The American Guild of Judaic Art, formed 25 years ago by a small group of New York artists and those committed to Judaic art, has designated March as Jewish Arts Month to correspond with the reading of the Torah story of artisan Bezelal’s leadership in the construction of tabernacle.
“Along with music, theater, literature and poetry, visual art is a large and traditional part of Jewish culture,” guild board member and Decatur resident Flora Rosefsky said. “Together, all forms of Jewish art enrich the lives of the Jewish community and beyond. They create a legacy for future generations.”
Besides Rosefsky, a needlework designer and mixed-media collage artist, working AGJA artists in the metro area include Susan Big of Sandy Springs, a needlework artist and art quilter; Ellen Filreis of Atlanta, who creates storytelling 3D sculptures; Barbara Fisher of Atlanta, who makes applique Torah covers and other Judaic needlework; Meg Fisher of East Cobb, who repurposes and personalizes tallises; Lynette Joel of Sandy Springs, a painter, art quilter and machine embroiderer; and Miriam Karp of Atlanta, a ketubbah artist and calligrapher.
The guild’s passion is hiddur mitzvot — art that beautifies Jewish rituals and celebrations. The group includes calligraphers, woodworkers, jewelers, sculptors, painters, illustrators, glass artists, ceramicists, metalworkers, paper cutters, mixed-media artists and more.
The guild encourages Jewish institutions to make visual art an integral part of their outreach to members. Synagogues and community centers can designate a room or create a gallery to display seasonal exhibitions. They can arrange for visiting artists to present art programs or create longer artist-in-residence programs.
More information about the American Guild of Judaic Art is available at www.jewishart.org. The website includes an online exhibition and a teaching artist resource directory. In celebration of the 25th anniversary, the guild is offering 18 months of membership for the cost of 12 months for any new member.
Locally, Jewish artists can join the Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework — Peach State Stitchers.