This Sunday, the Jewish Museum will host its annual Freedom Art Jam to celebrate Passover with art, music, and dancing. This family-friendly event features performances by The Macaroons and Baby Loves Disco, as well as activities such as matzah storybook making and gallery tours. In anticipation, we sat down with Rachel Levine, Senior Manager of Family Programs, to talk more about what we can expect from this year’s event.
Jewish Museum: Why does the Jewish Museum celebrate Passover, a holiday about the exodus from Egypt, with music, art workshops and dancing?
Rachel Levine: Inspired by the beautiful Passover objects we have on view, we developed this holiday celebration for families that is immersive and artistically engaging for many ages. Through art and music we hope families can playfully and creatively connect with Passover in a new way, whether it may be through art-making, dancing, and more.
JM: How do you think that the rituals and spirit of Passover will be captured by this year’s events and activities?
RL: The spirit of the holiday and concept of freedom will be captured through movement and dance; ritual objects will be explored in the galleries and reinterpreted through a large collage mural; and the Passover story will be expressed through painting activities.
JM: When kids see the art on display, do they ever have reactions that really surprise you? What’s the benefit of having an event like this take place at the Jewish Museum?
RL: We are constantly delighted by the way children get inspired by the art on view. Having this event here at the Museum offers families the opportunity to have first-hand experiences with powerful artwork from centuries ago to the current day. Seeing exquisite Passover plates from the collection as well as the painting Seder by contemporary artist Nicole Eisenman — a striking image of a family at the Seder table — allows families to discover many powerful perspectives related to the holiday.
JM: Ok, I have to know, who invented the Passover-themed dances? I want to meet the person behind the “matzah ball bump” and the “frog hop twist,” they sound really fun.
RL: Thanks! They were fun to come up with! We worked with the Baby Loves Disco DJs to design these themed dances that would get families grooving while contagious dance hits are played.
JM: Which art workshop do you think will be the biggest hit? The giant Seder plate collage sounds like fun….
RL: The giant Seder plate will be great for families who enjoy collaborating on a large-scale artwork. The Passover Art in the Round should be exciting for children who enjoy painting, while the matzah storybooks will engage families who like creating stories together. And, of course, for those who love dancing, Baby Loves Disco and The Macaroons will be quite a hit.
JM: Are there any new activities at this year’s celebration to which we should look forward?
RL: Each year we create new art activities — The Macaroons are new to the Freedom Art Jam program. Hope to see you there!