TRIBECA — Young Russian Jewish artists are pooling their talents in a bid to help Holocaust survivors in need.
Twelve New York-based painters, photographers and multimedia artists are putting a variety of their pieces up for auction at TriBeCa’s One Art Space this week to raise funds to help Holocaust survivors. Of the 75,000 Holocaust survivors living in the United States, about a third live below the poverty line, organizers said.
“I think people don’t know that there are so many survivors who are in their 80s and 90s, who are frail, and need help with healthcare costs,” said Masha Pearl, the executive director The Blue Card, a nonprofit that raises money for Holocaust survivors and is organizing the auction. “We thought the auction, which is our first art auction, was a great way to engage young people, and get the word out about the need to help.”
Pearl said the idea of focusing on young, Russian Jewish artists, came in part from the organization's own volunteers.
“We have several Russian Jewish artists volunteering for us, and we thought it was a good way to engage a community, Russian Jews, who often aren’t as closely tied to their Jewish identity,” Pearl said.
The Jan. 23 auction is being funded by a grant from the Genesis Philanthropy Group, an organization dedicated to enhancing Russian Jews’ connection to Jewish culture.
The Blue Card was originally founded in 1934 in Europe, to aid Jews already being affected by Nazi rule in Germany. The organization reestablished in the United States in 1939 to help Jews who were fleeing persecution settle into America.
Today, the nonprofit provides financial assistance to Holocaust survivors, working with a network of Jewish family services agencies across the country to identify those in need.
"Most of the funds go towards helping them pay for home care or extra medical or dental care expenses," Pearl said. "But, the money can help in other ways — we bought a new mattress for a survivor who had a bed bug issue, things like that."
Works up for auction in TriBeCa this week include two paintings by Irina Sheynfeld, a young artist from Odessa, Ukraine. Her works, designs composed of small, pastel circles, explore themes of eternal wandering and longing, according to an artist's statement.
Max Noy, a New York City-based photographer originally from Moscow, is auctioning his “Jon Doe,” an image of a blanket-covered homeless man sitting in front a graffiti-covered wall.
Bids for the silent auction start at $100 to $2,000, depending on the artwork.
The auction is being held this week in anticipation of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which falls on Jan. 27, Pearl said.
The Young Russian Jewish Artists Give Back auction is being held at One Art Space, 23 Warren St., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m, on Jan. 23. A $36 donation is recommended for entrance to the event.