A Cornucopia of Jewish Arts and Culture: Fall Offerings from CANVAS Grantees

Gordon Haber

This autumn is a big one for CANVAS grantees. We’ve got the High Holidays coming, as well as a return to in-person events—and a continuation of on-line offerings as well.
As we put together this list of fall highlights, we were blown away by the effort and imagination of our grantee networks and the Jewish artists and culturemakers they support. From the Bay Area to Berlin, if you’re looking for ways to directly engage with Jewish arts and culture, we can’t think of a better place to start.

Emerging Network Grantees

Alliance for Jewish Theatre (AJT)
Alliance for Jewish Theatre is a unique network of international Jewish theatres and theatre artists supporting each other through information-sharing, conferences, and virtual programs. Coming this fall:

  • AJT Talk: Jonathan Shmidt Chapman, founder of The K’ilu Company, will discuss theatre, education, and identity. Learn how immersive theater and imaginative play can engage families. 9/15, 8-9pm ET on Zoom. Register here.
  • Apply to be a Theatremacher! It’s a fellowship program for theatre makers ages 18-36 who collaborate, gather for monthly labs, work together as a cohort, get access to network opportunities, and showcase their work. Application info on AJT’s website. Information session 9/18, 7-8pm ET on Zoom. Register here
  • Revive and Renew, AJT’s 2022 Virtual Conference, is 10/23 and 10/24. For more information, sign up for AJT’s mailing list. Member theatres are invited to apply to share their work here.

Jewish Art Salon (JAS)
JAS is a truly international network of artists, writers, and scholars exploring Jewish themes. They create solid and fruitful connections through their exhibitions, critiques, and open studios—read more about them in the Compendium here. Coming this fall:

  • JAS artists contributed to The Samaritans: A Biblical People, an ambitious exhibition on the history and culture of the Samaritans created by the Museum of the Bible and the Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies. The exhibition opens 9/16 at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. In the meantime, check out the art here.

Jewish Plays Project (JPP)
JPP identifies, develops, and presents new works of theater that explore Jewish identity, as well as running the eminent Jewish Playwriting Contest. Coming soon from JPP:

  • The world premiere of The Bee Play by Elizabeth Savage, 2020 JPP Finalist, 9/8-9/25 at the New Jewish Theater in St. Louis, MO. Tickets here
  • The JPP returns to live NYC performances with play readings featuring three winners of the National Jewish Playwriting Contest, 11/30 and 12/1 at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. Reserve a ticket here.
  • Stay tuned for the 12th National Jewish Playwriting Contest finalists! The JPP will announce the winners in November: keep an eye on their website

Jewish Studio Project (JSP)
JSP’s public programs cultivate creativity and connection with inspiration from Jewish texts. To learn more about this dynamic grassroots movement, see our piecehereComing soon from the JSP:

  • JSP is in the midst of its program series for the month of Elul, a time of introspection and spiritual self-inquiry, with daily writing prompts, artmaking, and commentary. All seminars are available online, and are open to anyone, of any faith, looking to explore spirituality through creativity. See JSP’s Elul programs here.
  • The Elul programming culminates in High Holiday services, which are free and open to all, featuring a fantastic musical ensemble led by the renowned Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer, and liberating Torah of Creativity from Rabbi Adina Allen. The first event, Singing Our Souls Awake, is 9/19 at 5:30pm PT. Register here.  

The Kultura Collective
The collective is a vibrant and exciting initiative of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto that promotes bridge-building opportunities between arts and culture organizations in Toronto, home to Canada’s biggest Jewish community. Read more about Kultura in the Compendium here. Coming this fall:

  • Toronto Jewish Film Foundation, a Kultura member, will screen Where Life Begins (Alla Vita), a breathtaking love story set in Italy during Sukkot, with discussion to follow, 10/2 at 2pm ET in Toronto. Tickets and streaming info here
  • The Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, also a Kultura member, will present live performances, lectures, panels, and book and film premieres during Holocaust Education Week 2022, 11/2-11/9. Watch this space for updates. 
  • The Ontario Jewish Archives are presenting fascinating upcoming exhibitions with online components, including: Women +: Celebrating Jewish Women in the Community’s History and Love the Stranger: 100 Years of Jewish Immigrant Aid Services. For more info check the archive website

The New Jewish Culture Fellowship (NJCF)
The NJCF advances the work of Jewish artists through material support, mentorship, peer feedback, and shared cultural investigation. Coming this fall from NJCF:

  • NJCF will announce its fantastic new cohort and finalize its calendar. The fellowship was national for the first time and extremely competitive, so it promises to be a fantastic group of artists and writers. Keep an eye on their website for the announcement and for public events: concerts, readings, screenings, workshops, and more.  

The Rising Song Institute 
Part of Philadelphia’s Hadar Institute, Rising Song cultivates Jewish spiritual life through song, engaging people around the world through communal singing, music-making, and study. Coming this fall:

  • Rising Song Selichot Concert and services in Seattle, 9/17 at 8:30pm PT. The final part of Joey Weisenberg and Deborah Sacks Mintz’s musical residency at Congregation Beth Shalom, the concert will be infused with folk songs, original music, and ancient prayer. Tickets are available here.
  • Hadar’s Master Classes in Jewish Song and Prayer feature extensive video libraries as well as online meetings. Hadar’s High Holiday Training delves into the major themes and texts of the season. The Rising Daveners Master Class is for b’nei mitzvah students and any beginner looking to lead traditional Jewish prayers. 

The Workshop
The Workshop is North America’s first arts fellowship centering the work of JOCISM—Jews of Color, Jewish-Indigenous, Sephardi, and Mizrahi—artists and culture-makers. See our piece on The Workshop here. Coming this fall:

  • The Workshop will present its second Artist Salon, 11/14 at 7pm ET at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. The inaugural fellows of The Workshop will present works-in-progress that interrogate, dissect, provoke, subvert, and play with the many angles of memory and Jewish collective identity. Check for details here.

Network Grantees

The Neighborhood / Asylum Arts
The Neighborhood: An Urban Center for Jewish Life is a new model of community center for Brooklyn. Its sister organization Asylum Arts is a global network for Jewish arts and culture, connecting artists through retreats, grants, and its own special projects. Check out the full list of fall events here. Highlights include:

  • Legendary blues and rock band The Sway Machinery presents Hidden Melodies 15, 9/25 at 8:30pm ET at the Brooklyn Bowl. They’ll be musical guests and actor Debra Winger will provide live narration for two animated films with live score from the band. Tickets here.
  • Part communal ritual, part Brooklyn freakout: Segulalelo bills itself as “an immersive Jewish chant and musical gathering for the high holidays.” 9/28 at 7pm ET. Tickets here.

Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM)
This unique organization supports dozens of museums and cultural institutions across North America as they navigate Jewish arts and culture and identity. It also invaluable connections between professionals and their institutions. Read our piece on CAJM here.

Jewish Book Council (JBC)
The Jewish Book Council indefatigably promotes Jewish authors and their work. Read our piece on the JBC here. Coming this fall from the JBC:

  • Culinary historian Michael W. Twitty will be zooming with cookbook author Adeena Sussman, 9/15 at 12:30pm ET. Twitty and Sussman will discuss iden­ti­ty, food, cul­ture, and Twitty’s new thought-provoking memoir, Kosh­er­soulSign up here.
  • The 2022 Jewish Writers’ Conference is 11/6, 10am-5:30pm ET. The conference brings togeth­er agents, edi­tors, and authors for dis­cus­sions, work­shops, and pan­els dis­cussing Jew­ish book pub­lish­ing and writ­ing. Register here.
  • Volume 6 of Paper Brigade, JBC’s fascinating literary journal, features fiction, art, essays, poetry, and a Jewish literary map of India. Pre-order here.

LABA is a Jewish house of study and culture laboratory which uses classic Jewish texts to inspire the creation of art, culture, conversation, and community. The program began at the 14th Street Y in 2007, and now has hubs in Buenos Aires, the Bay Area, Berlin, and Tel Aviv. Coming soon:

  • Applications for the next cohort of LABA fellows will launch in mid-September. The theme is a juicy one: Taboo. Check the LABA website and forward the application to your favorite Jewish artist or writer looking to create and study.
  • LABAlive returns to New York City! We definitely recommend these innovative shows, which showcase the works-in-progress of LABA fellows with teachings from Ruby Namdar, eminent writer and scholar. 9/22 at 7:30pm ET, at the 14th Street Y (tickets).
  • LABAlive returns to the Bay Area! Shows 10/22 and 12/3.Check the LABA website for info.
  • Berlin Fellowship Exhibition opening is 10/1 at 7pm CET at CLB in Moritzplatz. Info here.

Reboot serves as an R&D platform for the Jewish world, reimagining and reinforcing Judaism through art and culture. Its network of preeminent creators, artists, entrepreneurs and activists produce experiences and products that evolve the Jewish conversation, creating fresh approaches to Jewish ritual and tradition. Coming this fall:

  • Reboot’s 2022 High Holiday Resource GuideDuring the Days of Awe we address the pressing needs of our lives, communities, and the world. As you begin to plan for this thoughtful time of year, Reboot has curated offerings from our work that we feel capture the themes of this moment. Download here.
  • 10Q: Reflect. React. Renew.Answer one question per day. When you’re finished, your answers get sent to the secure online 10Q vault for safekeeping. One year later, the vault opens and your answers land back in your email inbox for private reflection. 9/25-10/4. Register here.

Bonus: Artforum on Jewish arts and culture 

We’d like to draw your attention to this fascinating Artforum piece, Toward an Alternative Future for Jewish Art, on the “sea change” in the contemporary landscape of Jewish art. It features a number of practitioners in the CANVAS network, including NJCF director and co-founder Maia Ipp and her groundbreaking 2019 essay, Kaddish for an Unborn Avant Garde

Also mentioned is the 2021 show A Fence Around the Torah co-curated by Ipp, Melissa Martens Yaverbaum of CAJM, Ronit Muszkatblit of LABA, and Kendell Pinkney of The Workshop, as well as the Yiddishland Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, curated by Yevgeniy Fiks and Maria Veits, who contributed an Artists on Artists piece to the Compendium.

We’re so pleased to see that the renaissance in Jewish arts and culture is getting noticed by the secular art world, and proud that CANVAS is helping to nurture the networks making it possible. Next week we’ll look at some of the fantastic work of our media grantees.
A final note: we hope you’ll take the time to participate in one or more of these events because (a) you’ll enjoy it, and (b) you’ll be supporting the talented administrators, writers, and artists who are working so hard to continue the great tradition of Jewish arts and culture. And let us know when you do—we love hearing from Compendium readers.

Image: The Jewish Studio Project cultivates creativity with artmaking programs, free and open to all.

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