This past weekend, January 25 through 27, Art Festival Beth-El hosted their 47th annual invitational, judged, indoor and outdoor exhibit and sales of original artwork from artists all over the country at 400 Pasadena Ave S.
“For a local show, we have really incredible work from all around the country,” said Associate Chair of Art Festival Beth-El Abby Sterensis. “It varies in price; down in the boutique we have work as inexpensive as $15 to $20, up to our most expensive piece this year, which is $28,000. There’s a little bit of something for everybody: there’s sculpture, there’s glass, ceramic, jewelry, there’s photography. There’s literally something for everyone here.”
The Beth-El congregation doesn’t just host this show to expose the community to emerging or well-established artists. They host the event for the common good. According to Sterensis, the main purpose of the event is to adhere to a Jewish mandate, Tikkun Olam. The phrase means to “repair the world, to do things greater than yourself, to do things to help,” explained Sterensis. “Most of the money we raise goes to our social justice programming and the rest to our youth program.”
Art Festival Beth-El is also completely run by volunteers.
“During the course of the year, including set up and break down, last year we engaged 250 volunteers. Beyond being a good fundraiser, we like to call it a ‘friend-raiser,’” said Sterensis. “It’s a positive thing for the community and a nice way to bring people into a synagogue if they’ve never been. The art aestival is not a religious thing. We don’t show Jewish art. It’s not a temple show, it’s an art show in a synagogue.”