Jewish artists and Jewish wisdom have combined inspirational forces
in "Voices & Visions," a poster art exhibit making its way to Spertus
Institute this month.
An initiative of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation,
Voices & Visions began its quest to communicate Jewish ideas through art by
pairing Jewish graphic design artists with quotes from Jewish luminaries and
classic texts. The result is a collection of 18 posters that will be open to the public at no charge from May 12 through Aug. 11.
director of Voices & Visions, said the project was inspired in part by
feedback Grinspoon had received on his PJ Library program, which circulates
Jewish literature and music to families all over the country.
reaction [to the feedback] was, 'what more can I do for adults to keep Jewish
values in front of them in public spaces?'" Calabrese said.
Calabrese, Grinspoon was inspired by the Container Corporation of America's
various poster series that began in the mid-20th Century that
combined art, words, and text.
Calabrese began to assemble a team that
researched, discussed, and voted on 18 quotes that represented a variety of
time periods, values, and both male and female voices. The quotes range from,
"Man's life depends on the trees of the field" from Deuteronomy to the Susan
Sontag quote, "Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech."
Grinspoon Foundation then hired renowned graphic designer and filmmaker Arnold
Schwartzman to serve as the project's creative director. He recruited 18
respected artists to design the posters using the quotes and their values as
Calabrese's personal favorite is the Tom Geismar poster
inspired by the Baal Shem Tov quote, "from every human being there rises a
light." She says its color and message convey the purpose of the project.
"The concept speaks to the Voices & Visions idea that every voice and
every vision is important," Calabrese said. "An individual's journey through
life is discovering their own light, their own strength; I think our series
represents touching everyone's journey in some way, one that captures how we
want to engage people. Without the people element, the voice and the vision
don't go anywhere."
The posters helped open London's JHub social action
and cultural center early last year, and they were recently on display at the
Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
Spertus Curator of Collection
Ilana Segal said the posters were a clear fit with Spertus' mission and
"[The collection] felt very familiar with the sort of work that we
do: looking at Judaism as something with timeless, enduring messages that are
really relevant to contemporary audiences," Segal said.
part of the appeal of the project was how it reclaims certain universals truths
"I feel like the core of values that have come out of
Judaism, the world has built its structure upon it and yet not necessarily
credited the origin," she said. "I felt this, in a small way, would say 'this
really came out of the Jewish heritage.'"
In addition to formal
exhibits, Voices & Visions have printed several versions of the posters to
make available for Jewish organizations, schools, and individuals. The posters
can be ordered or purchased in two different sizes or in the form of note
cards. Spertus will also make them available through their gift shop.
Segal said she hopes the collection will be just the beginning of a greater
"[The posters] hopefully will spark conversations and
encourage a richer, deeper, engagement," she said. "I think there's a lot here
for all kinds of audiences and I hope people will come in and take advantage of
Voices & Visions is currently in the process of expanding its
website to allow educators to share ways they've used the posters in their
work. There are also new poster series in the works, including a collection
geared toward young adults and a series using the same quotes from the
original, only in Hebrew and interpreted by Israeli artists.
to the exhibit, Spertus, with the Grinspoon Foundation, will host a free
program called "Jewish Graphic Design from the Talmud to Today" on June 23 at 2
p.m. Daniel Belasco, formerly of The Jewish Museum in New York, will discuss
the ways typography and graphic design have been used to innovate in Jewish
life for many centuries. A reception featuring Mr. Grinspoon and poster
designer Art Paul will precede the program starting at 1 p.m.
more information, visit www.spertus.edu/programs-events/voices-and-visions.
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership is a
partner in serving our community, supported by the JUF/Jewish Federation of