WORD 2017-2018:

 The Bruce Geller Memorial Prize

 

The WORD Grant, a project of American Jewish University’s Institute for Jewish Creativity, supports artists creating projects that explore Jewish ideas, themes, tradition, history, and identity. We believe in supporting a contemporary, vibrant, Jewish cultural landscape in Los Angeles.

 

Applications are now closed for our first round of funding. We are pleased to support projects that approach Jewish culture from a variety of perspectives, in terms of discipline, context and thematic elements.  Grants of $500-$2,000 will be given for the creation and/or presentation of new work.

 

For those that plan to apply to future grant rounds we encourage you to read through our FAQ. 

 

Eligible work will meet the following criteria:

 

Artists and creatives are encouraged to propose projects that meet our criteria:

 

  • The written word and/or text play a role in the work. This will be broadly defined and could include: the use of historic, religious or contemporary text; original works or projects where the written word is central; and written works itself, and/or work inspired by text of some kind.

  • The work has significant Jewish themes or elements, which will be broadly defined to include: history, text, modern experience and cultural and/or cross-cultural projects.

  • Applicants at all levels and stages of their career, from emerging to established, are encouraged to apply.

  • Works must be completed within 6 months of the award (the award will be given in May, therefore, work must be completed by October 31st, 2016). As such, work will be prioritized that have clear plans of how to show the work, through concerts, presentations, gallery openings, digital distribution or by other means within LA county.

  • Artists that are living and working within Los Angeles County.

 
Bruce and Jeannette Geller were influential Los Angeles residents whose passion for creativity and the pursuit of art defined their lives. Bruce Geller was an award-winning Hollywood screenwriter most famous for creating, directing and producing the highly successful TV show, Mission Impossible.
 

2017 WORD Grantees

Carmiel Banasky

Sin and the Pelican

Sin and the Pelican is a set of short stories exploring Jewish grief -- a mother's loss of her son to suicide, and that more abstract loss of our earth-as-we-know-it to climate change. The project will culminate in a fundraiser for the Wilderness Society's campaign to stop drilling in Alaska, featuring a reading of this work plus visual art from local artists on a recent expedition to the Arctic.

Amount Awarded: $2,000.00

www.carmielbanasky.com

Ethan Braun

Restoring the Aleph: Music for meditation, cantor, choir, and congregants

This project will culminate in new music that explores the relationships of music, meditation, and prayer in our manifold histories as Jewish people. This music will accompany a meditation service held during Musaf at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, CA on a Shabbat in January 2018.

Amount Awarded: $2,000.00

www.ethanbraun.com

Hagar Cygler

Faded but Not Forgotten

Faded but not forgotten is a book set made out of the forgotten leftovers found in discarded books. This project derived from the Genizah, asks what happens when there are no clear rules and traditions to go by when letting go of books, and when we struggle to decide what to do with something we consider precious and valuable but have lost its usage.

Amount Awarded: $2,000.00

www.hagarcygler.com

Dmitry Kmelnitsky

Inter[We]ave

Inter[We]ave is envisioned as a Virtual Reality visual-music experience. The project strives for a sensory fusion as it explores the threads between the earthly and the mystical, summoning the spirit of the Shekinah through its immersive audio-visual poetry.

Amount Awarded: $1,800.00

www.lustrecreative.com

Deanna Neil

Pirkei Imahot - Ethics of the Mothers

Pirkei Imahot, Ethics of the Mothers, is a collection of maxims that mirror the style of Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, but filled with contemporary female voices. This long over-due feminist companion aims to legitimize female spiritual leadership, modernize lessons, and create a new piece of literary art while honoring the traditional structure of pithy life-lessons.

Amount Awarded: $1,000.00

www.deedeebird.com

Alexander Nemser

Prophetess

Prophetess is "A wild animated retelling of the Moses story set in the near future. In a drought-ridden world, a mentally unstable woman becomes the reluctant liberator of a gang of enslaved outcasts, and must lead them on a visionary overland pilgrimage from Las Vegas to Mexico City in search of water."

Amount Awarded: $2,000.00

www.alexandernemser.tumblr.com

Rebecca Ora

Anne Frank: The Revised Definitive Critical Media Edition

Anne Frank: The Revised Definitive Critical Media Edition will be a compendium of translations, transfers and transcodings of only the expurgated sections of Anne Frank The: Diary of a Young Girl. This project, which will take the form of a published volume, an interactive site and, ultimately, an art exhibition, uses this material to explore the boundaries of appropriate forms of representation of the traumatic past.

Amount Awarded: $2,000.00

Ava Porter

Judaic Crimea

Judaic Crimea is an interactive digital web project that archives the remnants of Karaim, Krymchak, and Ashkenazi history, culture, and language in Crimea, once a flourishing center of both Karaite and Rabbinical Jewish life. The archive includes original videos of Karaims, Krymchaks, and Ashkenazi Jews as well as digital reproductions of various objects including texts, photographs, paintings, clothing, tableware, and furniture.

Amount Awarded: $2,000.00

www.avaporter.com

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2016 marked the inaugural cycle of the Word Grant for artists and creative practitioners: a multidisciplinary initiative birthed out of the Bruce Geller Memorial Prize for Screen Writing Arts, instituted in 2006. In its first year, Word aspired to support creative practitioners who are invested in Jewish themes and in the written word, as text, or in a broader context. We were honored to receive many submissions from inspiring artists, and support projects created in local communities.
This exciting venture is made possible through a generous Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles. 
 
Bruce and Jeannette Geller were influential Los Angeles residents whose passion for creativity and the pursuit
of art defined their lives. Bruce Geller was an award-winning Hollywood screenwriter most famous for creating, directing and producing the highly successful TV show, Mission Impossible.

About Us

The Institute for Jewish Creativity (IJC) is a proud project of American Jewish University (AJU). The IJC encourages artistic contributions to create an authentic, thriving American Jewish culture. AJU’s core values are learning and scholarship, culture, ethics, leadership, and peoplehood.  For almost 70 years AJU has served as a thriving center and resource for individuals to explore and celebrate their Jewish identity. AJU is one of the largest and most innovative Jewish institutions in the country. The Institute for Jewish Creativity is made possible through a generous Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, and with additional support from Naomi and Jeffrey Caspe.

 

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