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Opening of the Ground Level Arts Lab

Opening of the Ground Level Arts Lab

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — August 18, 2016

For more information contact:

Betsy Gomberg
bgomberg@spertus.edu | 312.322.1756

New Jewish art space opens at Spertus Institute
with showcase of Spertus collections and
new work by local Jewish artists

September 25, 2016 from 5 to 7 PM

(Chicago) This fall, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership celebrates the opening of the Ground Level Arts Lab, a new 1,600-square-foot programmatic space for Jewish art, artists, and the community.

Located on the ground floor of Spertus Institute, the Ground Level Arts Lab features a semi-permanent display of art and artifacts from Spertus Institute’s impressive collections, putting works from the Spertus collections on regular view for both researchers and members of the public.

Approximately 50 works will be on display, ranging from a rare 17th-century jeweled Torah shield to the cornerstone of the Chicago Hebrew Institute, the forerunner of today’s JCCs. Works will be shown that reflect the Jewish experience worldwide, including the history of Jewish life in Chicago, an area in which the Spertus collection is particularly rich.

The Ground Level Arts Lab also houses flexible space for small changing exhibits. The first of these, titled Voices of Wisdom, presents new works by Chicago-area Jewish artists.

Voices of Wisdom showcases pieces created in conjunction with the Midwest Jewish Artists Lab, an initiative through which Spertus brought together twelve distinguished artists for education, conversation, critiques, and community-building. The artists were provided opportunities to study art from the Spertus collections, as well as learn from historians, art scholars, and experts in a range of related fields.

During the course of the year-long program, each participant was charged with creating an artwork or series around the theme of wisdom.

The participating artists are Sylvia Alotta of Berwyn, Gabriella Boros of Skokie, Melanie Dankowicz of Champaign, Susan Dickman of Evanston, Berit Engen of Oak Park, Jonathan Franklin of Oak Park, Ellen Holtzblatt of Chicago, Judith Joseph of Northbrook, Stephen Levin of Riverwoods, Carol Neiger of Glenview, Dimitri Pavlotsky of Chicago, and Amy Reichert of Evanston.

About the opportunity to take part in this program, artist Carol Neiger said, “Projects like the Midwest Jewish Artists Lab are crucial to the future of Jewish culture. I was pushed to learn and think about Judaism, and then express that new knowledge through my work. The opportunity to learn and be inspired by other artists has forced me to think about my own artistic expression in a whole new way.”

Echoing similar sentiments, artist Gabriella Boros said, "The network of Jewish artists to whom I was introduced by Spertus will affect me for a lifetime."

On September 25 from 5 to 7 pm, a free public event will mark the opening of the Ground Level Arts Lab and Voices of Wisdom. At the opening event, art critic and professor James Yood will lead a panel discussion featuring several of the participating artists. Reservations are required and can be made online at spertus.edu/opening.

For those unable to attend, short videos of several of the artists talking about their work can be found on the Spertus website at spertus.edu/lab. Voices of Wisdom will be on view through March 19, 2017.

Spertus Institute is located at 610 S. Michigan Avenue. Discounted parking is available for $11 at the Essex Inn, two blocks south of Spertus at 8th and Michigan. Spertus validation is required.

The Ground Level Arts Lab is made possible in part through the generous support of the Harry and Sadie Lasky and Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundations. The Midwest Jewish Artists Lab is generously supported by a grant from the Covenant Foundation.

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ABOUT SPERTUS INSTITUTE

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership offers dynamic learning opportunities, rooted in Jewish wisdom and culture and open to all. Graduate programs and workshops train future leaders and engage individuals in exploration of Jewish life. Public programs — including films, speakers, seminars, and concerts — take place at the Institute's Michigan Avenue facility, in the Chicago suburbs, and online.

More information can be found at spertus.edu.

Spertus Institute is a partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community.

Under the SunUnder the Sun (detail),
Ellen Holtzblatt,
2016

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Ghost Scroll VGhost Scroll V,
Judith Joseph,
2016

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Wisdom’s WanderingWisdom’s Wandering,
Carol Neiger,
2016

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Isaiah Series: Strangers Devour ItIsaiah Series: Strangers Devour It,
Gabriella Boros,
2016

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