Midwest Jewish Artists’ Lab Retreat — Five Cities — Day One!

Oh, what an amazing opportunity to gather with artists from the Art Labs from Kansas City, Minneapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee.   Oh, what a wonderful group we are (if you don’t mind me saying.   We were gifted with the chance to meet together in Milwaukee for the weekend, welcomed by Mark Shapiro, Executive Director of the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.   Helene Fischman began, then, speaking of the many disciplines of the arts — as ‘languages’ through which we communicate…challenging each of us to communicate in other disciplines.   We took pencil to paper and wrote nouns — and passed on the paper to our neighbors who wrote descriptions — and to another who illustrated.   Here was my “Pound Cake”.IMG_1162

Helene also spoke of psychogeography — a movement which grew out of Situationalism — which encourages playfulness and moving through urban environs.  So here we were — sixty-five artists playing together and exploring our new connections.

We explored niggunim in prayer with Joey Weisenberg –who spoke of the niggun as the sound a soul makes.   A niggun is the deepest form of prayer — the words behind the words.

We were fortunate to have Stephen Arnoff, President and Chief Executive Officer of JCCA, offer us the keynote after dinner.   He spoke to us of the artists’ role in inspiring the community — of the opportunity for the artist to elevate the community in our buildings of gathering and worship.     He was very engaging and gave us ideas…

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