Vail Daily column: Arts, education programs benefit community |

Vail Daily column: Arts, education programs benefit community

Damian Woetzel
Patrick Fraser |

Each month, the Vail Valley Foundation submits a column from a community leader, partner or member of its organization on the topic of “Making It Possible.” This month’s column is a Q-and-A from Vail International Dance Festival’s Damian Woetzel as he takes time to look back on 10 years as artistic director, as well as what’s possible for the festival, and the foundation, in the future.

Q: How has the Vail Valley Foundation impacted your life?

A: The Vail Valley Foundation has given me the opportunity to work on projects and programs through the arts, creating a laboratory from which the successful results can be shared and duplicated elsewhere. I think of the Vail International Dance Festival itself, with new works being commissioned that can be pivotal for the artists and companies involved, and also Celebrate the Beat, a program for young people which, after 10 years in Vail, is also doing enormously successful work in other cities around Colorado. The opportunity to cultivate these programs is life-changing. The Vail Valley Foundation drives this work by its commitment to the idea that arts and culture are of primary importance to all communities.

Positive Community Impact

Q: How is the Vail Valley Foundation impacting the community?

A: The Vail Valley Foundation strongly benefits the community through its educational programs such as Celebrate the Beat, a Colorado-based organization that helps children discover their potential by engaging with inspiring music and dance. The program teaches kids how to learn, how to participate, how to perform, how to be a part of a team and by sharing this opportunity the Vail Valley Foundation displays its intentions to make positive changes for youth in Eagle County and beyond. Likewise, the Dance Festival extends its reach by presenting dance beyond the traditional stage settings, exposing the entire community to culture and art. For example, Dancing in the Streets was created to bring dance directly into contact with the public in ways not possible in a regular theater environment, giving people the opportunity to “be the art,” highlighting what dancing really is — art brought to life.

Focus on Creating Equality

Q: What do you feel should be the main focus for our community moving forward? What role would you like to see the Vail Valley Foundation playing to achieve that?

A: Inequality. Consistent with issues plaguing the country, and the world beyond, addressing inequality, providing access to a path worthy of our wealth and ability as a nation are the key components to success no matter what the endeavor — whether artistic, educational or sports related. The Vail Valley Foundation can and should expand on its emphasis to share the opportunities provided by its programs, demonstrating and reinforcing how access to its initiatives can change lives and create communities where there are now silos of demographic and economic groups. At the Dance Festival, I am working to increase the accessibility to all aspects of the event, and to make it a learning organization, which responds to its insufficiencies as much as it strengthens and builds on its successes.

Tickets for this year’s Vail International Dance Festival are on sale. Learn more at

Damian Woetzel is artistic director of the Vail International Dance Festival.

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