This week’s “In The Loup” provides a look into the newly formed Arts, Culture and Community Department.”

Hello JCC Community.

My name is Richard (Rich) Cowden and I am the new General Manager of Arts, Culture, and Community at the JCC. We have merged the Mizel Arts and Culture Center with the Engagement Department to provide a more cohesive team that can deliver first-rate experiences to a wide range of participants. I am surrounded by an extremely skilled team that includes:

  • Rachel Seiger, Program Manager *
  • Joel Schleicher, Production and Event Coordinator *
  • Jenna Gragg, Administrative Coordinator *
  • Arielle Rothenberg, Program Coordinator *
  • Rachel Wool, Family Engagement Manager
  • Dan Rib, Production Manager

*New to the JCC

We are busy bringing our programs back to life now that we are able to reopen our facility, however, we will continue to carefully follow the safety protocols as recommended by the CDC as our community returns to the JCC in person. Here is a taste of what we are working on:

  • The 2021 JAAMM Festival lineup is being finalized, and includes a broad range of events—there’s truly something for everyone. The 2021 festival will kick off on October 6 with a special appearance by Comedy for Peace, a collective of Jewish and Muslim stand-up comedians who bring hilarity—and a message of reconciliation and unity. Other JAAMM highlights include appearances by Jackie Tohn (from Netflix’s “Glow”), Rabbi Sandra Lawson, food blogger and author Jake Cohen (Jew-ISH: A Cookbook), and the award-winning, internationally bestselling author Colum McCann (Aepeirogon). Events including films, concerts, author appearances, lectures, and even dance classes will run through December 21.
  • One key piece of the JCC’s cultural programming is the return of operations to the pottery studio, and we’re pleased to report that steady progress is being made on reopening that facility with a diverse range of classes and opportunities for all ages.
  • Our Engagement team is putting the finishing touches on its Fall programming and has already restarted a number of popular programs such as Jewish Family Service luncheons and the older adult Current Events group.
  • The Wolf Theatre Academy returns on a pandemic-influenced scale this Sunday, July 25 at 1:00 pm in the Elaine Wolf Theatre as they present a brand new musical revue—so new, in fact, that we haven’t even named it yet! Seven cast members play themselves as they discover they’re trapped inside a theatre and the only way out is…music. The kids have created the characters and script themselves and use favorites from Broadway to entertain and delight. This is a one-time performance, is free to attend, and all are welcome.
  • Finally, we’re thrilled to be offering a free community screening of the documentary film “Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel” in the Elaine Wolf Theater on Sunday, August 8 at 6:30 pm. A stirring story of sports, patriotism and personal growth, “Heading Home” charts the underdog journey of Israel’s national baseball team competing for the first time in the World Baseball Classic. The team is also one of six participating in the Tokyo Olympic Games, so this presentation is superbly timely.

I am grateful for the opportunity to lead our newly created team and we look forward to continuing to provide only the highest quality of experience for our participants. We will keep you updated as we continue to enhance and add to our programming.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Rich Cowden
General Manager of the Mizel Arts and Culture Center