The Oregon Jewish Life just published an article interviewing member artist (and ORA secretary) Wendelin Russell about the upcoming Celebration of Art 2018.
The Oregon Jewish Life just published a great article on one of our member artists!
PHOTO: Visitors at last year’s Celebration of Art browse at artists’ booths in the MJCC.
Art will tickle all your senses at the 11th annual Celebration of Art at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center the last weekend in October. Admission s free to both events.
ORA Northwest Jewish Artists returns to the MJCC for their 11th annual art sale. The art extravaganza kicks off Saturday evening, Oct. 28, with the Taste of Art preview party and sale from 7 to 9:30 pm. The fun continues all day Sunday (10:30 am-4:30 pm) with the Celebration of Art sale. Affordable, original, high-quality fine art created by local Jewish artists will be available. Live music and tastings from local food and drink vendors will round out both events.
Glass, ceramics, fabric, beads, stone, paint, metals and photography from local artists will spark your senses with a selection of beautiful Judaica and a variety of secular art. Most participating artists will happily discuss commission ideas.
The preview evening also showcases some phenomenal local “food artists” who will be handing out samples: Sake’One, Stone Barn Brandyworks and Love Bites from Carne Wilson and Tiffany Miller. Guests will be treated to the sounds of a local three-piece jazz trio: Andres Moreno on drums, Jon Lakey on bass and Wyck Malloy on tenor saxophone.
At the Sunday celebration, music and food again accompany the art experience. Music by Rich Garber, George Fendel and Tom Roth will be heard throughout the day. Food artists will again offer tastings: The Portland Bloody Mary Mix, Portland Juice Company, Stellar Pops and Love Bites. Cafe at the J will offer a special meal; all art purchasers will receive a coupon for a discount at the cafe. All art purchases also include raffle tickets toward a seven-day getaway.
TASTE OF ART PARTY: FOOD FOR THE BODY AND SOUL
September 25, 2015
Come see the light and explore the work of Oregon Jewish artists on Oct. 17 and 18.
The Saturday evening Taste of Art preview party will fill the Mittleman Jewish Community Center ballroom to the max with original works of art, an array of tasty foods and beverages, live entertainment, and a preview and sale of Sunday’s art exhibition and sale. The preview party will run from 7 to 9:30 pm, Oct. 17.
The Ninth Annual Celebration of Art exhibit and sale starts the next morning at 10:30 am in the MJCC ballroom. Jewish artists and their work will be on hand until 4:30 pm, Oct. 18. Admission to both events is free. Both are hosted by ORA Northwest Jewish Artists, the only arts organization devoted to promoting art created by Jewish artists in Oregon and Washington.
ORA’s mission includes connecting artists with art lovers and collectors of all ages. Last year’s opening night event was a huge success, drawing crowds of fun-loving adults. This year’s Saturday evening party will feature wine and food tastings, as well as tastings from Ambacht Brewing (including its famous Matzobrau beer) and Gompers Gin, an Oregon distillery named for Herman Gompers, a Holocaust survivor and participant in the USC Shoah Foundation video testimonial program. Live music will be provided by the popular band The Noted, whose musical offerings are sure to be crowd pleasers. Jazz pianist George Fendel and classical and jazz musician Rich Garber will provide music on Sunday as visitors browse the aisles of art.
For every $25 spent on art at Saturday’s Taste of Art or Sunday’s Celebration of Art, the buyer will receive a raffle ticket toward one of five prize packages. Prize packages include a fabulous date night downtown at the Westin Portland, a Hillsdale/Multnomah basket and an Art of Cooking package. The raffle drawing will be held at 4 pm on Sunday; you need not be present to win.
More than 25 Jewish artists will have their works on display and for sale. ORA artists work in a variety of media including paint, fiber, stone, ceramics, beadwork, photography, precious metals, fused glass, silk and collage. Over the years ORA has expanded its membership to include artists outside the Portland metropolitan area. In recent years many talented male artists have become active members of the collective, augmenting a core of dedicated women founders.
To see what other events ORA artists participate in, visit northwestjewishartists.org/events.html.
ORA means “light” in Hebrew. Remember to light up your evening on Saturday, Oct. 17.
Oregon Jewish Life, April 2015: A&E
A FEAST FOR THE SENSES IN CELEBRATION OF CULINARY, VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS
by DEBORAH MOON, MARCH 23, 2015
The April 28-May 24 run of “4000 Miles” by Amy Herzog will feature an exciting collaboration of Artists Repertory Theatre, The Geezer Gallery and ORA Northwest Jewish Artists.
The Geezer Gallery, which is now in residence at ART, asked ORA artists to create visual art responding to the play, which Time magazine named the number one play of 2012.
For two weeks of the run (Wednesday-Sunday, May 6-17), the three nonprofits will join Jamison Restaurant to offer a one-of-a-kind curated evening of local art. The “Trifecta” package will be a feast for the senses: culinary, visual and performing arts.
Tickets for the Trifecta Experience are $125 per person; a portion of the proceeds support the Geezer Gallery’s residency at Artists Rep’s ArtsHub (the eight arts companies in the building).
The evening begins at 5 pm with a three-course dinner at the Pearl District’s Jamison Restaurant and includes a teaser exhibit at the restaurant of the work of ORA artists.
Following this gourmet dinner, travel just under a mile from 900 NW 11th Ave. to Artists Rep at 1515 SW Morrison to view The Geezer Gallery’s full installation of juried works in the Morrison Lobby.
At 7:30 pm enjoy great seats to see “4000 Miles,” directed by Alana Byington. The ART website says the play “follows a cross-country bike trip from the Pacific Northwest that brings 21-year-old Leo, unannounced, to his 91-year-old grandmother’s West Village apartment. Trapped in inertia and trying to escape his past, the young man’s world views are rattled by his grandmother’s recollections of her radical, bohemian past. Ideological sparks fly in this subtle, comedic drama as the two discover where their worlds intertwine.”
As a company-in-residence at Artists Rep, Geezer Gallery artists offer patrons rotating visual art installations that reflect or are inspired by the work onstage. The Geezer Gallery invited ORA: Northwest Jewish Artists to create an art show from their interpretations of the play. The resulting exhibit will be on display, and the artwork will be for sale in the lobby throughout the run of the play.
“ORA has been astounding,” says Nicole A. Lane, marketing and public relations director for Artists Repertory Theatre. “Artists started reading the play last fall and have created pieces for the play.”
“This is a very unique and exciting event for ORA,” says Brauna Ritchie of ORA. “In preparation for the exhibit, two study groups met to discuss the play and explore possible artistic themes. After each artist submitted work, the art was juried by The Geezer Gallery’s curator. The result is a thought-provoking art exhibit paired with a poignant play – and a new art partnership for Portland!”
In Hebrew, ORA means light, luminosity, warmth, perspective, liveliness, brightness. ORA is a group of artists in the Portland area who have come together to support, share, inspire, enjoy and showcase a wide variety of art forms within the context of the Jewish experience. Mittleman Jewish Community Center members who show their membership card will receive a 10% discount on any ORA art purchased during the show.
During the first season of its residency at ART, The Geezer Gallery has featured dozens of local artists as they explore how visual art and performance can converse with each other to make for a more enriching experience. Art sales at Artists Rep support the Geezer Gallery’s programs for seniors. The Geezer Gallery is devoted to celebrating master-level senior artists, providing therapeutic arts programming for low-income seniors for the Portland community.
To purchase tickets visit artistsrep.org or call the Artists Rep box office at 503-241-1278.
Oregon Jewish Life, May 2013: A&E
ORA NORTHWEST JEWISH ARTISTS EXHIBIT IN MJCC LOBBY
Every year the painters, ceramic artists, glass artists, bead artists, photographers, quilters and fabric artists of ORA gather together to craft a rotating exhibit of their work in the lobby of the Mittleman Jewish Community Center during Jewish Arts Month.
Beginning the first full week in May (May 5-11), work from the following artists will be on display: Brauna Ritchie (mixed media glass and metal), Ellen Shefi (photography), Sabina Wohlfeiler (painting) and Laura Fendel (fabric sculpture).
May 12-18: eddy Shuldman (fused glass), Esther Liberman (beadwork/jewelry), Diane Fredgant (silk painting) and Jonathon Lietz (painting).
May 19-25 (under-40 show): Anna Kodesch (painting), Ahuva Shmueli (painting), Michelle Katz (painting) and Jessica Israel Johnson (photography).
May 26-31: Sharon Segal (painting), Glenn Decherd (ceramics), Bob Sorkin, and Leslie Elder (painting).
The art will be available for purchase. Artists will be on site and available for conversation and sales at various times during the month. If no artists are on hand during your visit and you wish to purchase or discuss a piece, business cards with contact information will be available at the exhibit.
ORA Northwest Jewish Artists was formed in 2006, making it the longest running Jewish arts organization in the Northwest. ORA membership is currently open to all artists at all levels, but exhibiting members are required to enter a jury process.
Oregon Jewish Life, December 2012: A&E
COLORS OF LIFE By Elizabeth Schwartz, December 2012
Purple onions glow against a neutral background. Apples burnished by red and gold highlights. A female torso whose contours are outlined in green, orange, turquoise and gray. This is the color world of painter Anna Kodesch, a third-generation Portlander whose upcoming show, “Oregon, My Oregon,” opens Dec. 1 at Bellamy Studios in Multnomah Village (6715 SW Multnomah Blvd.).
Kodesch, who is represented by Caplan Art Designs, explains her distinctive approach to color on her website: “I love to challenge the notion of ‘accurate color’ by using the paint on the canvas as a medium to prove that accuracy does not always equal perfect aesthetics. I do this by Anna Kodesch Purple onions glow against a neutral background. Apples burnished by red and gold highlights. A female torso whose contours are outlined in green, orange, turquoise and gray. This is the color world of painter Anna Kodesch, a third-generation Portlander whose upcoming show, “Oregon, My Oregon,” opens Dec. 1 at Bellamy Studios in Multnomah Village (6715 SW Multnomah Blvd.).
Kodesch, who is represented by Caplan Art Designs, explains her distinctive approach to color on her website: “I love to challenge the notion of ‘accurate color’ by using the paint on the canvas as a medium to prove that accuracy does not always equal perfect aesthetics. I do this by taking seemingly unrelated splotches of paint and combining them in such a way that, as a finished product, they result in a true, beautiful, artistic representation of the subject – whether that be a face, a landscape or a piece of fruit.”
By using her own perceptions of color, Kodesch’s representations of beaches, fruits, mountains and people capture hidden facets, like turning a cut gem this way and that in a strong light. Her paintings of everyday objects provide these ordinary subjects with added depth and sometimes a startlingly different perspective.
Kodesch studied graphic design and painting in college and later worked in design production. The mother of three young children, Kodesch has increased her focus on her painting over the past year or so. “I’m really trying to get out there and show and be recognized for the work I’m doing,” she says. “It makes me happy to share my work and see others’ enjoyment of my work.”
When you look at Kodesch’s paintings, even in the reproductions on her website (www.annakodesch.com), the fat brushstrokes are notable. Kodesch applies color with a buttery thickness, explaining, “I want my paintings to be delicious. For me, paint just feels yummy, thick and rich, full of viscosity.” Interestingly, given the almost three-dimensional quality of her work, Kodesch paints from photographs rather than from life. “Painting from photos allows me to divorce my emotions from what I’m seeing,” she says. “When I paint from a photo, I have an easier time capturing what is really there, rather than what I think is there. It also allows me to abstract a little more.”
Abstraction is also how Kodesch describes her relationship to color. “I always thought I was a realist, but now I think I’m more about expressions and impressions. My paintings are realistic depictions with abstract use of color.” Although she acknowledges the exaggerated nature of her color choices, Kodesch says when she chooses a color, that’s the color she actually sees. “In traditional color theory, you learn that every color is made of every other color,” she explains. “When I look at a pear, I see that it’s reddish. I try to exaggerate the oddity or anomalous quality of the color.” This highlighting of anomalies in colors also challenges viewers to take part in experiencing the paintings. “I want the viewer to use their vision to make the colors work together.”
Kodesch does not consciously direct her art; she allows her artistic impulses to dictate her paintings. “It’s important to let the work evolve without too much conscious direction,” she says. “I’m pleased to see how my work has developed over the past year. I’ve become a more aggressive painter. I’m more confident in what I want to do and I think people respond more strongly to my work.”
In addition to her upcoming show at Bellamy Studios, a series of Kodesch’s paintings of fruits, vegetables and roosters is on display at the Daily Cafe at the Tram on the South Waterfront, located at 3355 SW Bond Ave.
Elizabeth Schwartz is co-host of the Yiddish Hour on 90.7 FM KBOO Community Radio and a freelance writer living in Portland.
Jewish Review, November 1, 2011: Arts
“Should I wear my clown suit?” mused David Fuks (center above), executive director of Cedar Sinai Park, before sitting for a portrait Oct. 30 at the Celebration of Arts hosted by ORA Northwest Jewish Artists at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center. Completed in just two hours, the realistic portrait had multiple layers of colorful gestural pastel strokes. A steady stream of shoppers flowed through the MJCC to examine jewelry, carved stone, dyed silk, photographs and beadwork. Diana Unterspan described the process of pressing local wool into felt for hats at her Dayenu Designs. Guest artist Jonas Blaut showed menorahs and other stone carvings, while describing the moh scale of hardness for stone; explaining that a Sawzall or diamond-coated tool are needed to cut the hardest stones. His carved/painted granite bench was donated to the Oregon Garden by his patron. The volunteer at the cashier desk reported many successes.
Left, Susan Kuznitsky paints portrait of David Fuks at Celebration of Art. Above, the finished portrait.
Jewish Review, October 15, 2011: Arts
ORA JEWISH ARTISTS READY ANNUAL SHOW AT JCC
CSP’S DAVID FUKS TAPPED FOR PORTRAIT DEMONSTRATION
By SHARON SEGAL, Special to the Jewish Review
ORA Northwest Jewish Artists will present its sixth annual Celebration of Art at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Oct. 30.The ballroom will be transformed into an art gallery featuring the works of emerging as well as experienced artists representing a variety of media. In addition, recent artwork by residents of Rose Schnitzer Manor will also be on display. The sale begins at 10:30 a.m. and concludes at 4:30 p.m.
During the event, portrait artist Susan Kuznitsky will paint a portrait of Cedar Sinai Park Chief Executive Officer David Fuks.
“We are very excited that David has agreed to be the subject of this painting,” said Kuznitsky.
Fuks is well known in the community not only for his role at Cedar Sinai, but also as a passionate writer, eloquent speaker and comedian. When asked if he would sit for the portrait, David humbly responded, “Me? I’m just a working guy,” and he then rattled off a list of names!
“It is precisely because of David’s humility and hard work, that we want to honor him. David is an artist; he uses words to paint pictures and now in front of his community, Susan will paint his portrait,” said ORA Director Eddy Shuldman.
”We hope everyone will stop by the demo booth during the day to say hi to David while he strikes a pose for Susan. She is masterful and will no doubt capture his essence!”
New to the show this year will be painters, Anna Kodesch, Diane Russell and Janice Katz. Ceramic and stone artists include Jonas Blaut, Glenn Decherd, and Emunah Noa. New member Roberta Cohen will be selling her jewelry and related bead work. Back after a brief hiatus will be paper and glass artist Judith Hankin (Eugene) and quilter, Sharon Stern.
The exhibit/sale will include paintings, collage, silk, fused glass, ceramics, jewelry, beadwork, sculpture and photography. Some of the work will have Jewish themes.
Returning artists include Leslie Elder, Laurie Fendel, Diane Fredgant, Esther Liberman, Sharon Segal, Ellen Shefi, Eddy Shuldman, Sabina Wohlfeiler, Barbara Berger, Jessica Israel and Diana Unterspan.
For more information about individual artists and the sale go to the ORA blog—northwestjewishartists.blogspot.com—where a new artist is featured daily.
At left, a painting by Janice Katz, “Man Reading, Boy Sleeping.” Above is a ceramic mezuzah, the work of Emunah Noah. Both artists will be in the ORA show.
Jewish Review, September 15, 2011: Arts
ORA ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF ART OCT. 30 AT MITTLEMAN CENTER
“A man (and a woman) should hear a little music, read a little poetry and see a fine picture every day… in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which G-d has implanted in the human soul,” wrote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. With that thought in mind, ORA, Northwest Jewish Artists hopes that everyone will visit the sixth Celebration of Art in the ballroom of the Mittleman Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Oct. 30. The event — set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — will present a variety of fine art from founding members Leslie Elder, Laurie Fendel, Diane Fredgant, Esther Liberman, Sharon Segal, Ellen Shefi, Eddy Shuldman, Sabina Wohlfeiler, and new members Barbara Berger, Roberta Cohen, Judith Hankin, Jessica Israel, Janice Katz, Anna Kodesch, Sharon Stern and Diana Unterspan. The exhibit/sale will include paintings, collage, silk, fused glass, ceramics, jewelry, beadwork, sculpture and photography. Some of the work will have Jewish themes. Guest artists this year include Jonas Blaut, Laura Dawson Rosenblit, Glenn Decherd, Diane Russell and Jessica Schurtman. Also on display will be the work of artists from the Rose Schnitzer Manor. Since ints beginning in 2005, ORA has held fast to the commitment of providing opportunities for artists of Jewish heritage to find each other, supporting their collective artistic growth and creating exhibits/sales in which people from the extended metropolitan area can experience Jewish art. Membership structures have been expanded to include both beginning and professional artists. ORA is the oldest Jewish arts collective in the Northwest.
“FRUIT OF HER HANDS,” a watercolor by
ORA artist Leslie Elder, will be included in ORA’s
Oct. 30 Celebration of Art at the Mittleman Center.
Jewish Review, October 29, 2010: Arts
Jewish artists attract crowd to Jewish community center
ORA NORTHWEST JEWISH ARTISTS’ fifth annual Celebration of Art took place Oct. 24 at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center. In photo above shoppers gather at the booth of painter Leslie Elder. The even was an opportunity for Jewish artists to exhibit and sell their work. This year’s event also benefitted Cedar Sinai Park’s Kehilla Housing program. ORA artist and spokesperson Eddy Shuldman estimated attendance at about 600, up slightly from last year. Twenty-six member and guest artists took part, in addition to a contingent of CSP residents.
Jewish Review, October 15, 2010: Arts
ORA ART CELEBRATION SUPPORTS KEHILLA HOUSING PROGRAM
By JEWISH REVIEW
This year’s Fifth Annual Celebration of Art hosted by ORA Northwest Jewish Artists will benefit Cedar Sinai Park’s Kehillah Housing program.
A total of 25 local Jewish artists will be featured at the fine art show and sale on Sunday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the ballroom at the Mittleman Jewish Communtiy Center. This year, ORA chose the Kehillah Housing program as their community partner.
Through this partnership, ORA will donate a percentage of their proceeds from art sales to the Kehillah Housing program.
The Celebration of Art event will feature works that evoke feelings of home—a message that parallels the purpose and spirit behind Kehillah Housing. Additionally, resident artists from CSP’s Rose Schnitzer Manor will have a table featuring their works of art.
Kehillah Housing, a program currently in development, will be an affordable housing program for adults with developmental disabilities. Cedar Sinai Park’s Kehillah Housing program will partner with Jewish Family and Child Service to offer adults with developmental disabilities affordable housing and access to an array of social services that support their ability to live independently in the community.
Kehillah Housing will offer 14 apartments to residents, many of whom have continued to reside with their families into adulthood. An important component of Kehillah Housing is its focus on supporting residents’ inclusion into the community through social activities and supported employment. In addition, life skills training will be available to assist residents with their successful transition.
Jewish Review, October 1, 2010: Arts
ORA JEWISH ARTISTS EVENT OCT. 24
By JEWISH REVIEW
The fifth annual celebration of art by ORA Northwest Jewish Artists is set for Oct. 24 at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center.
This event is an exhibit in which the art works are for sale.
Ten percent of the proceeds from this year’s event will be donated to Kehillah Housing, a project of Cedar Sinai Park and Jewish Family and Child Service that helps to provide housing for developmentally disabled adults.
The ORA exhibit will also include space for Rose Schnitzer Manor artists to exhibit their work.
Works by ORA members Eddy Shuldman, Diane Fredgant, Leslie Elder, Robin Esterkin, Sabina Wohlfeiler, Esther Liberman, Sharon Segal, Julie Hockley, Ellen Sheffi, Susan Kuznitsky and Laura Fendel will be on display and for sale. Fourteen guest artists will also take part this year.
Nearly 500 people attended last year’s ORA event.
Jewish Review, October 1, 2010: Arts
KUZNITSKY PORTRAIT OF STAMPFERS AT NEVEH SHALOM
By PAUL HAIST
Susan Kuznitsky was in the Stampfer Chapel at Congregation Neveh Shalom not long ago for her younger son Matthew Heiteen’s bar mitzvah rehearsal. Associate Rabbi Bradley Greenstein was there along with Matthew’s tutor Deb Freidberg.
They looked out the open doors of the chapel where Kuznitsky’s portrait of Rabbi Joshua and Goldie Stampfer had recently been installed facing the chapel entrance.
“They looked like they were smiling into the room,” said Kuznitsky of the canvas that seems to glow with its own light.
Stampfer is emeritus rabbi at Neveh Shalom. He and his wife Goldie endeared themselves to generations of Neveh Shalom members and are greatly admired across the Jewish community.
Kuznitsky is a Neveh Shalom member and a portrait artist who was recruited last May by CNS Executive Director Fred Rothstein to create the portrait.
The canvas measures 24 by 30 inches. The painting is executed in oil. Kuznitsky said she worked from a photograph selected by Stampfer daughters.
No one was sure exactly where or when the photograph was made, although Kuznitsky estimated that Rabbi Stampfer was in his 70s at the time. He is 89 today.
Stampfer daughter Nehama Glogower, now of Ann Arbor, Mich., found the photograph, according to her sister Elana Stampfer Emlen of Portland.She said everyone agreed the painting should be adapted from that image.
The painting does reveal the couple’s inner selves.
Emlen said, “I love it. It’s so joyful. It really captures their delight.”
Greenberg said, “It captures Rabbi Stampfer’s sweet and gentle nature.”
Greenstein was present when the Rabbi Stampfer first saw the painting. He said Stampfer wanted right away to bring his wife to see it.
Kuznitzky studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and then with Albert Handell when he was in New York.
Today, she paints and teaches art at her Studio in the Woods Northwest near her home in the vicinity of Alpenrose Dairy. See more of her work at studiointhewoodsnw.com.
Kuznitzky is a member of ORA Northwest Jewish Artists, which will host its fifth annual exhibition and sale Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center.
Oregonian, February 23, 2010: Oregon Living
JEWISH ARTS MONTH KICKS OFF WEDNESDAY WITH PRE-JAM SLAM, CONTINUES INTO APRIL
BY NANCY HAUGHT, THE OREGONIAN
FEBRUARY 23, 2010, 6:00AM
Jewish Arts Month
What: A collaborative, monthlong arts festival of Jewish music, art, film and theater
When: Kicks off Wednesday and continues into April
Details, including schedule:northwestjewishartists.org
Kick-off event: Pre-JAM slam, a sampling of Jewish Arts Month offerings; 7 p.m. Wednesday, Mittleman Jewish Community Center, 6651 S.W. Capitol Highway; free
Jewish Arts Month kicks off Wednesday evening with a Pre-JAM slam at Mittleman Jewish Community Center. A collaborative effort, the monthlong arts festival offers dozens of opportunities to experience visual art, music, theater and spoken-word performances that organizers hope will help dispel religious and cultural stereotypes.
Traditionally, Jews are known as “the people of the book,” a reference to their scriptural tradition. “But we’re also people of music and art, film and theater,” says Eddy Shuldman, JAM director and chair ofORA: Northwest Jewish Artists. Ora is Hebrew for “light.”
JAM events really begin in March and run through April. They include plays paired with visual art exhibits, klezmer and folk concerts and an evening of adult storytelling by Joanne Greenberg, who wrote the novel, “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.”
Other events, including lectures, workshops and the Jewish Film Festival, fall within Jewish Arts Month. A grant of $4,200 from the Oregon Arts Commission helped organize and promote JAM events.
— Nancy Haught
Jewish Review, February 12, 2010: Arts & Letters
ARTS COMMISSION FUNDS JEWISH ARTS MONTH
By JEWISH REVIEW
The Pre-JAM Slam kick-off for Jewish Arts Month, a new collaborative festival of the arts, will be held at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center at 7 p.m., Feb. 24.
The Oregon Arts Commission awarded the MJCC a $4,200 Arts Build Communities grant to organize and promote Jewish Arts Month in Portland. JAM will reach hundreds of people at venues throughout the Portland community through art, music, theater and the spoken word. Additionally, MJCC Chief Executive Officer Lisa Horowitz offered the center’s facility and staff support.
JAM is a collaborative effort between various Jewish and secular cultural arts agencies including the MJCC, The Multnomah County Library, Portland Center Stage, Jewish TheatreCollaborative, Triangle Productions, Oregon Jewish Museum and the Elements Gallery and Hot Shop, among others.
Eddy Shuldman, JAM director and chair of ORA: Northwest Jewish Artists, imagined an arts festival that would involve collaboration between various local Jewish and secular cultural arts agencies.
“Stories can be told through spoken and written words, images and sound; they play an essential role in all cultures,” said Shuldman. “We are known as ‘the people of the book’ but we are also a people of music and art, film and theater.
“We have successfully assimilated in America and, because of that, it is easy to lose touch with our traditions and values. Judaism is often viewed through a lens of stereotyped images and expectations. Through the arts, I think we can begin to displace those Hollywood clichés.”
JAM will begin Feb. 24 with a “Pre-JAM Slam” celebration at the MJCC, beginning at 7 p.m. and featuring an official city proclamation to launch the festival. Jennifer Yocum will attend as a representative of Mayor Sam Adam’s office to deliver the proclamation. Brian Wagner with the Oregon Arts Commission will also be present, along with numerous, artists, musicians, actors and theater directors.
Art exhibits will accompany several theater productions: including Sarah Horowitz’s “Yiddish Alphabet” and Shelley Jordon’s animated painting “Family History” at the Portland Center Stage’s production of “The Chosen.”
Renata Dollinger’s oil paintings of shtetl life will be on display at Coho Theater with Triangle Productions’ one-woman play “Rose,” starring Wendy Westerwelle.
The Jewish Theater Collaborative will present “Kindertransport” at Artists Repertory Theatre. (See story below.)
“Fugue: Exile, Emigration and Displacement,” a photography and poetry exhibit by Friderike Heuer will be featured in the ART Alder Stage lobby.
ORA: Northwest Jewish Artists have an exhibit called “LIGHT” at the Elements Gallery and “Hot Shop” March 4-12. There will also be a weeklong exhibit at the MJCC.
JAM will present Joanne Greenberg, best-known author of “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,” in an intimate adult storytelling event at Oregon Jewish Museum. After lecturing about her novels at Reed College and the University of Oregon, Greenberg will tell Jewish stories intended for mature audiences on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. Her stories will include “A Corpse Bride;” “The Jewish Orpheus and Eurydice” and “The Litvak Eulogy.”
Music concerts at the MJCC will feature V’Chaverim, an eclectic klezmer band, on March 11 at 7 p.m., and Amy Shapiro and Jeff Olenick, an evening of folk and theatrical music, on March 18 at 7. p.m.
Shelley Jordon will present “An Artist’s Journey” (or…”How a middle-aged Jew Reinvented Herself”), a lecture and screening at The Oregon Jewish Museum.
Numerous other activities also fall within Jewish Arts Month and can be found on its master calendar northwestjewishartists.org/JAMschedule2010.html). These include the Sholom Aleichem Conference at Congregation Neveh Shalom, the Jewish Film Festival, and the Women’s Seder led by Cantor Ida Rae Cahana.
Also, the Yuval Ron Ensemble: Mystical Music of the Middle East—Concert for Unity will perform at the First Unitarian Church in downtown Portland. At Havurah Shalom, A “Fah-bring’-in!” and CD Release Party honoring Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield, zt”l will take place on March 21 at 5:30 p.m. to benefit the Southwest Community Health Center and P’nai Or of Portland.
At Portland Jewish Academy, fifth- and sixth-grade students will participate in a workshop at the Hillsdale Library on April 21 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Family Heirloom Art, Celebrating Family Stories and Creating a Family Tree will be led by artist Lisa Kagan. The workshop is free, multi-generational and open to the public.