Last year, in the wake of the death of George Floyd, two-and-a-half years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the immigration crisis, the rise in antisemitism, the war in Ukraine and so many more hate-spurred global issues—Boston’s Jewish Arts Collaborative (JArts) wrestled with how a nonprofit arts organization can use art to inspire real action.

The answer came through a conversation between Israeli American Boston-based visual artist Caron Tabb and activist, politician and former American Jewish World Service president/CEO Ruth Messinger, in which the theme of “artivism”—the intersection of art and activism—became the driving force behind the “Be The Change” public art movement.

Following three successful shows in Boston, Cincinnati and LA’s Skirball Center—amplifying 18 diverse artistic voices and the issues their work represents—”Be The Change” is once again mounting a public art exhibit in Boston beginning on Aug. 2 and lasting into late October. An expanded cohort of seven prominent artists will focus on voter rights, the housing crises, reproductive rights, academic censorship, refugees and asylum seekers, mental health stigma in communities of color and more. Six of the installations are being located on spaces near the intersection of Kilmarnock and Van Ness streets in the Fenway neighborhood and one in front of the offices of Samuel & Associates, our collaborating partner.

The artists participating in this year’s Boston “Be The Change” public art installation are: Ciceley Carew; Julia Cseko; Ruth Kathryn Henry; Caron Tabb; Chanel Thervil; Wen-Hao Tien; and Dana Woulfe. Their bios, statements and preliminary sketches of their work are available at


Reimagining the traditional tzedakah box, “Be The Change” has the important power to address these timely issues in ways that make them accessible to audiences everywhere. Just as the Hebrew root of the work tzedakah is tzedek, meaning “justice,” “Be The Change” aims to help viewers connect to issues of injustice and help empower them to become agents of change. Conceived and organized by artist Tabb in partnership with JArts, “Be The Change” shines the light on local artists to illuminate global issues, directing viewers to actions they can take to be agents of change.

Said Tabb, “When conceiving of this project, I wanted to harness the power of art, the artist and partner nonprofits collaborating to offer tangible ways for viewers to move from bystanders to change-makers. I believe that each one of us has something to give back to the communities we belong to. ‘Be The Change’ offers this opportunity.”

“Be The Change” Global Ambassadors – Co-Chairs

  • Rabbi Menachem Creditor: Pearl and Ira Meyer Scholar-in-Residence at UJA-Federation New York and founder of Rabbis Against Gun Violence
  • Ruth Messinger: Former president and CEO of American Jewish World Service and global ambassador and project inspiration for “Be The Change”
  • Caron Tabb: “Be The Change” project visionary

“Be The Change” Global Ambassadors

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