to the Jewish Artists' Laboratory, an arts initiative that began through the Sabes Jewish Community Center. The lab explores specific themes through study and art making, bringing together a diverse group of artists who have an interest in the relationship between Jewish thought and creativity.
In October 2017 we will enter year six of the lab with a new topic: Crossing the Threshold; as we explore the meaning of passages, growth and transformation. This follows on the heels of Text-Context-Subtext, Light, Water, Wisdom, and Boundaries and Otherness.
In 2017 we will begin a new chapter for the lab as we come to the close of five years of support from the Covenant Foundation. We deeply appreciate the generosity of the Covenant Foundation in supporting the birth of this gathering. Since our beginning, Rabbi Alexander Davis of Beth El Synagogue has been one of our facilitators. His deep appreciation of art has lent a unique perspective to our exploration of text. We are pleased that the new structure of the lab will be a partnership between Beth El Synagogue and Sabes JCC under the co-leadership of Rabbi Davis of Beth El and Robyn Awend of the Sabes JCC.
We will continue to be affiliated with the Midwest Jewish Artists' Lab, a group of six organizations in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Madison, Kansas City, Chicago and Cleveland. Each group engages in similar programs on a common theme.
The Sabes Jewish Community Center, Minneapolis, along with The Harry & Rose Samson Jewish Community Center of Milwaukee, the University of Wisconsin Hillel of Madison, Wisconsin, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership of Chicago and the Beachwood Mandel Jewish Community Center of Cleveland have collaborated to create this unique artistic initiative.
This website is the creative initiative of Artists’ Laboratory participant, Susan Weinberg. Since 2013 I have served as the Resident Writer of the Laboratory, documenting each session through our blog. I share the rich material that our facilitators introduce, material that triggers much discussion and ultimately our creative efforts. I invite you to share in our journey by referencing our blog.
Rabbi Alexander Davis is the senior Rabbi of Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, MN. He is passionate about learning and teaching Torah and loves to share the beauty, wisdom and meaning of Jewish life with others.
Robyn Awend is the Director of Cultural Arts at the Sabes Jewish Community Center and the Coordinator of the Minneapolis Jewish Artists' Laboratory. She is a practicing artist who uses her Jewish identity as a focal point of her work, and is a founding member of Form+Content Gallery in downtown, Minneapolis.
As we move into this new stage we bid a fond farewell to Meryll Page who has been a co-facilitator during our first five years. Several of us will be continuing with her facilitation through an exchange with artists in Rehovot, Israel. Our Artists' Lab trip to Israel in 2016 laid the groundwork for that project. You can read more about Partnership 2Gether at p2gx.com.
*header on this website is based on an image of a cut-paper sketchbook by lab artist Rani Halpern
At our last lab of the season, Josh Awend joined us and recorded a podcast with lab members on the theme of Jewish identity. You can find it here as well as other podcasts he has recorded.
Carolyn Light Bell recently published I Heard a Fish Cry (Adlaidebooks.com-Nov 2017). Carolyn's work can also be found in three different publications. Stories from Old Pines, in Cottonwood Review, a print literary magazine, is a small collection of vignettes of amusing and eccentric people in rural Wisconsin.
Hansel and Gretel, is in an online journal, Stickman Review, and is about a woman who is seduced by her old addictions as embodied in a neighborhood character.
Stuff, in Penman Review, another online journal, is about a woman who is trying to fill the empty spaces in her life, surrounding herself with objects.
Other published work includes You Ain't Got the Brains God Gave A Goose," on Storyteller Lit Mag site and The Saga of the Missing Guitar in Somerset Magazine Fall 2015.
Suzanne Fenton published a thoughtful piece on the fragility of life, Funeral for a Friend, in TCJewfolk.
Susan Weinberg released her book We Spoke Jewish: A Legacy in Stories in October 2017.
The book, published by the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest with support from the Minnesota Historical Society, is composed of oral history and artwork and tells the story of three groups of Jewish immigrants in the 20th century.
for more information on the book go to wespokejewish.com
Several of Susan Weinberg's artworks in the lab have been based on Holocaust stories shared by her good friend Dora Zaidenweber. The two share an ancestral town and had a "beshert" connection when they met. Learn more about the engine for this work in a Duets article in the Star Tribune. In 2017 Susan and Dora began using these paintings in Holocaust education efforts.
Susan Armington and Sylvia Horwitz first exhibited their work together at the Robbin Gallery in Robinsdale. You can catch the video in which they talk of how their work complements each other's.
Learn more about Diane Pecoraro's work as community poet in St. Louis Park. She is aptly described as down to earth and relatable and works to make poetry accessible.
You may remember the intriguing piece in the 2014 Artists' Lab exhibition by Allison Morse and fellow artist Rachel Breen. Much has happened since in their efforts to expand the project "The Price Of Our Clothes," which makes connections between the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh and the 1911 NYC Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. In 2015 they went to Bangladesh to do research. You can read their blog which chronicled their travels and collaborative process. The project was also covered by the Star Tribune in 2015. Since then they have received project support grants from Rimon, The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, to support research and production of "The Price of Our Clothes,” an exhibit that will use poetry, storytelling, visual art and social engagement to make connections between the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire and the Rana Plaza disaster as a way to invite American consumers to consider our ties to the garment industry—especially the people who make our clothes.
The Female Gaze
examines how lab artist Ann Ginsburgh Hofkin developed her approach to photography. For more of Ann's work.
News on the Lab
Reflections on Wisdom
Read more in the American Jewish World about how the lab has explored the 2016 theme of Wisdom through many mediums.
A Place Where Art and Culture Intersects
Read more in St. Louis Park magazine about the Minneapolis Artists' Lab and the way it brings art and culture together. And view the photos from our 2014 closing event.
The Artists' Lab: Finding Judaism through Art
Read more about our facilitators Avi and Anat and the work that they have created for the 2014 Artists' Lab Exhibition.
Artists' Labs become an Active Part of Jewish Communities
Hadassah Magazine takes a look at the burgeoning movement of Jewish Arts Salons.
A Midwest Movement Creates and Elevates Jewish Art
The first Jewish Artists Lab began in Milwaukee and was so successful that additional labs were funded by the Covenant Foundation in Madison and Minneapolis.
A Culmination of a Year of Exploration
In 2013, the Lab did its first exhibition on the theme of Text-Context-Subtext, exploring a range of topics through a multitude of mediums.
And another review by the American Jewish World.
7 Site designed by Susan Weinberg
©Minneapolis Jewish Artists' Laboratory 2017
©Minneapolis Jewish Artists' Laboratory 2017