The JAS at the Association of Jewish Studies Conference

The Jewish Art Salon will present at the Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Studies in San Diego, CA.

The conference takes place December 15-17, 2019.

Our panel is a great opportunity to introduce the Jewish academic community to contemporary Jewish Art.

Contemporary Jewish Art Organizations: A New Dynamic

Tuesday December 17, 3:15 – 4:45pm

Photos of the panel; click on thumbnails to enlarge:


Matthew Baigell stated in a lecture in the Jewish Museum in New York in March, 2011 that “we are living in a golden age of Jewish American art.” His perceptive words continue to resonate with hundreds of American Jewish artists who create and exhibit Jewish-themed artwork.  Significantly they have banded together to organize a vibrant contemporary Jewish Art culture quietly unfolding in the last decade.  

This panel examines this new collective phenomenon of three major organizations have emerged to provide a public face to this Jewish Visual Renaissance. The Jewish Artists Initiative, based in Los Angeles, was founded in 2004 by Ruth Weisberg and currently has 125 members.  

In New York, the Jewish Art Salon, created in 2008 by Yona Verwer, is more loosely organized, and has approximately 300 artists in three categories internationally, mainly in the United States as well as Israel. 

The organizations are totally independent and very different in scope and focus.  Nonetheless they share a fundamental belief that Jewish visual art is a growing movement that needs a forum and organizational support to thrive. Significantly the Conney Conference on Jewish Arts (The Conney Project, University of Wisconsin) has recently provided a much needed platform for formal interaction between the two organizations.  Since 2007 The Conney Project has encouraged new narratives of Jewish identity in all the arts, featuring biennial conferences with special emphasis on the dance and visual arts.  Most recently the Conney Project hosted significant participation of both the Jewish Artists Initiative and the Jewish Art Salon in their Conference in March 2019 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.


Ruth Weisberg
Jewish Artists Initiative
Yona Verwer
Jewish Art Salon
Douglas Rosenberg
Conney Conference of Jewish Arts


Joel Silverstein
Jewish Art Salon


Richard McBee

The panel will explore the distinct dynamic of each organization, their interactions as well as the plans for continued cultural collaborations.  The reassertion of Jewish visual culture in the rapidly changing Jewish arts will be assessed, as well as the role of communal organizations interacting with traditional single practitioner visual artists. 


Ruth Weisberg, artist, Professor of Fine Arts and former Dean at the USC Roski School, is currently the Director of the USC Initiative for Israeli Arts and Humanities, and the founder and President of the Jewish Artists Initiative of Southern California. She received the Printmaker Emeritus Award from the Southern Graphic Council International in 2015 and the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s 50th Anniversary Cultural Achievement Award in 2011. Her work is in sixty major Museum collections; she is represented by Jack Rutberg Fine Arts.

Yona Verwer, artist is the co-founder and director of the Jewish Art Salon. Her interactive multi-media artworks have been exhibited at the Jerusalem Biennale, Yeshiva University Museum, Andy Warhol Factory, Ein Harod Museum. She has been published in 4 languages, including in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Art Criticism, Ars Judaica, The Huffington Post and in Ori Soltes’ Tradition and Transformation: Three Millennia of Jewish Art and Architecture. She produced and/or curated over 30 exhibitions and 40 art events globally.

Artist/ critic Joel Silverstein has shown at the Van Leer Institute, The Mishkan Le’Omanut Museum, The Bronfman Center, the Derfner Museum of Judaica, the Amstelkerk Gallery in Holland and the Jerusalem Biennial, 2015 and 17. He is a Founding Member of the Jewish Art Salon and has curated eight Salon exhibitions including: Through Compassionate Eyes; Artists Call for Animal Rights, POW!!! for and The Dura Europos Project. Recent exhibitions include The Beth Shalom Judaica Museum, Roslyn NY, The Clemente Center, and BEKI. His work and curated exhibitions are cited in Ori Z. Soltes’ Tradition and Transformation; Three Millennium of Jewish Art & Architecture and the upcoming Jewish Identity in American Art, a Golden Age Since the 1970s by Matthew Baigell.

Richard McBee is a painter of Biblical subject matter and writer on Jewish Art. From 2000 until 2014 he wrote about the Jewish Arts for the Jewish Press and continues to exhibit paintings, lecture and curate Jewish art exhibitions.  He is a founding member of the Jewish Art Salon. His website,, exhibits over 300 of his artworks and 250 of his Jewish Art reviews.

Conference info here

One response to “The JAS at the Association of Jewish Studies Conference”

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    Fantastic! Joel