Zeitgeist Evolving For Healthier, Vibrant Duluth

Arts Building Houses Zinema, Cafe, Teatro Performance Theater

There is growing excitement in the Historic Arts and Theater District of Downtown Duluth.  One of the city’s top arts and community non-profits – known as Zeitgeist – is working harder than ever to deliver more than just its Café, Zinema 2, Teatro performance theater.

Zeitgeist is focusing hard on growing a connected, healthier Duluth empowered to create and thrive.

“I love Zeitgeist because it thinks so broadly of what makes a healthy community,” said Tony Cuneo, executive director of Zeitgeist.

“One of the messages we really try to deliver is that we aren’t doing this for the community, that we are the community,” Cuneo went on to say.

Cuneo believes what’s offered at the Zeitgeist Arts Building is center stage for something much more powerful than what is inside.

“We’re asking ourselves how do we bring the arts and creativity to our community, how do we bring equity to our community?”

Some of those questions are already actively getting answers.

Zeitgeist’s community developer manager, Brooke Wetmore, says the organization has taken a lead role in health initiatives, like Fair Food Access and reversing the so-called food desert in Lincoln Park.

“As you’re able to meet your basics needs, your ability to create and to be expressive and to create a more welcoming and inclusive community,” Wetmore said.

“When we express ourselves through art — through theatre — and we witness that art, it makes us stronger, it brings more love around; it brings more compassion and understanding and harmony,” said Sara Seidelmann, a board member of Zeitgeist.

Seidelmann knows all too well how crucial self-expression can be to one’s health.  Her sister, Maria Bamford, is the start of the Netflix comedy “Lady Dynamite.”

Seidelmann says comedy and acting has been a vital healing tool for Bamford as she has battled bi-polar disorder and mental illness.

“Maria does it so amazingly through her comedy — and other people do it through their painting, through their performance, or through their dance, or through the way the food that they create,” Seidelmann said.

Seidelmann’s examples are exactly the types of results Zeitgeist is dedicated to supporting through the Arts Building and the communities it will continue to touch outside the building’s doors.

“We view this building as a community center. We want people to come and use this building. Tell us what film you want to see, what performance art you want to see.  Tell us what sorts of issues you want talked about. Help program those things with us,” Cuneo said.

Revenue from the Arts Café helps keep the doors open at Zeitgeist.

But the arts and community development work they do relies on grant funding, community sponsors and person donations.

For ways to contribute, log on to ZeitgeistArts.com.

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