If you live in Chicago, be sure to check out the exhibit A Force for Change: African American Art and the Julius Rosenwald Fund, on display at The Spertus Museum through August 16th.
The exhibit, and accompanying book (by the same name), explore the role of the Julius Rosenwald Fund in the field of African American art. The exhibit and book examine both the Fund and the funded artists.
In Rhoda Rosen’s Foreword to the book, she explains:
As an exhibition of African American art from the 1920s to ’40s, it may seem, at first glance, an unusual subject for a Jewish museum. Yet, the artists we include were supported at a crucial time in their careers, and when support for African American artists was rare, by the Julius Rosenwald Fund, a foundation established by one of the most important Jewish entrepreneurs and philanthropists in Chicago, indeed in the United States…His commitment to philanthropy is connected to Jewish principles and especially to the teachings of his rabbi, Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch…The exhibition and publication provide a much-needed examination of an under-represented period in American art and an opportunity to examine the initiatives and the legacy of Julius Rosenwald.
The title includes essays, a “Who’s Who of African American artists” of the first half of the 20th century, as well as images of the paintings and photographs produced by these artists. An important addition to the field of art history, African American history, and Jewish American history.
Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Naomi is the executive director of Jewish Book Council. She graduated from Emory University with degrees in English and Art History and, in addition, studied at University College London. Prior to her role as executive director, Naomi served as the founding editor of the JBC website and blog and managing editor of Jewish Book World. In addition, she has overseen JBC’s digital initiatives, and also developed the JBC’s Visiting Scribe series and Unpacking the Book: Jewish Writers in Conversation.