver Jewish Film Festival (DJFF) to a virtual platform back in February. DJFF – this year powered by The Chotin Foundation – brought the best of our fest to nearly 1,000 homes across the country far surpassing our goals and expectations. The festival featured 22 feature-length films and 10 short films from 14 countries and in 12 languages, plus a variety of additional content. 15 films were helmed by female filmmakers and three films had local ties to our home state of Colorado. We found the virtual festival effort to be a resounding success and, even as in-person events resume, we anticipate retaining the virtual on-demand platform as an option for our Denver Jewish Film Festival patrons.
We have our second virtual film festival of the year scheduled to run from May 5 – 8, which we are excited about. ReelAbilities: Denver is a film festival presenting film programming by, for, and about a myriad of disabilities. There are satellite locations all over North America and the Mizel Arts and Culture Center is the newest host site. We are working around the clock to present each of our films with open captions, audio descriptions, and ASL interpretation. In addition, ticketing is “pay what you can” in order to be financially accessible for all. We just locked in the final festival lineup and tickets are now available for those interested.
With our upcoming “classic Colorado spring weather,” we find the perfect opportunity to enjoy some virtual programming. Please join us this Sunday, April 18, for a conversation with Sue Eisenfeld, author of the captivating travel memoir “Wandering Dixie: Dispatches from the Lost Jewish South”. It’s both a tour of geographical sites with great importance to the Jewish history of the south, fading away to modernization (but not forgotten, thanks to this work), and an author’s reckoning with both her Jewish identity and the region’s complex racial history, which becomes “a personal reckoning with the true nature of America.” We have rich and illuminating programs remaining on our Neustadt JAAMM Fest calendar.
The Wolf Theatre Academy (WTA) is back in-person this summer and will include individual classes focused on singing, dancing, and acting. We will operate WTA with limited class sizes to minimize risk of COVID-19. Students who enroll for this summer’s session will receive priority registration for next summer’s program which we hope will be back to a full musical production.
We are so thankful to a generous donor who renovated our Green Room from a drab and dated waiting area for performers to a fresh, sleek, and colorful place for them to relax.
As we continue to strive to fully re-open our doors, we are in initial discussions around the continuing of our art program, which includes our ceramics studio. No time table has been set for these programs to re-start, but we will continue to keep you posted as progress is made.
The Mizel Arts and Culture Center is buzzing with activity and we thank you for your continued support.
The Mizel Arts and Culture Center Team
Amy Weiner Weiss, Dan Rib, and Jenna Gragg