So, we as a house have been taking time to examining our event and programming structure for the last month and a half.
First of all, three of our four residents are artists or at least creatively inclined (both performance art and visual) we have a number of community members who are also artists (they must be attracted to us for some strange reason). At first we thought that a good way to further engage these people in the Moishe House community was to go to arts events such as: artsy movies, gallery openings, art walks, performance art showings, plays, concerts, etc. Although we found the coolest events in-town and bought tickets to Matisyahu, got back stage passes to meet and talk with him a well as having Kosha Dillz come back and chill with some of us after the show, we still only had low to moderate turnout for these events. In December we as a house decided that we need to take a more hands on approach to reach these artists. In January we held a wine and painting social, which was a huge success. All the attendees are demanding to know when the next one will be and many of the people invited who couldn't make it are begging for similar event in the future (save the date: 2/19 at 8:30pm). The next one will be more collaborative working on big banners to both decorate the house and use for events that we are co-sponsoring at outside locations. We will also be hosting monthly capoeira event open to the Jewish Community. In the next few months I would also like to start hosting open mic nights, beat poetry performances and slams, concerts in the back yard (weather permitting), gallery showings of the works of our local 20 something Jewish artists, and a gallery showing of all the art made at the wine and painting social.
Second we are committing to having a social action event every month. This month we are volunteering with the Cleveland Food Bank. We think that it is important to continue doing this event if we have a low turnout. Often organizations have a prominent political stance and because of this, many people in our target demographic will not attend events when the co-sponsoring or hosting organization's political stance does not line up with their own political views. Beginning this month we will always have a place to drop off canned food and clothing donations in our basement which we will distribute to local charities. I feel that in this way MH can always keep contributing to the larger Cleveland community. We are also considering keeping a food pantry in our house that anyone attending an event can anonymously contribute to or take from.
Further, I would like to make a shout out to the Russian Moishe House Chicago. I've been checking out your events on Facebook and they look awesome!!! I'm stealing your beer/wine tasting event idea and what's the deal with the mock Bar Mitzvah event? How exactly does that work?
In addition, we are working on sneaking in Jewish programing into other events because we don't have great attendance for just Torah study alone.
Lastly, looking back on past events, I have come to realize that we have co-sponsored or have hosted events partially sponsored by another organization, such as Plant Kingdom Bakery (thanks for providing us with great vegan baked goods!!), with out tapping into that organization and try to get their members involved in Moishe House, or not advertising that the event was co-sponsored. This will not be something over looked in the future.