The Twin Cities’ Jewish Art Hub: Rimon

This is a guest post by Matt Levitt.

Did you know that there was a local Jewish Arts Council, cultivating Jewish arts from theatre to photography, music to sculpture, and dance to writing?  Well there is. It is called “Rimon” and the 3rd season of its Artist Salon Series opens this Sunday, November 15th, in conjunction with the Twin Cities Jewish Book Fair at the St. Paul JCC.

What is Rimon?

Rimon, an initiative of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, promotes and enhances Jewish identity through arts and culture, supports arts and artists who broadly explore Jewish themes, and assists the greater Jewish community in developing a collaborative involvement with the arts. Rimon also provides community grants to qualified local projects and an artist travel grant. One of the great free services that Rimon provides is their monthly Jewish arts e-Guide, an electronic publication that highlights events and opportunities in the local Jewish arts community. See the current e-Guide and sign up to receive it each month in your inbox.

By the way, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m a Rimon Board member, but I wouldn’t get involved with an organization that wasn’t doing exciting Jewish things and Rimon is no exception.

The Rimon press release about the Artist Salon Series states:

If you are an arts enthusiast, you won’t want to miss the third season of this cutting-edge series of interactive dialogues which delves into important and provocative issues facing our society and examines the critical role the arts play in understanding our world.

I posed the question to Rimon’s Executive Director, David Jordan Harris, “Why would young Jews be interested in Rimon’s salons?”

“Because they provide an opportunity for audiences to have up-close conversation with artists and critical thinkers who are tackling ideas that help us make sense of the world we live in,” Harris replied. “The salons are designed to encourage conversation. The best ideas in the room usually sit in the audience.” Having attended past salons, I would agree.

The first Rimon Artist Salon of the season presents the topic: Theater during the Holocaust: Parable or Diversion? It’s on Sunday, November 15, at 1:00pm and will take place at the St. Paul JCC (1375 St. Paul Ave., St Paul). The featured artist is Ela Stein Weisberger, along with the book, The Girls of Room 28: Friendship, Hope, and Survival in Theresienstadt, by Hannelore Brenner. Read a wonderful conversation with Ela here.

Ela Weissberger was just a girl when she was held in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. For her, and many others, the art, music, and theater created inside the camp walls were as indispensible as food and shelter to survival. Michael Lupu, senior dramaturge at the Guthrie Theater, moderates this round table forum on the importance of the Arts in society. The program is produced in collaboration with the Twin Cities Jewish Book Fair and the Center For Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota.

The series will conclude on May 9th, 2010, with singer/songwriter Elisa Korenne, in an event entitled: On the Road: Urban Jews in Rural Places. Elisa, who is based in New York Mills, Minnesota, has collected fascinating stories of transplanted Jews living in the prairie without a big city in sight and has crafted poignant, entertaining songs out of their experiences. This past spring she was one of three artists to receive a Project Support Grant from Rimon.

For more information about Rimon or the 2009-10 Artists Salon Series, contact David Jordan Harris, Rimon Executive Director at 952-381-3449 or [email protected].

(FYI: TC Jewfolk now has an Associates account which gives us 4-10%  of a sale if you purchase The Girls of Room 28 Noshin: Meet the Authors of Jewish Cooking Boot Camp by clicking on the links in this article. We appreciate your support.)