Considering Collections: Snippets from Collectors of All Kinds

monkeys

Part of a collection of primate objects


By Georgina Kolber, Curator of Exhibits, Collections & Programs

Now half way through the crowd-pleasing Denver Collects series, I decided to dig a bit into why the topic of collecting appeals to so many people. I’ve read lots of compelling and amusing theories about how gathering “stuff” is biologically and psychologically based, the most poetic being that the objects we choose to keep around us are conduits to another world—a place or time we’ve experienced in the past, or one we’d like to experience in the future. In this scenario, the objects have shed their original function and become more like totems or amulets.

Also interesting to me is the suggestion that for some, the satisfaction of collecting comes from experimenting with arranging, re-arranging, and classifying parts of an otherwise huge and irrational world. In other words, the act of collecting something classifiable (stamps, contemporary painting, black & white photography, Japanese woodblock prints, etc.) provides a sense of comfort and order to those who acquire them.

To explore these and other collecting impulses in action, I conducted a series of interviews with people about their collecting habits. Continue reading

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Surrender: An Inspiring and Uplifting Interview with Dona Laurita

Dona with big lensBy Lisa Rimmert, Director of Marketing

American theologian Frederick Buechner described a person’s calling as “where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Dona Laurita, teaching artist for the Mizel Museum’s upcoming adult creativity workshop, has definitely found her calling. A fine art photographer, mixed media artist and educator, Dona shares her passion with others and, in so doing, encourages them to slow down and see the world differently, to surrender to experiences and process and to remain open to possibilities. Continue reading

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Adults and Creativity: Oh, the Possibilities!

By Lisa Rimmert, Director of Marketing

poemonchalkboard

Collaborative poem created at January Charmed: Create! Workshop

You may have seen our recent newsletter, the Mizel Tov, which featured a terrific article by Education Director Jan Cooper Nadav. This article, available online if you missed the print version, discussed the importance of creativity for adults. When Jan and I attended the recent Charmed: Create! Workshop, we saw first-hand the power of creativity, the possibilities that open up when adults are open-minded, and the barriers that stop us from doing so. Continue reading

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Quenching Our Thirst for Knowledge and Healing

By Lisa Rimmert, Director of Marketing

Beginning last month, the Mizel Museum staff has scheduled monthly Working Lunches, during which we learn about and discuss issues that are relevant to our work. In December, we watched three stories from our Community Narratives Project collection. As we head into a new year of programming, it’s already clear to us how valuable these Lunches are to our collaborative work efforts, personal and professional development and understanding of the issues in our world.

For our second Working Lunch, held Monday, we watched the documentary Tapped, which focuses on the ways in which the bottled water industry is harmful to us and our planet. Continue reading

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The Newsletter Blues: Cured

By Lisa Rimmert, Director of Marketing

I’ve worked at the Mizel Museum for three months now, and I have already delved deep into my new job, promoting the Museum’s incredible programs and events, instituting updates to our website and social media, and learning all I can about Jewish art and culture. I am currently working on the Mizel Tov, the newsletter that is mailed to thousands of the Museum’s friends and supporters three times per year. This newsletter is the largest and most collaborative project I have managed for the Museum thus far. The design is handled by our freelance graphic designer, and the content is contributed by the staff. It is my responsibility to manage the process, edit and contribute  content and act as a liaison to our designer.

Naturally, this new project had me a bit nervous, since I’m new to the Museum and want to make a good impression through my work. Continue reading

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Artist and Israel Trip Spotlight: Adi Nes

By Georgina Kolber, Curator of Exhibits, Programs and Collections

adi-nes-last-supperInternationally lauded Israeli photographer Adi Nes is represented by galleries in New York, Paris and Tel Aviv, and exhibits in Europe, the US and Israel. We’ll visit his Tel Aviv studio as part of our Off the Beaten Track: Art & Culture Trip to Israel.

Born in Israel to Sephardic Jews who emigrated from Iran, Nes’s photography         reflects his self-described ‘outsider’ perspective. He explains that he’s an outsider in Israel, a country that was forged by people who, during two millennia of diaspora, were outsiders.  Nes remembers his mother singing to him when he was a child growing up in the Israeli development city Kiryat Gat. Often, the lyrics told idealized tales of the pioneers of modern day Israel. Even at an early age, it was clear to him that his dark skinned family and friends did not match this ideal of the Ashkenazi Jew. He explains, “When Israel was established, pioneers wanted to create an image of a man that is very different than the weak Jew from the diaspora,” he said. “The kids that lived in the villages that surrounded Kiryat Gat fit the idea of what was Zionist.” Continue reading

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An Inside Look at Planning the Miryam Brand Holocaust Education Film Project

By Lisa Rimmert, Director of Marketing, and Deanne Kapnik, Director of Special Events & Projects

The Mizel Museum recently hosted one of its annual Holocaust education programs, the Miryam Brand Holocaust Education Film Project. Partnering with seven area schools as well as Regis University, the Museum was able to bring Holocaust education – in the form of a short film and an engaging educator – to more than 1,700 students over three days.

Illustration by Petr Ginz - From the film, The Last Flight of Petr Ginz

Illustration by Petr Ginz – From the film, The Last Flight of Petr Ginz

As you can imagine, such a large and complex event requires a great deal of planning. That’s where our director of special events and projects, Deanne Kapnik, comes in. In this post, we will give you an inside look at how Deanne chooses the films, which schools she works with and what prestigious award her program won this year. Continue reading

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Unveil Israel with the Mizel Museum

By Georgina Kolber
Curator of Exhibits and Programsmountainside

As our third annual New Israeli Cinema series, produced in collaboration with the Denver Film Society comes to a close, I am happy to unveil Mizel Museum’s second Israel trip, scheduled March 24-April 1, 2014. The Israeli film series is a curatorial highlight, so it’s hard to see it go; as the characters, places and narratives we encountered on screen fade into memories, I find solace in knowing that in eight short months we’ll embark on a new adventure in Israel, revisiting some of the places and maybe even some of the characters we met on screen.

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Ears-On Learning: World Music Camps at the Mizel Museum

by Jan Nadav
Director of Education and Interpretation

Loribeth Gregory

Loribeth Gregory

Geography, history, culture. All these big topics are explored at Mizel Museum’s Creative Journeys artist-in-residence camps. Although this subject matter sounds like it belongs at school, kids never feel like they’re in a classroom. Anything but! In two upcoming camps, Musical Globetrotters: Tuning Into the World and The Musical Tent: Shake, Rattle & Roll, campers are exposed to significant content through the vehicle of global music. Through active participation, kids get new sounds in their very bones and souls, as opposed to seeing it as just different or exotic.

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Mirror Images: Israeli Film and Society

By Georgina Kolber, Curator of Exhibits, Collection & Programs

For the past several weeks I’ve been watching brand new Israeli films to consider for our third annual New Israeli Cinema series, co-produced and hosted every July by the Denver Film Society at the Sie FilmCenter. We won’t be considering Oscar-nominated 5 Broken Cameras or The Gatekeepers for this year’s series, yet I’ve continued to observe the attention these films have drawn within Israel and, most interestingly, outside of Israel. The controversial content of the films directly reflects social and political topics; the impassioned and diverse responses to these films exactly mirror Israel’s ever intense and pluralistic society. Continue reading

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