In deep preparation for Caron Tabb’s upcoming solo exhibition, “Humanity Is Not A Spectator Sport“, Beacon Gallery has partnered with JArts (Jewish Arts Collaborative) to work together in forming a show that is highly engaging, informed, and connected. This is Beacon Gallery’s second time pairing with JArts and, although both sides (as well as the artists, of course!) have been beyond busy in the weeks leading up to the show’s unveiling, we were lucky to be able to take a moment to check in with them and hear a bit more about all that went into the show’s construction, their collaboration experience, behind-the-scenes insights, and future plans.
Jewish Arts Collaborative
In 2014, Boston-based Jewish cultural leaders came together to explore new ways to elevate Jewish culture. The Jewish Arts Collaborative formed as the result of a merger, combining the staff and leadership of the Boston Jewish Music Festival and the New Center for Arts and Culture, with the support of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, TDC Consultants, and funding from the Boston Foundation Catalyst Fund.
JArts launched publicly in December 2015 with Boston’s first-ever, Jewish public art project: “8 Nights, 8 Windows.” Since then, through a wide range of artistic events and programs, JArts become a valued member of the Greater Boston cultural landscape, garnering national attention and distinguished awards, while reaching thousands of audience members each year.
What was the goal in collaborating with Beacon Gallery for the production of Caron Tabb’s exhibition, and what benefits come from doing so?
“Collaborating with the Beacon Gallery is so on mission for us both – as Beacon seeks to be the home for social justice through art, and as JArts seeks to engage us all in important conversations about values, identity, and belonging though art. JArts does not have a physical space because our vision is to shine a light on Jewish arts and culture through partnerships like this.”
Why is it important to JArts to collaborate with Jewish artists, such as Caron Tabb, in the community and what is the underlying intention in collaborating with other groups, such as Beacon Gallery, in the making of informed and socially-just art exhibitions?
“Artists are crucial as we seek to tell authentic stories of Jewish culture and identify. We believe that sharing their artistic vision, and shining a light on individual artists experiences, is the way to better understanding one another personally and culturally… There is a lot of noise and pain in the world. We have seen the power of artistic collaborations to cut though the noise, connect us on a human level, and help bring more joy to us all. This is the second show we have collaborated on, and it’s been a great partnership. We look forward to cohosting important shows as we both seek to engage our audiences in justice through art.”
Christine O’Donnell is the owner and director of Beacon Gallery, which she opened in Boston, Massachusetts in 2017 after over a decade spent living and working in Paris, Hong Kong, and Singapore. While living abroad, Christine honed her eye for art in museums and galleries and also befriended local artists. With her background in education and the arts, she brings a unique curatorial style and passion for social justice to the shows she curates. Christine also teaches workshops for artists and art enthusiasts through multiple channels including her registered 501(c)3, Beacon Gallery Consulting, SCORE, and the New Art Center.
What was the goal in collaborating with JArts for the production of Caron Tabb’s show, and what benefits come from doing so?
“I was hoping to extend the reach of the show beyond Beacon Gallery’s audience, and I also liked the idea of having additional support and ideas behind me. JArts is an entire organization, whereas I’m just one person. It felt really nice to have so many people come together to support one show. JArts has been incredibly generous with their time, energy and enthusiasm around both of Caron’s show. Executive Director Laura Mandel sets the tone with her positive energy and enthusiasm. I love their willingness to not only support established artists but also cultivate emerging talents.”
How did the idea of collaborating behind the scenes with JArts initially come about when planning for Tabb’s show?
“I actually don’t recall, but I’m going to guess it was Caron’s idea. Caron is an amazing connector. I wasn’t really sure what it would mean to bring a nonprofit into the planning process for her first show, but working together was a great success. I was delighted to have a chance to do it again for Humanity Is Not A Spectator Sport.”
What importance do you see in collaborating with other groups in the making of informed and socially-just art exhibitions, and do you see future work with JArts being a possibility?
“I think it’s really easy for those of us in the arts to feel siloed. Our gallery is essentially filled with only visual arts. However, reaching out to nonprofits and other groups allows me to feel both that the art Beacon Gallery shows serves a purpose beyond ‘art for art’s sake,’ I love opportunities to use exhibitions to educate visitors as well as highlight the hard work of nonprofits (and even fundraise). It feels like a worthwhile use of my physical space. I would love to work with JArts again. I see this as a long-term collaborative partnership, particularly when it comes to supporting Caron Tabb.”
Thank you to both the team at JArts and Christine O’Donnell of Beacon Gallery for taking the time to share! Caron Tabb’s “Humanity Is Not A Spectator Sport” opens November 5th, 2021 and runs through mid-January 2022.
Make sure to check out our Facebook page and website, www.beacongallery.com to read more about the exhibition, the “Be The Change” initiative, “What Now; Making Space” installations, all of the Artist Talks and various events planned, and so much more. Find also the show’s selected readings list, information, and discussion prompts, right here, on Beacon Gallery’s blog. We invite you to join us for the show’s opening reception, Nov. 5th 5-8 pm. Stay tuned for more!
For more information and to keep up with all of the wonderful local arts events that the Jewish Arts Collaborative works with, visit their website www.jartsboston.org and instagram page @jartsboston
To learn more about Beacon Gallery or to connect with us directly, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on instagram @beacongallery