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Arts & Entertainment

New arts schedule for Jewish Community Center starts with Second Sunday this week

The Tucson Jewish Community Center will begin offering more live art events, including their Second Sunday programs, starting this week in the center's Sculpture Garden. The return of in-person events kicks off with the introduction of nine new sculptures for the garden and comes ahead of their annual film festival this winter.

New smaller sculptures will also rotate through the indoor Fine Arts Gallery about once per month, Tucson JCC spokeswoman Rachael Mitchell said. The outdoor sculpture garden, which mostly has larger and permanent sculptures that extend into its Garden of Hope, has about 40 sculptures in addition to the incoming works. Both are open to the public throughout the week.

The Second Sundays events will include artist talks by the selected sculptors and live music. The International Jewish Film Festival, which will be screened in the sculpture garden, will start in early January and run through February, but one screening is already scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 28, the day before the first day of Hanukkah.

The sculptures are mainly by local artists, Mitchell said, and are especially enjoyed by preschool-aged children. “The kids really love having them here,”she said.

“Where else are you going to find a preschool environment that actually has real, quality art for kids to engage with beside here?” she said. “We really pride ourselves on that. It’s not an afterthought. We see it as an extension of the (JCC) that we offer these spaces with really high-quality art.”

The sculpture garden was established in 2009. Mitchell said that arts and culture is a “huge tenet of what the J does,” as they also have a gallery and an onsite art studio that offers classes.

“We really see it as a holistic place where people can find their entry to physical wellness but extend it beyond to spiritual wellness and emotional wellness,” Mitchell said. “We really see art as being a core part of wellness as a whole.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the date the sculpture garden was established.


Bennito L. Kelty is TucsonSentinel.com’s IDEA reporter, focusing on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access stories, and a Report for America corps member.

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Bennito L. Kelty/TucsonSentinel.com

The sculpture 'Katia' by Curt Brill leans on its marble bench by the sculpture 'Joy of Life' by David Unger during a ceremony in the Tucson Jewish Community Center's Sculpture Garden on Nov. 1. The space will start to welcome more live events like the Second Sunday art events.