United in Art
There’s a new cultural organization in Boston, and Laura Conrad Mandel wants you to get excited and involved! Mandel is executive director of the Jewish Arts Collaborative (JAC), the result of an alliance between the Boston Jewish Music Festival and the New Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in Newton Centre, Mass. The two parent organizations “had a successful and interesting past of working together on a variety of programs,” explains Mandel, to the point that both groups realized they should combine resources. Working together creates “such an opportunity for some cool and innovative programs that highlight the best of Jewish culture.”
After a period of planning, the JAC is offering up its first season this spring, welcoming the Boston community and visitors alike. The collaborative is holding events all over the greater Boston area, not confining itself to one location. “The beauty of it is that every time we have an event, we are able to match the activity with the venue,” says Mandel. “The bottom line is, we want to be accessible and interesting, creating opportunities that people want to be a part of.”
From cooking to literature, dance and music, the Jewish Arts Collaborative has an event for everyone. NCAC’s wildly popular program “Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen” is being carried over into the collaborative’s programming, and takes place Sunday, March 13, at the Back Bay Events Center on Berkeley Street near Copley Square. More than 20 of Boston’s best chefs come together to present modern takes on traditional Jewish cuisine. Mandel is also excited about an increase in dance programming under the collaborative. “People have told us that they are hungry for more dance,” she explains. The multicultural Sidra Bell Dance Company performs on Saturday, March 12, at the Jewish Community Center in the rolling hills of Newton, a picturesque suburb of Boston, with a family-oriented class taking place the following day. For music lovers, the JAC is bringing one of NPR’s favorites of 2015, the Yemenite group A-Wa, to the Somerville Armory—a funky venue that looks like a castle, located just north of Harvard University in an arts-centric community a mere 15 minutes from the heart of Boston—on Sunday, March 24.