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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 10:44 pm | Fair 49º


Art at JCC Presents Journeys to Light and Peace: Portraits of Survival

Art at the JCC will host a 1st Thursday reception, 5-8 p.m. Nov. 2, for Journeys to Light and Peace, an exhibit and benefit for Portraits of Survival: Life Journeys During the Holocaust and Beyond.

Barbara Fabian’s photograph Summer of 2017 Going into Fall. Click to view larger
Barbara Fabian’s photograph Summer of 2017 Going into Fall. (Barbara Fabian)

The exhibit runs through December at the Jewish Federation’s Bronfman Family Jewish Community Center, 524 Chapala St.

The reception will include remarks from Lynn M. Holley, resident curator, and other guests and artists of the evening. Visitors also can enjoy appetizers, wine, and entertainment from local classical pianist Bryan Tari.

Art at the JCC is able to offer this exhibit to the public with the generosity of the Squire Foundation.

This poignant exhibit celebrates the lives of Holocaust survivors and refugees, with a fresh, artistic approach on life, hope and renewal, rather than focus on the death, destruction and exile, which many experienced.

The show features artwork of the late Sofia Guttentag-Davidson, from the Pankowsky Collection, presented by the Goldrich Family Foundation.

Guttentag-Davidson's art exemplifies life with her Jewish family before, during and after the Holocaust, as she found a new life in Mexico, after living in war-torn Poland. These works bring her family’s history and her legacy to life after a harrowing story of survival.

The show includes significant and extensive work by local artist and refugee Freddy Caston on his journey and life in Spain and beyond.

There are also the paintings and hand-painted tiles from the collection of the late Evelyn (Cava) Gerlach; and sketches and paintings of the late Suzanne B. Mendelson, who at age 75 walked in the Great Peace March of 1986 across America for nuclear disarmament.

Mendelson, a daughter of an early refugee, sketched along the way of her nine-month odyssey for peace.

Complimenting these collections are the works of local Holocaust survivors and notable artists: Margaret Singer, Maria Segal, Edith Ostern, Erika Kahn and Ralph Baxter.

These individuals offer their legacies of endurance and hope; the lessons from their lives teach us about the power of the human spirit in the face of unthinkable evil.

A number of these local survivors have been lifelong professional artists, while others have been art educators, or found their creative talents later in life. Collectively, their works offer insight into the experience of living through one of the darkest chapters in human history.

Another event, a Commemoration of Kristallnacht, will be held 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, in the JCC's main gallery. The public is invited to participate in this free event, and tour the art exhibit.

Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass), took place on Nov. 9, 1938, and was the first case of organized violence throughout the German Reich against the Jews — and the true beginning of the terrible dark night of the Holocaust which was to come.

As the world moves into the 70th anniversary year of this horrible chapter in human history, we stand together as a community which will pledge to never forget, but will also move forward with light and beauty, with survival and with hope.

As it does every year, the Jewish Federation will honor its cherished survivor community of friends, and mourn those in this group who we have lost this year.

The federation has dedicated itself to keeping their stories alive, as it will be filming and preserving the last of their stories this year for a permanent archive to keep here for generations.

Proceeds of all sales from the art exhibit will benefit the Portraits of Survival/Upstanders Exhibits and Programs: Courage in the Face of Evil Permanent Exhibits and Educational Programs. This permanent installation has had more than 20,000 visitors since its inception in November 2003.

For more information, visit https://jewishsantabarbara.org/art-at-the-jcc or call 957-1115.

— Julia Solomon for Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara.


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