Six Points Jewish Arts Fellowship Closes With No Renewal of Federation Grant

Innovative New York Program Dies as Funding Dries Up

Avant Garde: Innovative arts programs like Ofri Cnaani’s Sota Project were made possible by the 6 Points Fellowship.
ofri cnaani
Avant Garde: Innovative arts programs like Ofri Cnaani’s Sota Project were made possible by the 6 Points Fellowship.

By Ezra Glinter

Published May 24, 2013, issue of June 07, 2013.
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“It was definitely among the most transformative grants and the most support I’ve ever received as an artist,” said musician and Six Points Fellow Alicia Jo Rabins. “It’s rare to be part of such a great interdisciplinary community of serious artists who have such diverse bodies of work.”

Rabins, a Six Points fellow from 2010 to 2012, used her fellowship to create “an experimental rock opera” called “A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff” that was produced in November 2012 at Joe’s Pub, a performance venue in Manhattan.

“It enabled me to take this huge risk with my career, to do more of a theater project,” Rabins said. “It was the kind of thing that I knew there was no way I could do it without major support. It was a real artistic risk and required resources that I didn’t have.”

Other Six Point fellows have included musician Jeremiah Lockwood (who was also a Forward artist-in-residence) who used the fellowship to create his neo-cantorial album “Secret Melodies Revealed” and multi-media artist Ofri Cnaani, who created “The Sota Project,” a Forward top-five exhibit of 2011. Guber also pointed to “The Untitled Blood Play” by Hannah Bos, which has been produced in cities around the U.S., as another example of the fellowship’s impact.

“It’s really unfortunate because the Jewish world thrashes around looking for what they can do that’s right, and this is really right and it really does work,” said Elise Bernhardt, President and CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Culture. “It’s been evaluated nine ways from Sunday, and it’s transformed a lot of lives.”

The Six Points Fellowship was started in 2006 as a partnership between the Foundation for Jewish Culture, JDub Records and Avoda Arts, an organization that promotes Jewish education through the arts. It was funded by a $948,300 grant from the UJA-Federation of New York through its Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal (COJIR), and has received a total of $1,695,297 from the UJA-Federation since 2006.

Goldfein, a planning executive for COJIR, stressed that the decision not to offer Six Points new funding is not a reflection of its performance.

“Six Points has made an incredible impact on the field here,” she said. “In terms of the arts, they were really innovators. It not just engaged young adults, but it also shook up the Jewish arts space in really creative ways.”


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