Jewish American Heritage Month!
May is Jewish American Heritage Month! We’re delighted to point Compendium readers towards some of the fabulous work being done by CANVAS grantees both in the U.S. and beyond.
The People of the Bong: “Jews and Cannabis” at YIVO
On a pleasant weeknight in New York City, there was a celebratory atmosphere outside the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. The mood was closer perhaps to a Phish show than an elevating cultural event, with a mix of ages and a little more tie-dye than usual.
What Brings Us Together As Jews?
It’s Jewish American Heritage Month. We thought about the origins of the community and how it has evolved.
“The power of building community” — Welcome C.O.O. Sarah Burford
The CANVAS community is growing! We are excited to welcome one more creative professional: Our new Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Burford.
“What Else Could This Mess Be?”: How the Jewish Studio Project Uses Jewish Texts for Creativity and Healing
Passover and Purim have something in common aside from permission to drink—both holidays have clear heroes and villains. But Rabbi Adina Allen of the Jewish Studio Project has a way of re-exploring these stories in interesting ways without compromising their Jewishness—and of using Hebrew texts to foster empathy and creativity.
Jewish Museums: Hidden Gems
With pandemic restrictions easing, many of us are thinking about traveling again. With that in mind, we thought we’d point out a few Jewish museums that you may have overlooked.
The Jewish Book Council: A Tireless Advocate for Jewish Letters
This week, we continue our series on CANVAS grantees by delving into the Jewish Book Council (JBC), a unique organization indefatigably promoting Jewish authors and their work. As well as piquing your interest in JBC, we hope it inspires you to buy some books.
Hear, O Israel: The Expanding World of Jewish Podcasts
It seems like everybody and their cousin has started a podcast. This isn’t surprising: it’s an enjoyable and portable form, and it’s been exciting to see Jewish creatives get involved. But as with other forms, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.
“It’s Complicated”: Jews in Theatre, TV, and Film on “Jewface”
“Jewface,” or casting non-Jewish actors in Jewish roles, is an ongoing transatlantic controversy in theatre, film, and TV. We asked what Jewish people involved in casting—actors, artistic directors, theatremakers, and TV creators—think about it.
Artists on Artists: Julia Vogl and Gabriella Willenz
“Artists on Artists” is one of our favorite things at the Compendium, when we turn over the keys to Jewish artists we admire so they can share the work of Jewish artists they admire. This week it’s Julia Vogl and Gabriella Willenz, two brilliant interdisciplinary artists.
Spotlight on Ukraine: What’s at Risk and How to Help
CANVAS is a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening the field of Jewish arts and culture. We founded this newsletter to amplify the work of our grantees and highlight the creativity of Jewish artists and writers. This week, however, we’d like to expand that notion and focus on Ukraine.
The Workshop: An Arts and Culture Fellowship for JOCISM (Jews of Color, Indigenous Jews, Sephardi, and Mizrahi)
The Workshop: a new arts and culture fellowship for JOCISM (Jews of Color, Indigenous Jews, Sephardi, and Mizrahi). Now in its first year, The Workshop is a program in which its seven inaugural fellows develop new work, study Jewish texts, and develop their careers.
The People of the Book Are Rethinking (and Remaking) Books
Jewish artists and writers are taking matters into their own hands by designing, publishing, and distributing new works.
“My Mind Is Swiss Cheese”: Jewish creatives on staying productive during the never-ending pandemic
Every week, as I put together this newsletter, I am astonished by the continuing creativity from Jewish artists and writers. In a time of political uncertainty and rising antisemitism, during a global pandemic, people keep creating, investigating their heritage and identity in interesting and meaningful ways.
Asylum Arts: A Shelter for Jewish Artists
The name “Asylum Arts” draws inspiration from safe, nurturing spaces. In its creation, founder and director Rebecca Guber envisioned “a shelter for artists,” a welcoming environment at the cross-section of creativity and Jewish community.
Pow! Zap! Oy! (Jews and comics)
A page, divided into panels, with drawings and word balloons: if you’re a reader of a certain age, you’ll recall a time when this was considered the mark of a lesser art form. It’s been really cool watching comic books and graphic novels mature into a genre that, at its best—such as Art Spiegelman’s Maus or Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis—stands shoulder-to-shoulder with other narrative forms like film and literary fiction. And as with so many American art forms, Jews have played a crucial part...
CANVAS Invests Additional $195,000 in Creative Communities
We’re doubling down on arts networks, the key to the arts and culture ecosystem, with a new round of funding. This week we’ve announced a new round of Jewish arts & culture grantmaking: $195,000 to nine emerging arts networks in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $25,000. This latest grant cycle brings our total commitments to the sector to over $1.6 million over the past 18 months. I want to briefly explain our philanthropic approach here and address the question: why are networks key to...
Jewish Arts and Culture Highlights of 2021
We’ve heard lots of people bidding 2021 a not-so-fond farewell lately, and for many good reasons. But last year had highlights, and we should remind ourselves of all the remarkable creativity we witnessed. Despite the tumultuousness and uncertainty, the creative community kept us engaged, entertained, and hopeful.
The Things They Carried: “What Would You Bring?” Shares Refugee Stories Through Objects
The story of the Jewish people can be seen as one of repeated forced migrations, which is why organizations like HIAS and JDC continue to provide material help to victims. But there is also the salutary act of simply allowing refugees to tell their own stories.
“Interrogating my own contradictions”: Talking Family Matters with Gillian Laub
The artist was “devastated” as her family fractured during the Trump era. Family Matters explores their conflict with affection and insight.
Jewish arts and culture thrived in 2021. Here’s why we know.
Question for the CANVAS Community: If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one else around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Hanukkah-Inspired Art and Culture Selections from CANVAS
As much as we love the holidays, it's a little much when Hanukkah is right on the heels of Thanksgiving. We're still dealing with leftover turkey, and it's time to start the brisket. With this in mind, we thought we'd provide you a little distraction with intriguing works of Hanukkah-themed art, including stories and music to listen to while shredding potatoes or scrambling for eight nights of presents. Let us know what you think, and if you have your own works to...
The Financial Lives of Artists
The financial life of an artist is rife with irregularities. One bountiful month may be followed by a season of drought. A project that demands arduous work may offer “exposure” rather than earnings; a commercial venture may be lucrative but artistically unfulfilling.
Paper Brigade: Jewish Literature in Conversation with the World
One of the great things about running a Jewish arts and culture newsletter is that you get to spend a lot of time with, well, Jewish arts and culture. Some of my happiest hours so far have been spent with Paper Brigade, the Jewish Book Council’s yearly journal. (Buy it here.) As you likely know, the Jewish Book Council (JBC) is “the longest-running organization devoted exclusively to the support and celebration of Jewish literature.” The JBC has...
Artists on Artists: Susan Comninos
Born and raised in upstate New York, at the northernmost tip of Appalachia, Susan Comninos is a poet, writer, and teacher. Her hyper-observant poems explore themes of Jewish identity, family, and nature. She also experiments with verse forms, like the Persian ghazal. Since her debut collection of poems, Out of Nowhere, is forthcoming from SFA Press, we asked Ms. Comninos to share with us some of the poets who inspire her own intense and...