Art Against Antisemitism: Why I Chose to Make an Impact With My Art
Lisa Link is founder of “Art Against Antisemitism.”
Flashback to my first college dance, when a guy, after much questioning, discovered I was Jewish and proceeded to yell at me on the dance floor, blaming me loudly and personally for the entire Middle East conflict. If only I had that much power! Why all the Jew-hatred? And how could I respond without escalating the situation?
These questions have been buried in the back of my mind ever since, but, until recently, they were not really a theme in my art. That began to change in 2018.
I used to live in Pittsburgh where I worked as a teaching artist at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (MCG). Even after moving to Boston, I kept in touch with colleagues (shout out to all the fabulous MCG teaching artists!) and continued to collaborate on projects. Then, the unthinkable – October 27, 2018, the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue. How to react?
I connected with Amy Solomon, and together, we organized a community art-making initiative to honor the victims and raise money to donate to the synagogue. We hosted two events, one at Amy’s gallery in Brookline and a second showing at a gallery in Boston, courtesy of Emily Mogavero. We engaged Lola Baltzel, Rachel Bird, Resa Blatman, Stacey Cushner, Sarah Georgakopolous, Martha Friedman, Mary Jane O’Connel, and Steven Solomon to craft luminaries out of mason jars. We also bought paper luminary kits for people to come in and decorate. Our goal was to use art to shine a light in the darkness, literally and figuratively, at that challenging time.
As part of my luminary design, I listed in small type antisemitic attacks targeting Jews in the United States by date since the 19th century. The research inspired me to develop this theme into larger print pieces. As an artist, I felt isolated pursuing this new direction. Then, by chance, I found the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) website. I entered the Emma Lazarus Art competition and was very humbled to receive an award. I was overwhelmed to learn that there was an organization validating the visions of all kinds of artists who were concerned about rising antisemitism. I used the award to purchase the domain “Art Against Antisemitism,” build a small website, start creating new pieces for social media, and establish this project.
Throughout this process, I found the webinars that CAM co-sponsored inspiring, particularly “Fighting Anti-Semitism and Racism Together.” I loved reading about the CAM street mural project. My sense of isolation dissipated. I am so grateful for CAM’s work and want to provide a platform for other artists who are looking for a place to explore or respond to antisemitism through art.
Art Against Antisemitism is a robust community that regularly features its own art, invites artists of all backgrounds to contribute theirs, and inspires viewers to learn about antisemitism in a way that feels personal, meaningful, and impactful.
If you’d like to participate in the project, please visit art.combatantisemitism.org for more details.