Over the past 8 years, Asylum Arts has built a community of nearly 700 artists, bringing diverse voices together to shape the future of Jewish culture. We have had the honor of working deeply with trusted colleagues and organizations throughout the world, and learning from the specificity of each location. Each artist in the network has brought their own perspective and creative work to build community and weave the larger picture of Jewish art. At our core has been a belief in the power of the voices of artists to illuminate our contemporary experience, wherever our home may be. Most often, our staff has been sitting in Brooklyn, viewing our work through that particular viewpoint while looking out towards the larger world.
We are pleased to announce that the next chapter for Asylum Arts will include an actual home in Brooklyn. Asylum Arts Founder and Director Rebecca Guber will be taking on the Founding Director role for The Neighborhood: An Urban Center for Jewish Life. The Neighborhood envisions a new model of Jewish community and cultural space that is creative, collaborative, and truly site-specific – a physical gathering place for local Jewish groups and organizations that don’t have their own space, for those that are seeking to expand their reach and for cross-community collaborations. A search for a permanent home is currently underway. In the meantime, it will deliver pop-up programming across Central and Northern Brooklyn. Under Rebecca’s leadership, Asylum Arts will be integrated into The Neighborhood as its key arts programming pillar.
The Neighborhood: An Urban Center for Jewish Life emerged from a community-wide visioning process in which a large, diverse group of Jewish Brooklynites identified a need for a pluralistic, flexible, multi-use Jewish gathering space. A thorough space assessment confirmed the absence of, and need for, this kind of infrastructure as a complement to what already exists in Central and Northern Brooklyn. The Neighborhood is moving this widely-held vision toward reality, led by Founding Board Members Marcella Kanfer Rolnick, JJ Berney and Philippe Visser, as well as a growing group of enthusiastic community members who are serving as Community Advisors. The effort is being kicked off with private donations and an initial grant from UJA-Federation of New York. The Neighborhood plans to partner with and represent Central and Northern Jewish Brooklyn’s community and all of its constituent groups, organizations, institutions and community members at large—to bring us together and continue to build a thriving community. Also creating their own events that reflect the spirit of Brooklyn—future-thinking and deeply historical, iconoclastic and sacred—to fill gaps, particularly for those who have not yet found their Jewish “home.”
Asylum Arts and The Neighborhood share a love of and commitment to the arts as a critical component and expression of Jewish life and believe that that integration offers an exciting next chapter for Asylum Arts and The Neighborhood alike. This integration will provide a broader platform for Asylum Arts artists within a boundary-pushing, contemporary Jewish cultural context and an opportunity for The Neighborhood to offer cultural programs and experiences core to its vision.
We hope that for those who live in Brooklyn, you will be deeply engaged in our co-creation, this new community center will have artists and creativity at its core, and will be an inclusive and diverse gathering space to fulfill other interests and needs. And for those who live a bit farther, please consider The Neighborhood your home-away-from-home. As you know, Brooklyn is both local and global, and The Neighborhood will be part of that dialogue.
We will keep you updated throughout this transition to keep you updated on the development of our programming and activities. We deeply value our network and the relationships and community you have all created with us.
With deep gratitude,
Rebecca Guber, Founder and Director, Asylum Arts