Thursday, March 12, 2015

Capturing Faith

3/10/2015. Joint Lab by Robyn Awend, MPLS Artists’ Lab Coordinator

We welcomed visiting artist Jon Adam Ross to our joint Lab on Tuesday night, a renowned performing artist from New York. Jon recently received on a Covenant Foundation signature grant to support his new artistic initiative, the Inheiritance Project. The Covenant Foundation also funds the Regional Jewish Artists’ Laboratory of the Upper Midwest. The essence of this project is to create a series of five performances in five different cities, inspired by the matriarchs and patriarchs of Genesis, that engages Jewish communities around the country at every stage of the process. Minneapolis/St. Paul was chosen to be the first host community for this national project!

Jon began the Lab with an introduction to his project and to the patriarch Abraham that would inspire our evening and serve as the catalyst for his performance this fall. Jon’s infectious enthusiasm permeated the room as he shared with us the details of his project, its many ambitious moving parts, and the important role that the Artists’ Lab would play in the creative process.

We were introduced to Miranda July’s website, Learning to Love You More, and Yoko Ono’s book, Grapefruit, each filled with unusual, creative and interactive assignments open to any and all.For example, assignment #18 on the Learning to Love You More website invites people to recreate a poster from your teenage years and post it. This is just one of several dozen suggested interactive assignments.

You could hear the creative gears churning as we sifted through these various assignments, excited to apply this inspiration to a similar website being created as part of the Inheiritance Project to engage the larger community in interactive experiences leading up to Jon’s performance in the fall. Jon shared with us some of the key themes that emerged from various prior study sessions and conversations with others in the community surrounding the story of Abraham – hospitality, history repeating itself, joining, etc. We broke up into small groups, explored one topic at a time and brainstormed practical, bizarre, humorous and sensitive assignments relating to each topic.

Some of the highlights that were shared in our large group discussion included:

o Spend two hours decorating a helium balloon and then let it go.
o Keep a journal of all of the lies you tell to avoid confrontation
o Create a map without a journey
o Photograph or artistically capture “faith”

Jon was accompanied by his wonderful traveling crew; Director - Chantal, David - Photographer, Glenn - Publicist/writer, and Ilana – filmmaker, each of whom added something special to our evening.

Jon will be in the Twin Cities through March 19 engaging over 700 people, dozens of demographics and exploring a variety of media. This project concludes with a premier performance the weekend of September 9th, 2015.

The Inheiritance Project is made possible through a grant from the Covenant Foundation and the support of FJC: AFoundation of Philanthropic Funds.

To learn more about the Inheiritance Project,

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