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February 09, 2004 - PlatteForum Serves up Art at Hot New Eatery

What: PlatteForum cocktail Party at Zengo

Where: Zengo Restaurant

When: February 5, 2004

Beneficiary: PlatteForum

Host(s): Dana Miller

Founders: Mark Smith

Executive Director: Judy Anderson

Committee Members: Dana Miller, Judy Anderson, Lisa Zoller, Leena Cazeaux

Quote of the evening: "Art moves"

Menu: Asian/Latin foods

Attendance: 225

Attire: Asian influence

Special Thanks: Zengo, East- West Partners, Mark Smith, Richard Sandoval and Chris Frampton

Hors D'Oeuvres:: Zengo's tasty sushi, lettuce wraps, fish tacos, duck rolls, red snapper bites, and much more

Event Coordinator: Dana Miller and Judy Anderson

Board of Directors: Dana Miller, Judy Anderson, Lisa Zoller, Leena Cazeaux, Erin Efaw, Bruce Fowler

Blacktie Photos by: Barbara Segal

 Dana Miller, Platte Forum community director and
Dana Miller, Platte Forum community director and "Hostess with the Mostess!"

About 225 people attended the grand opening of Denver’s newest downtown eclectic restaurant Zengo to support the PlatteForum community arts project. It was a social gathering in celebration of Riverfront Park’s newest eatery as well as an introduction to the PlatteForum, which resides on the same block in the complex. Dana Miller, the organizer and community director, donned a Carmen Miranda headpiece with a traditional Japanese dress, in consonance with Zengo’s Asian/ Latin theme. The wait-staff had exotic drinks of pastel colors on serving trays ready to delight the taste buds of attendees, and there were several areas where one could sample the finest in Asian and Latin Cuisine.

The purpose for the party was to collect support for PlatteForum, a community based nonprofit center that brings underserved children, their families, and the community into a creative space to work with professional practicing artists, serving 1,000 youth annually.

PlatteForum also supports artists with a Creative Residency Program, where artists work full-time to produce creative work in their fields. Residents share their passion with these underserved youth in workshops coordinated with schools and mentoring organizations, which collaborate to help run the programming. Audiences of up to 5,000 have viewed the finished works. The programs at PlatteForum help to break down social and economic barriers that prevent at-risk youth from reaching their true potential; In short, these children explore talents they never knew they had and their parents get to see their kids’ spirits soar.

The PlatteForum believes that art is one of the primary vehicles that can help develop a community of healthy, compassionate and innovative individuals. Their belief is that arts education is critical to development of all youth at all stages, and that artistic expression builds strong self-awareness and self-esteem. At the PlatteForum, participants work collaboratively to explore, find solutions, weigh alternatives, and communicate their ideas verbally and graphically using materials, form and movement.

Upon exiting Zengo’s, attendees received parting gifts and an information packet with a PlatteForum (resident produced) DVD of young participants creating art pieces. The DVD documents them as they share their experiences, thoughts, and feelings. It was delightful to see these kids glowing from a great sense of self-worth, which the PlatteForum helped them achieve.

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