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    HomeNewsSkirball Cultural Center Debuts New Public Art Installation in City of West...

    Skirball Cultural Center Debuts New Public Art Installation in City of West Hollywood

    The Skirball Cultural Center debuted its first-ever public art installation in the City of West Hollywood last week on Thursday, June 15. “Be the Change: A Jewishly Inspired Public Art Movement” will run through Sunday, October 1, 2023. The new installation is an art and activism initiative inspired by the pursuit of justice. Part of a national initiative, the public art project is a concept originally developed by the Jewish Arts Collaborative (J Arts) in Boston, Massachusetts, with the Skirball spearheading the creation of site-specific works for Southern California.

    The Skirball Cultural Center debuted its first-ever public art installation in the City of West Hollywood – WEHO TIMES

    As the Southern California-based producer of Be the Change, the Skirball identified five community partners who, in turn, have collaborated with a wide range of artists to create works that illuminate issues of injustice and encourage community members to become agents of change. Participating organizations, artists, and themes include:

    As the Southern California-based producer of Be the Change, the Skirball identified five community partners who, in turn, have collaborated with a wide range of artists to create works that illuminate issues of injustice and encourage community members to become agents of change. Participating organizations, artists, and themes include:

    • Holocaust Museum LA with an eleventh-grade world history class at Whittier High School about the meaning and purpose of tzedakah (the Hebrew word that signifies the concept of charitable giving);
    • LA vs. Hate with interdisciplinary visual artist River T. Garza about indigenous communities;
    • Nature Nexus Institute with several artists, including Azul Calderon, Diandra DillonAkari Johnston, Joanna RuachoStacey Vigallon, and Brian Young about environmental justice;
    • Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles with artist and educator Marni Gittleman and graffiti artist Bobby Z. Rodriguez about tikkun olam (heal the world); and
    • Pico Union Project with whimsical artist Mr. B Baby about the housing crisis.
    • Additionally, the Skirball Cultural Center has partnered with self-taught American Lebanese artist Alex Ahmad Abli about religion and social justice.
    The Skirball Cultural Center debuted its first-ever public art installation in the City of West Hollywood – WEHO TIMES
    The Skirball Cultural Center debuted its first-ever public art installation in the City of West Hollywood – WEHO TIMES

    As part of a public art movement, these works are now on view at the City of West Hollywood’s Plummer Park, which is located on the east side of the City of West Hollywood, an area with a thriving community of immigrants, many of whom are Russian-speaking and Jewish. The artworks are meant to evoke large tzedakah boxes — vessels in which Jews traditionally collect money to be donated to charity. The goal of Be the Change is to elevate this concept physically and conceptually, and to use the tzedakah box as a sculptural form that can drive change in the community.

    The commitment to pursue justice is one of the essential Jewish values that animates all of the Skirball’s programming. Connecting with J Arts to bring Be the Change to Southern California has allowed the Skirball to put this value into action. Be the Change deepens relationships with community organizations throughout Los Angeles, underscores the contribution of artists to the collective understanding of complex social justice issues, and enhances the City of West Hollywood’s and the Skirball’s efforts to engage a broad public audience.

    The Skirball Cultural Center debuted its first-ever public art installation in the City of West Hollywood – WEHO TIMES

    In a moment of rising anti semitism and hate crimes occurring nationwide, Be the Change is a unique opportunity to come together around challenging issues in beautiful, creative, and welcoming ways.

    In conjunction with the public art installation, the Skirball and its partners will host a community celebration and, later, a panel discussion to further explore social justice issues represented by the six tzedakah boxes created for Be the Change. The panel discussion will include partner organizations, artists, and other experts. Additional information will be provided on the Skirball’s website at www.skirball.org/museum/be-change-jewishly-inspired-public-art-movement as it becomes available.

    Be the Change: A Jewishly Inspired Public Art Movement and its related programs at the Skirball Cultural Center are made possible by generous support from Marcie and Cliff Goldstein. Be the Change is the brainchild of Boston-based Jewish Arts Collaborative, which serves as lead producer. In addition to Boston and now Los Angeles/West Hollywood, Be the Change has also been on view in Cincinnati, with more cities on the way.

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