As Studios Without Walls founder Bette Ann Libby says, “We make a gift to the community by lifting the spirits of those passing by with our art. According to Maimonides, ‘The highest form of charity is giving to those who you do not know and those who receive the charity do not know from whom it came.’”

The theme of the 2022 show is “The Ground We Walk,” and not surprisingly, there are Jewish inspirations running throughout the .25-mile art walk.

“The Ground We Walk” is an opportunity for artists to create a visual interpretation of tikkun olam, repairing the world. Several sculptures address climate change and caretaking of the environment by incorporating found objects, trash and upcycling.

Because there are so many ties to Jewish life and tradition within this show, we wanted to take a moment to hear from some of the artists and share some of their inspiration behind their pieces.

“Blossoms of a Thousand Deaths: Remembering the Victims of Genocide” by Alan Spivack

“A lot of my sculpture reflects my devotion to the ideas, imagery and rituals of Judaism. I have a section on my website highlighting all of my sculptures that have a spiritual theme. My work is infused with Jewish content, inspired by Me’ah courses I’ve taken, by attending Shabbat services and text study, too. The subjects are diverse, from making a sculpture that pays tribute to Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav to a more fanciful piece, a cell-phone-looking-tower called ‘1-800-CALL GOD.’ My Studios Without Walls sculpture in 2021 was called ‘Trees of the Garden of Eden’ and riffed on an idea from a course I took with Rabbi Neal Gold. My 2022 installation is about the ever-present reality of genocide in our lives and its historic and horrific impact on all of us. The myriad books, movies and discussions I’ve had over my lifetime about the Shoah informed my willingness to tackle this challenging artistic theme.”

“Symbiosis” by Rebecca McGee Tuck

“Thank you for spreading the word about the show and about plastic trash. Though I am not Jewish, my husband is, therefore much of my family celebrates and follows Jewish traditions. I came to this question by asking ‘WWMMILS: What Would My Mother-In-Law Say?’ ‘Symbiosis’ was created using hundreds and hundreds of single-use plastic newspaper bags, shopping bags and fruit and vegetable packaging that I collected over the course of one week from people in my family and my community. The act of using this amount of packaging creates a visualization of just how prevalent these plastics are in our daily lives. Jewish values do not accept the escalating destruction of our environment and its inevitable effect on human health. With this piece I hope to shine a light on the abundance of plastic we use and hope that it will spark changes in habits, small and large.”

“Pachamama” by Silvina Mizrahi

“‘Pachamama’ means ‘Mother Earth,’ a concept from the indigenous people in South America to symbolize caring, respecting and celebrating nature. As a Latina and Jewish artist, I believe it represents a perfect blend between my Latino heritage and the principle of tikkun olam, repairing the world. A universal message that transcends cultures and places.”

JArts is a proud sponsor of Studios Without Walls, which is on display in Riverway Park from May 28 through Sept. 4. We hope to see you there!

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