Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council


Rimon (ri-MṐN) 1. Hebrew for pomegranate 2. Ancient symbol of fruitfulness and abundant good deeds 3. The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council founded in 1995.

Artist Salons

Rimon’s Artist Salon series presented I Once Was a Boy: On the Edge with poet Anna Margolin, this free Zoom event took place on May 13, 7 pm. The salon featured the world premiere of newly commissioned songs by acclaimed composer/performer Anat Spiegel, inspired by the extraordinary poems of the late Yiddish writer, Anna Margolin. Vocalist Sarah Larsson joined Anat in conversation about the power of Yiddish and poetry and their passage into music. The commission is the first in a series funded by the BrinIngber Salon Commission program.

Watch the Salon recording here

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Anat Spiegel is a composer and vocalist specializing in cross-platform performance. Her work stems from a vocal perspective and focuses on the endless expressions of the human voice. In the juxtaposition of jazz, theater, and contemporary classical music, Spiegel’s compositions consider the cultural gravity of songs and the connection between written language and its sounding expression. Spiegel is a member of the composer’s collective Monotak and the spoken word duo Noon and Ain. Her recent works include the opera Medulla (La Monnaie), the electronic opera Before Present (National Dutch Opera and ADE), the online opera The Transmigration of Morton F (Holland Festival), and the chamber quartet My Four Mothers (Cedar Commissions).

Sarah Larsson hosts the podcast Folk Will Save Us, a project highlighting the radical ways artists use cultural traditions to transform society. She also performs as a vocalist with The Nightingale Trio and has studied music from women’s traditions with master artists in Europe and the US, including Bojana Djordjevic, Sanja Rankovic, Vahidin Omanovic, Susan Gaeta, Ethel Raim, Lisa Gutkin, and Eva Salina. Sarah leads singing circles and workshops on Eastern European singing traditions, including presentations at Stanford University, University of Virginia, Folklore Village (WI), and in the community in the Twin Cities. Sarah is actively studying Yiddish and sings music from her roots as a way to deepen the conversation about heritage, migration, and identity.

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Watch videos from past Salon seasons

A Century of The Dybbuk: 1920/2020 with Eddie Estrin and Jenna Zark, moderated by Mark Meister. Thursday, August 27,  2020 7 p.m.

A Century of The Dybbuk Video

Rimon celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first performance of S. Ansky’s seminal play The Dybbuk with a virtual Artist Salon. A Century of The Dybbuk: 1920/2020 featured commissioned new work by musician Eddie Estrin and playwright Jenna Zark. The Dybbuk, created as a result of Ansky’s ethnographic tour of pre-revolutionary Jewish villages in the Russian empire, has inspired an astonishing range of artistic response ever since. Mark Meister, the new Executive Director of The Museum of Russian Art, moderated the discussion.

 


At It Again: The Need to Perform Philip Roth with Stuart Pimsler,  moderated by Hayley Finn.  January 22, 2017.

At It Again Highlights

Stuart Pimsler presented “At It Again: The Need to Perform Philip Roth”,  an homage to a legendary Jewish-American author at a 2017 Rimon Artist Salon. Constructed as a conversation with Roth, Pimsler explains his own complicated attraction to the late author’s work while commenting on Roth’s controversial place in American culture.

 


 

Listen to the Voices: Immigrant Stories with Sergio Barer,  moderated by Adam Wernick.  July 28, 2020 7 p.m.

Listen to the Voices Video

How does an artist respond to the surge of anti-immigrant sentiment? Mexican-born composer Sergio Barer has created a suite of choral pieces inspired by conversations he’s had with dozens of local immigrants. Composer Adam Wernick joined Sergio in conversation on the power of music to lift up marginalized voices and to build bridges of understanding.

 


Handed Down withRobyn Awend, Beth Barron,  and Rachel Breen. February, 16, 2020, at the Textile Center, Minneapolis

Handed Down Video

Visual artists Robyn Awend, Beth Barron, and Rachel Breen unpack ideas of lineage, tradition, and the work of our hands by breathing new life into salvaged scraps, antique textiles, and reclaimed images that have been handed down to them. 

 


 

I Sing for Bathsheba: Looking for God in Drag with Max Brumberg-Kraus, moderated by Noam Sienna. November 24, 2019 at Studio Z, St. Paul

I Sing for Bathsheba Video

Theater artist Max Yeshaye Brumberg-Kraus explored the intersection of drag performance and texts from the Bible—especially the voices of women as written by men. Noam Sienna joined Max in a conversation that lifts up the marginalized voices in our midst.

 


 

To the adventuring artist and art lover, Respons-a! was a performance “experiment” like none other. One curator/ two married couples / four artists: Katya Oicherman, Boris Oicherman, Pedram Baldari, and Nooshin Hakim Javadi, sat in the round and sought out the questions each of us cares about in our professional and private personae. With Palestinian olives, wine, and question-cards it was a journey of exploration and process.

Respons-a! Video


 

In the creative and cozy paper studio, Aaron Silver spoke about getting in the “zen” zone and working extremely slowly and carefully. Moderator Freya Richman encouraged Aaron to explain his precise process using layers in PhotoShop, and guests were delighted to see stop-motion videos and close-up clips of him wielding the knife’s edge. The Salon concluded with the presentation of Aaron’s commissioned #papercut piece. He was given free artistic reign with the encouraged inspiration of #SocialJustice. He took a #Yiddish #prayer from Rosh Hashana asking to liberate all imprisoned. The SOLD OUT Cutting Out Injustice: Revolution in Jewish Papercuts Salon was a great success.
Cutting Out Injustice Video


 

On a frigid Sunday afternoon in January, at the sunny Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis, Eli Libson, video game designer, cartoonist, and illustrator and artist Marty Harris joined in conversation about the rich history of Jewish illustrators and the use of guile as part of the cultural outsider’s toolkit at High-Brow/Low-Brow: An Illustrator Looks Askance at Art. Who gets to decide what is art?
High-Brow/Low-Brow Video


 

The Trail Forward, a work-in-progress by composer and multi-instrumentalist Lisa Gutkin, tells the story of growing up with 85 lefty, Jewish, outdoor-loving, garment worker grandparents. Rabbi Arielle Lekach-Rosenberg joined Lisa in conversation about making change through collective action and the power of music to ignite it.
The Trail Forward Video


The Rimon Artist Salon-Turn It and Turn It Again: Text as Power in Judaism & Slam Poetry-was one of the outstanding Salons from the last several years.  Performance poet Talia Young writes thrillingly at the intersection of Jewish identity, history, and social change. If you didn’t see it when it was presented in 2018 at Studio Z, get a taste of Talia’s passionate style of performance and her charged conversation with Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman

Turn It and Turn It Again Video

 


Tap into the high-energy performance of Rimon’s 2017 Artist Salon BREAKING FREE, featuring Lisa “MonaLisa” Berman and the dancers of BRKFST. Dance innovator Lisa “MonaLisa” Berman and her break dance-inspired company BRKFST delivered an electric surge to the Tek Box and Rimon’s Artist Salon Series. Singer-songwriter Adam Levy joined BRKFST onstage in a conversation on cultural identity and urban art forms.

BREAKING FREE Video

 


Sun Mee Chomet is one of the busiest theater artists in town. If you ever go to the theater, you’ve probably seen her at the Guthrie, at Mu, or at 10,000 Things. One of our earliest salons featured her as an actor and playwright in “Asian & Jewish.” Sun Mee also received a Norman Ackerberg Travel Study grant through Rimon that sent her to Vienna. Her research in Austria gave rise to a play-in-progress which Rimon featured in another salon in 2014, Writing Backwards: Finding Meaning in a Family’s Past.

Writing Backwards Video


The Sacred Arts Festival at the University of St. Thomas presented a virtual artist salon, Meditation on Visual Prayer, on March 18, 7 p.m. The online exhibition Visual Prayer drew together the artistic and spiritual practice of the Interfaith Artist Circle, nineteen Twin Cities-based artists who understand and experience prayer through multiple paths. Their work reinforces the deep connection between art, healing, and spirituality at a moment when our community faces multiple crises. Theology Professor Corri Carvalho engaged three of the artists, Renanah Halpern, Hend Al-Mansour, and Beth Andrews, in a conversation exploring the roots and impact of their work.

Co-sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interreligious Studies at the University of St. Thomas, the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning at Saint John’s University, the University of Minnesota Libraries, and Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council.

Meditation on Visual Prayer Video


Sold-out in 2015, you can relish the wit and insight of Transcontinental Express: New Jewish American Fiction in the video below. Writers Boris Fishman and Marina Rubin brought high spirits and an immigrant’s eye to their conversation on how Jewish emigres have made sense of the American landscape, looking at the absurdities and disjunctions of a transplanted life.

Transcontinental Express Video


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