Friday, December 4, 2009

Cultural Heritage Artists Project: Alan Falk

Three questions for CHAP artist Alan Falk.

How did you find out about the Orchard Street Shul project and what motivated you to participate?

I initially got involved in the Shul's restoration project. As a designer (my day job), I was invited to develop and create materials for marketing the Shul's fundraising appeal. Having worked in the New Haven Jewish community and producing a series of posters for the New Haven Jewish Historical Society celebrating the contribution of Jews in New Haven during the 350th anniversary of Jews in America, I was extremely familiar with the history of the synagogue, neighborhood and congregation. During my conversations with the Shul Board, I met Roslyn Croog, a participant in the CHAP project and a member of the board. She told me about the artist's project and I expressed my interest in participating. She contacted Cynthia Beth Rubin and the Artist's Committee, and I was invited to participate in the project.

How does this work fit into the context of your other art work?

My work is immersed in Jewish issues and topics, so the subject matter came to me easily. As soon as I entered the Synagogue's sanctuary, I pretty much knew how I would approach the project.

How important are artist networks such as CHAP for you and where do you see this project going after the exhibition in New Haven ends?

Having chosen to work, until recently, in relative isolation, my experience of engaging with other artists has been limited for quite a number of years. However, I have come to realize how important these networks are. I recently became involved with the New York-based Jewish Arts Salon and have had opportunities to meet and engage in dialogue with artists of similar sentiment. I have come to understand how this form of exchange - ideas, philosophies, experiences, etc., is so vital to development and growth. The CHAP concept is very appealing, because it goes a step further, involving artists in a form social/community action, and I am delighted to be a part of this venture. I am very much in favor of the idea of developing more cooperative projects, involving artists contributing to a team effort, as opposed to just individual contributions.

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