Jewish center in Aspen nixes pot-and-art classes

Jill Beathard
The Aspen Times

A cannabis-enhanced art class announced by the Chabad Jewish Community Center has been called off.

Although it never was really on — Though Suzanne Horwich, director of arts programs at the center, told The Aspen Times about the Art with Mary Jane classes Wednesday, Rabbi Mendel Mintz said the center had decided it would not be offering the event.

“I think what really happened here is we just got a bit ahead of ourselves,” Mintz said Thursday. “The idea wasn’t formally vetted and it didn’t have the full approval from everyone who I needed to get involved and that (Horwich) needed.”

Mintz was quick to throw his support behind Horwich, though.

“I love the curator’s creativity (and) out-of-the-box ideas,” Mintz said. “She’s done a fantastic job here bringing in a lot of community art and making this a real community space and open to the art world.”

The classes would have allowed artists to smoke or eat marijuana while painting in a twist on wine-and-art programs that have taken off around the country. But because they would have been open to the public and at a charge, the event wouldn’t have been in accordance with Aspen’s municipal code anyway, said City Clerk Linda Manning.

“We wouldn’t have approved it,” Manning said.

The 19,000-square-foot Chabad center opened last summer. It has aimed to make its ground-floor gallery a gathering place and a player in the local arts scene with rotating exhibitions. More events, including book signings and speakers, are planned for the summer.