It’s Not Too Late To Check Out ‘Dwelling in a Time of Plagues’

Detail from Adam W. McKinney's "Shelter in Place" at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. View more art at

While the holiday of Sukkot has ended, “Dwelling in a Time of Plagues,” the national constellation of outdoor art installations commissioned by CANVAS — in partnership with Asylum Arts, the Council on American Jewish Museums, LABA and Reboot — continues. “Dwelling in a Time of Plagues” is a Jewish creative response to real-world plagues of our time.

Several new “Dwelling” projects will be commissioned in time for Passover. And the three works commissioned for Sukkot are still on display, all online and some physically:

Adam W. McKinney’s “Shelter in Place” (a partnership with CANVAS grantee Asylum Arts), a Black Jewish response to histories of oppression, will be on view at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Holocaust Education Center until November 20 and will be moving to other venues throughout the country in the coming months. An adapted version will be featured on the ground-floor windows of the 14th Street Y in Manhattan later this year.

Mirta Kupferminc’s “Clamor in the Desert” (a partnership with CANVAS grantee LABA) which transforms fence materials into a shelter that welcomes everyone, will be outside The Jewish History Museum in Tucson through May 2021. An adapted version titled “Clamor in the City” is now on display at the 14th Street Y through mid-November.

• Artist Tiffany Woolf and Reboot, the CANVAS grantee that partnered with her on “Ushpizin of the Silver Screen” are exploring new venues for distributing the “Dispatches from Quarantine” video interviews with Jewish Hollywood legends. (Available here.) An adapted version will be featured at the 14th Street Y in the coming months.

The project has drawn thousands of in-person and virtual viewers, and been featured widely in the media.

Writing about “Ushpizin,” the leading arts site Hyperallergic noted that “there is a certain pleasure — rare in our socially distanced moment — of experiencing stories in public, communally, albeit at a distance from other onlookers,” adding that “In a time of isolation and anxiety, making connections in whatever way possible is something that [artist Tiffany] Woolf hopes to inspire with her installation.”

In a piece on the national project, which was picked up in other Jewish publications including the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency featured this quote from Melissa Martens Yaverbaum of Council on American Jewish Museums: “Projects such as ‘Dwelling’ create new configurations of talent, and as we look at the constrictions of the pandemic and the economy and safety, how will we use the creative assets of the Jewish community in new configurations?”

The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles quoted CANVAS Founder Lou Cove: “Together, ‘Dwelling in a Time of Plagues’ gives us all an opportunity to be greater than the sum of our parts. And isn’t that an essential part of what being Jewish is all about?”

The Forward quoted artist Adam W. McKinney: “I’m thinking about why Covid-19 is so difficult and I think that it’s because it disallows us access to our greatest resource, which is each other. My goal with ‘Shelter in Place’ is as best as I can possibly muster to bring people closer together through the laying bare of my truth and my response to these contemporary moments in history as a Black Jewish person.”

The project was also featured in Lilith Magazine, and a variety of local publications.

Stay tuned for more news from CANVAS and the “Dwelling in a Time of Plagues” team.

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