anderson ranch

Latinx Arts Community Leader and Children's Program Coordinator Olivia Martinez poses with a group of children Saturday at Anderson Ranch Arts Center during an afternoon of mural painting to showcase the “power of community in the Roaring Fork Valley,” as described by the Anderson Ranch website. 

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Anderson Ranch and Aspen Film will present a “Dinner and a Movie” event on Wednesday featuring the 1992 Mexican romantic drama “Like Water for Chocolate,” along with a multi-course meal inspired by the food of the film. 

The event will be held at Anderson Ranch’s campus in Snowmass from 6-9 p.m. A cocktail reception will kick off the evening, followed by the film screening and sit-down dinner, accompanied by mezcal pairings courtesy of Doña Vega Mezcal. All attendees must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. 

“We’re thrilled to have this full-rounded evening,” said Aspen Film Executive and Artistic Director Susan Wrubel. “We love the whole idea of film as a demonstrative element for all art forms, and in this case, incorporating cocktails and food to create an overall cultural experience.” 

Aspen Film and Anderson Ranch Arts Center have been discussing collaborative programming for several years, and the two local arts organizations finally partnered for the first time this summer, co-producing monthly movie nights. 

Katherine Roberts, director of marketing and communications for Anderson Ranch, explained how they changed up the format of their summer film series for July’s screening of “Babette’s Feast,” putting on a “Dinner and a Movie” event in conjunction with Anderson Ranch’s five-day Recognition Week fundraiser. 

“It was just such a wild success that we decided we should keep this format going,” Roberts said. “So, for this encore partnership event, we thought, wouldn’t it be neat to put on an artistic-minded film and provide a four course meal themed around the film as part of our Hispanic Heritage month programming.” 

Both Roberts and Wrubel pointed out how this collaborative, cultural programming around Hispanic Heritage Month is a new concept, mentioning that this year marks the first time they’ve ever done something like this before. 

“When the Ranch said they wanted to spotlight Hispanic Heritage Month, we immediately agreed,” Wrubel said. “The cinematic experience opens windows to different cultures and communities, and as a presenting arts organization, we feel these film collaborations are impactful — to work with other groups and amplify their message.” 

Wrubel explained how Aspen Film has hosted a few dinner-and-movie virtual screening events since the start of the pandemic and found that this concept was something people really embraced. She specifically mentioned the livestream presentation Aspen Film co-hosted with “Voces Unidas De Las Montañas” in March 2021, featuring the documentary “Truly Texas Mexican,” with a salsa making demo and a panel guided conversation examining the role of women and food in the history and culture of South Texas. 

“Using a film to show how women grew this culture and how this cuisine came to pass really opened a lot of eyes and conversations around this topic,” Wrubel said. “The Tex-Mex cultural showcase we did in March got us thinking that this is incredibly important — the cinematic experience as a powerful platform to tell stories and illustrate different ways of life and extraordinary people doing extraordinary things.” 

With a large Latino population in the Roaring Fork Valley, both Aspen Film and Anderson Ranch are working to better integrate this community into their organizations’ programming, leadership and language. 

According to Wrubel, Aspen Film is looking to bring in another full-time education coordinator, and with aspirations to present more bilingual material and do more with communities downvalley, Wrubel wants someone who is bilingual with a foothold in the Hispanic community to fill this position. 

“We’re an Aspen-based organization, but Aspen is not as heterogeneous as other towns mid and down valley,” Wrubel said.“We have great educational programs, bringing filmmakers into the classroom, and we’d like to cultivate those relationships for those students, as well.”

In addition to the cultural culinary and screening experience Wednesday night, Anderson Ranch hosted a community celebration this past Saturday as part of their Hispanic Heritage Month programming, which included a mural-making project for kids, Spanish-speaking Bingo and music, dancing, crafts and food. 

Roberts also discussed the “Day of the Dead Art Activity” event on Oct. 30. In collaboration with the Basalt Regional Library, Anderson Ranch is presenting this community gathering — free and open to all ages — for people to drop by the Basalt Library and create altars out of mixed-media materials. 

“We’re always looking for ways to engage with every facet of our community and to be as inclusive as possible through our programming,” Roberts said. “We made sure that the marketing materials were bilingual for these events, with Spanish translations on all of our posters.”  

Through their collaborative efforts and prominent artistic organizations, Roberts and Wrubel are committed to creating the space for cultural expansion in this community. 

“Art creates common ground for people and we hope we can provide a space and place for different members of the community to come together and find commonality through a shared practice around the arts,” Roberts said.