Two members of the CalArts family – one faculty member, one recent graduate – have been awarded the Six Points Fellowship, which supports artists who create new work that explores Jewish ideas and experience.
Tali Tadmor and Yelena Zhelezov are two of only nine recipients in the Los Angeles area for 2011-12. Nine were also named in New York. Recipients receive $40,000 over two years.
Tadmor, a Tel Aviv-born musician who coaches voice students in the Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, received her master’s and doctorate degrees in musical arts from the University of Southern California. She won the fellowship for her project, “Ella Fitzgeraldberg,” a cabaret show exploring the Yiddish swing subculture of the 1930s and ’40s.
The show draws its name from singer Ella Fitzgerald, who “recorded the greatest Yiddish swing hit of all time, ‘Bai Mir Bist Du Sheyn,’” Tadmor writes. The show is told from a flashback perspective: “An actress threads a story through original songs performed by a Yiddish big band ensemble. Recounting the woman’s glamorous days of old, the show examines some of the dilemmas inherent in one of the 20th century’s more interesting eras in Jewish life: the cultural assimilation of pre- and post-war American Jewry.”
Khelezov was born in Polotsk, Belarus, and earned her master’s in fine arts degree in puppetry and integrated media from CalArts. The Belarusian-Israeli artist’s work investigates the body in space and time through installation, video, and puppetry/object performance. Currently serving as an arts commissioner for the city West Hollywood, she teaches children to paint and produces music videos.
Zhelezov received the fellowship for “PED XING,” which is “a series of participatory explorations of pedestrian Los Angeles, as walked by immigrants from the former Soviet Union.” Inspired by “the migratory nature of Jewish people, and by the pedestrian lifestyle of the Jewish seniors of Los Angeles,” the project explores the aftermath of the post-Soviet Jewish migratory experience.
Jointly conceived and administered by Avoda Arts, the Foundation for Jewish Culture and JDub, the Six Points Fellowship was created in 2006 “in response to a realization within the Jewish community that culture is becoming a powerful connector in the lives of young Jewish adults and the primary mechanism for creating a common language and furthering identity.”
Fellows were selected by juries of curators, programmers, arts professionals, academics and artists from New York City and elsewhere who selected projects that “reflect or embody a thoughtful engagement with Jewish history, values, and issues and that resonate with a broad range of audiences.”