Asylum Arts, in collaboration with Repair the World presented Visions: Jewish, Art & Social Change Retreat from July 29 – August 1, 2018 in Detroit. During this intensive four-day training, twenty-six emerging artists from throughout the United States explored social justice engagement through a Jewish lens, as well as learned from artists and activists in the Detroit community. Our programming included master artists, site visits, community building, and the grounding of social justice work in Jewish wisdom and values. Additionally, each artist shared their creative work with our group.
This retreat was a way to empower a cadre of Jewishly-identified artists to engage with the larger social justice context and communities in need. Our mission was to create a self-identified group of Jewish artists who have a commitment to the field of socially-engaged art and have a community of practice that engages with their own identity.
At this moment in time, the voices of artists are especially important. While Jews have been involved in shaping the landscape of social justice and progressive change in many communities, the nature of creating social justice partnerships today can be complex. With this retreat, we wanted to empower the Jewish artist community to become a crucial part of working to communicate across difference, build healthy communities, and transform conversations.
Logistics and Program
We stayed in Midtown Detroit with our home base at the Repair the World workshop in Southwest Detroit. Artists travelled to different locations within Detroit to learn from local artist-leaders impacting communities over the past decades, the Jewish community, and to listen and learn with art and justice-based organizations. In our program we aimed to establish an environment dedicated to listening, building and engaging with our whole selves. In our retreat, we encouraged participants to build meaningful relationships to foster connections and collaboration, to benefit the Detroit ecosystem and the local communities of the participants.
Following the retreat, we will be offering seed funding for projects in participants’ local communities that grow out of our work together.