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.