CSP One Month Artist in Residence
Event Videos
Dedicated in Memory of Sharon Chase.
Featuring renowned American Painter and Sculptor

Tobi Kahn

May 1, 2022- May 31, 2022
Live on Zoom from New York City, NY

This program is fully funded by a grant from: The Albert and Rhoda Weissman Arts Endowment Fund, a joint program of Jewish Community Foundation Orange County and Jewish Federation.

Join us for a compelling, one-month series of online programs from May 1-31, 2022 on the topic "Art Demystified" with renowned American painter and sculptor Tobi Kahn. Programs over the month will include Sunday "Main Stage" presentations on topics such as "The Jewish Artist", "What Makes Contemporary Art Compelling", "Creating Ritual Objects" and "Words as Images", conversations with four groundbreaking contemporary artists (including Leonardo Drew, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Larry Abramson & Ariel HaCohen), a "Thinking Visually" 4-week photo workshop, an "Artist's Beit Midrash" and a weekly Friday chat session with the artist.

According to the art critic Dore Ashton, Tobi Kahn’s art “unites our perception of the material with our memory.” This is only fitting for a man whose Jewish heritage permeates all aspects of his work. Whether in his mysterious paintings, reminiscent of biological and geographical formations, or in his sculptures of sanctuaries and sacred monumental pieces, or in the design of furniture and ambient space for a hospital meditation room, Kahn’s work draws us into meditation. As Ted Prescott puts it, Kahn’s art causes us to dip into the “deep wells within us where longing and memory intermingle.” The Philadelphia Inquirer calls his work “perfectly balanced between extremes of abstract and representational…. having an uneasy mixture of authority and idiosyncrasy—and sometimes just a bit beyond human reach.”

Tobi Kahn is a painter and sculptor whose work has been shown in over 50 solo museum exhibitions and over 70 group museum and gallery exhibitions since he was selected as one of nine artists to be included in the 1985 Guggenheim Museum exhibition, New Horizons in American Art. Kahn's most recent solo exhibition, FORMATION: Images of the Body, opened virtually in December, 2020 at the Henry Luce III Center for Art and Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. A short film by filmmaker Susan Dryfoos premiered that evening. The in-person exhibition will open at the Dadian Gallery in March, 2022 with an accompanying catalogue. Works by Kahn are in major museum, hospital, sacred/interfaith spaces, corporate, and private collections. For close to four decades, Kahn has been steadfast in the pursuit of his distinct vision and persistent in his commitment to the redemptive possibilities of art. In paint, stone, and bronze, he has explored the correspondence between the intimate and monumental. While his early works drew on the tradition of American Romantic landscape painting, his more recent pieces reflect his fascination with contemporary science, inspired by the micro-images of cell formations, the environment and satellite photography. For thirty years, Kahn has been making miniature sacred spaces he calls "shrines." The first full-scale shrine, Shalev, is in New Harmony, Indiana, commissioned as an outdoor sculpture for Jane Owen and the Robert Lee Blaffer Trust. Among the awards that Kahn has received are the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from Pratt Institute in 2000; the Cultural Achievement Award for the Visual Arts from the National Foundation of Jewish Culture in 2004; and an Honorary Doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2007 for his work as an artist and educator. Kahn also communicates his vision through his passion for teaching. For over three decades, he has taught fine arts workshops at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He also designed the art curriculum for several high schools in the New York area and co-founded and facilitates the Artists' Beit Midrash at the Streicker Center of Temple Emanu-El. Kahn lectures extensively at universities and public forums internationally on the importance of visual language and art as healing. Kahn received his BA in Photography and Printmaking from Hunter and an MFA in Painting and Sculpture from Pratt Institute.

About Sharon Chase: Sharon always loved art, and many of her artistic pieces created in childhood and throughout her lifetime are featured in her family home. She often designed and taught art projects for her kids and their friends, including the girl scout troops she led for both of her daughters. As a young mom, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from Cal State Fullerton and began teaching art, first at the local elementary school and later at Tarbut V'Torah. She established her business, Kids Art, and taught art to numerous children in her home for 25 years. Many of her students went on to art-related careers, and parents of her former students often approached Sharon over the years to share that the pieces their children created during her classes are still proudly displayed in their homes. She worked in many mediums including oil paint, watercolor, stone sculpture, bronze, silk screen, stained glass and mosaic. In recent years, she crafted beautiful silver necklaces and rings, which she both sold and generously gifted to her family and friends. Sharon's kind nature and positive attitude, and her appreciation of the beauty of life, were loved and valued by all who knew her. Sharon was born in the Bronx and moved to Los Angeles with her mother when she was 5 years old, growing up in the Westchester area of Los Angeles. She was married to her husband Steve for 54 years and had 3 children, Wendy, Corey and David, and 5 grandchildren. She passed away recently and is very much missed by her family and by the local Orange County Jewish community.

Celebrating our 22nd year, the Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program shares the joy of Judaism, builds community, and celebrates our Jewish heritage with a rich adult education program and unique family experiences. Whether we are picking apples for Rosh Hashanah, celebrating Shabbat while camping in National Park, clapping along with Jewish Blues or Rock musicians, hosting a community-wide Shabbat Alive outdoors, learning with internationally known scholars, making life-long Jewish friends at family and adult retreats, or providing distance learning programs during a pandemic, CSP has programs to offer for all ages. We ignite passion for Judaism! CSP live-streams programs on our CSP Facebook site and shares recordings on our new CSP YouTube Channel (please visit and subscribe!). If you are interested in our I-tunes archive of over 200 programs, you can listen at this LINK. You can reach us on the web at http://www.occsp.net and by phone at (949) 682-4040.

Community Scholar Program participates in the communitywide Create a Jewish Legacy initiative, in partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation Orange County and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Contact CSP at (949) 682-4040 to explore the many ways you can leave a legacy to CSP.

Inspire future generations with your generosity by creating a Jewish legacy today!

The Jewish Artist

Sunday May 1, 2022

4:00-5:15 PM PDT/7:00-8:15 PM EDT



Is there Jewish art? Is there a unique way in which a Jewish artist thinks visually? What do Jewish artists share? How can we identify the Jewish lens through which we view what we encounter? How has this interpretive perspective changed over the generations? How does it change over our own journal this year? Among the artists examined are Pissaro, Modigliani, Chagall, Soutine, Mark Rothko, Eva Hesse, Mierle Ukeles, Deborah Kass, and a range of contemporary Israeli painters.

Thinking Visually

{limited space – hands-on series, with weekly assignments}

Monday May 2, 9, 16 & 23, 2022

90-minute sessions at 12:30 PM PDT/3:30 PM EDT


In this 4-week photo workshop, participants will study visual perception through photography, emphasizing both technical skills and visual expression. You will be exposed to a range of photographers, past and contemporary and diverse models of visual interpretation. Participants will create their own visual language in a photo journal that can later be part of a photo exhibition. In week one you will “meet” 8 different photographers, in week 2 you will learn about taking portraits, in week 3 landscapes and in week 4 how to tell a story. Limited to 15 CSP members, homework each week. Please email arie@occsp.net if you are interested. Requirements – a digital camera (can be smartphone) and a passion for photography. All levels welcome.

Conversations with 4 Groundbreaking Contemporary Artists

Tuesday May 3, 10, 17 & 24, 2022

10:00-11:15 AM PDT/1:00-2:15 PM EDT



Join us for a series of conversations between Tobi Kahn and four outstanding artists who have added greatly to the contemporary artistic conversation in diverse mediums


Session 1, May 3rd: Leonardo Drew 

For over three decades, Leonardo Drew has become known for creating contemplative abstract sculptural works that play upon a tension between order and chaos. At once monumental and intimate in scale, his work recalls post-Minimalist sculpture that alludes to America’s industrial past. Drew transforms accumulations of raw materials such as wood, scrap metal, and cotton to articulate various overlapping themes with emotional gravitas: from the cyclical nature of life and decay to the erosion of time. His surfaces often approach a language of their own, embodying the labored process of writing oneself into history. Drew’s works have been shown internationally and are included in numerous public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and Tate, London. His works have recently been acquired by The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Bloomington, Indiana; and New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana among others. 


Session 2, May 10th: Mierle Laderman Ukeles

For almost half a century, Mierle Laderman Ukeles has been making art across a range of media and processes to challenge our ideas of work, care, and collaborative art practices. In her early work, Ukeles made abstract, messy, bodily sculptures, but it was her entrance into motherhood that provided a catalyst for her most significant and enduring idea of "maintenance art" and the "maintenance artist". Ukeles understood motherhood and domestic labor as a kind of maintenance work and wanted to make this work visible by framing it as an art practice. Ukeles has documented her encounters with different kinds of care-workers, including sanitation workers and cleaners, and has also undertaken massive environmental care work, in the case of her current long-term project regenerating a landfill site in New York. Ukeles expanded on Marcel Duchamp's idea of the readymade, by stating not only that any found object can become art, but also that found actions, habits, and everyday activities, particularly those performed by women and working-class people, can be art too.


Session 3, May 17th: Larry Abramson

Born in 1954 in South Africa, Larry Abramson went on to live in Israel in 1961. He studied at the Chelsea School of Art in London between 1973-1974 and received the Kolliner Award for young artists from the Israel Museum in 1979. He is assistant director of the Jerusalem Print Workshop at the Florence Miller Art Center where much of the most interesting printmaking in Israel today takes place. He also acts as advisor to Mishkenot Shaananim Art Center. Although he still sees himself primarily as a painter the disciplines and opportunities provided by printmaking were significant in the development of his art allowing him to clarify his use of colour and form. His prints tend to follow a strict formal structure with a square format and a limited palette. Abramson constructs his screenprints by progressive overprintings of more or less transparent colours partially covering or exposing the layer underneath. The result of this is that he creates several planes within the image and 'the sensation of an emerging or submerging image; the feeling that you are looking at reflections never quite able to see the actual source of the image'. Abramson has held many one-man shows in Tel Aviv Jerusalem and New York and also participated in numerous group exhibitions. He is a founding member of "Artists Without Walls", a dialogue group of Israeli and Palestinian artists and was Chairman of the Bezalel Academy's Fine Art department between 1992-1999, and in 1996 became the founding director of the Bezalel Program for Young Artists, the post-graduate program which became the first Master of Fine Art course in Israel (jointly with the Hebrew University). 


Session 4, May 24th: Ariel Hacohen

Ariel Hacohen is a conceptual photography artist, working predominantly with black and white snapshot photography, digital image-manipulation and video-art. In addition, he sculpts 'photographic sculptures', creating objects using 3D modelling and casting techniques. Ariel has participated in numerous group exhibitions in museums and galleries across Israel, including the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; The New Gallery – Teddy, Jerusalem (2020); the International Photography Festival, Tel Aviv; the Hecht Museum, Haifa; the HaCubia Gallery, Jerusalem (2019); the Beit HaGefen Gallery, Haifa (2016); and more. Since September 2020, he is enrolling in the MA Photography programme at the Royal College of Art, London. As a B.F.A graduate (with Hons) of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem (2015-2019), Ariel was awarded several academic prizes: the Lauren & Mitchell Presser Award for Excellence in Photography (2020); the Yossi Breger Award for Excellence in Photography (2019); the Excellence Award of the Visual and Material Culture Department (2019); and the Bezalel Excellence Award (2018). In 2017, he was selected to participate in a student exchange programme at the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris (ENSBA). In 2019, Ariel was awarded the America-Israel Cultural Foundation (AICF) Scholarship for excellence in photography and the Hecht Prize for Young Artists in the field of fine arts. Between January and October 2020, before moving to London for his MA studies, he participated at the Art Cube Artists' Studios residency program in Talpiot, Jerusalem. Ariel is the recipient of the Clore-Bezalel Scholarship for full tuition for his studies at the Royal College of Art. 


Artist’s Beit Midrash

{limited space – hand’s-on sessions, weekly assignments}

Wednesday May 4, 11, 18 & 25, 2022

120-minute sessions at 12:30 PM PDT/3:30 PM EDT


The Artists' Beit Midrash program is co-facilitated by Rabbanit Leah Sarna and artist and artist/educator Tobi Kahn. There are four 2-hour weekly sessions - the first hour of each session will involve an examination of a diverse range of Jewish texts, both biblical and rabbinic, to see how, as artists, we can interpret these narratives visually. In the second hour, we will view and critique art created by the participants based on the texts. The texts examined in the first hour will begin with some foundational Torah texts about the Shemitta year, noticing keywords that tie Shemitta to other moments where the Jewish tradition encourages rest. We will then turn to later texts about the purpose of rest, both commentaries on the Torah as well as Talmudic, Halakhic and philosophical texts spanning from the early Middle Ages through to the 20th century.

By application only, limited to 15 CSP members, homework each week. Please email arie@occsp.net if you are interested.

Rabbanit Leah Sarna is the Associate Director of Education and Director of High School Programs at Drisha. She previously served as Director of Religious Engagement at Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago, a leading urban Orthodox congregation. She was ordained at Yeshivat Maharat in 2018, holds a BA from Yale University in Philosophy & Psychology, and also trained at the SKA Beit Midrash for Women at Migdal Oz, Drisha and the Center for Modern Torah Leadership. Her published works have appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Lehrhaus, The Forward and MyJewishLearning.

4 Virtual Global Gallery Tours

May 5, 12, 19 & 25, 2022

12:30-1:45 PM PDT/2:30-3:45 PM CDT/3:30-4:45 PM EDT 22:30-23:45 Israel Time


In this 4-week course participants will be guided through gallery and museum exhibitions. Throughout the program we will view exhibitions, virtually meet artists, curators and art historians and hear about their perspectives on the works viewed. Participants will be introduced to what is new and important in the art world. The goal of the course is for participants to view art critically. Tobi Kahn’s gallery tours were ranked #1 in New York Magazine’s “Best Bets”.

Sacred Space, Sacred Time, Sacred Objects

Friday May 13, 20 & 27, 2022

9:30-10:15 AM PDT/12:30-1:15 PM EDT



Join us for three Friday conversations with artist Tobi Kahn as we explore the relationship between art and Jewish tradition. These 45-minute sessions will start with a short opening by Tobi and then turn to an open discussion based on your questions. 


Friday May 13, 2022 - Sacred Space 

On the relationship between museums, shrines, synagogues and the white cube and the human need for sacred spaces.


Friday May 20, 2022 - Sacred Time

On how time plays a role in art (the shift to video, sound, performance art and more) and its connections with Jewish time. 


Friday May 27, 2022 - Sacred Objects

On the relationship between Judaica and fine arts and how objects hold memory and meaning. 


Sunday May 8, 2022

11:00 AM-12:15 PM PDT/2:00-3:00 PM EDT


Phillips Collection: Creative Voices DC - TOBI KAHN

Artist Tobi Kahn will be in conversation with Aaron Rosen, Professor of Religion & Visual Culture and Director of the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary; Klaus Ottmann, Deputy Director for Academic Affairs and Special Initiatives at The Phillips Collection; and Debra Balken, independent curator and writer. The Phillips Collection’s Kahn “unit” of seven works is currently on display in the permanent collection galleries alongside their Picasso collection and the One-on-One installation, where British painter Bridget Riley selected three of her works to be displayed vis-à-vis a work by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The museum owns seven of Tobi’s pieces from various decades dating back to his early career. Tobi's solo exhibition FORMATIONS: Images of the Body opens at the Henry Luce III Center for Arts & Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC, on May 8, 2022.

Sunday “Main Stage” Series

May 15, 22 & 29, 2022

4:00-5:15 PM PDT/7:00-8:15 PM EDT


Sunday May 15, 2022

What Makes Contemporary Art Compelling and Singular?

We will explore 7 contemporary artists who raise issues such as culture, politics, religion, sexuality and the environment in relationship to themselves and their work. Artists we will discuss include: Mark Bradford, Rackstraw Downes, Liza Lou, Marilyn Minter, Shirin Neshat, Meg Webster, Ai Weiwei & Billie Zangewa.

Sunday May 22, 2022

Ritual and the Art of Tobi Kahn

Join us for a presentation on ceremonial objects that Tobi has created over 30 years, both personal and communal - including Baby Naming Chairs, Omer Counter, Synagogue Interior, Memorial Lights, Tu b’Shvat Seder Plate and most recently a Sukkah/Meditative Space.

Sunday May 29, 2022

Words as Image

Artists are still finding new ways to manipulate paint, canvas, and space, and they’re constantly developing new reasons to turn words into art. Using language, these artists transform the alphabet into art. Join us as we explore the art of Jenny Holzer, Elaine Reicheck, Mel Bochner, Barbara Kruger, Christopher Wool, Robert Indiana & Lawrence Weiner.

It’s A Wrap

Tuesday May 31, 2022

12:30-1:45 PM PDT/3:30-4:45 PM EDT

In this final event in our one-month series, Tobi wraps up what he has learned from us and what we have learned over the past 30 days.