CANVAS Invests More Than $1.6 Million in Arts Networks

CANVAS, a Jewish Funders Network-incubated collaborative fund dedicated to elevating the ecosystem of Jewish arts and culture, has awarded $195,000 to nine emerging arts networks. Grant amounts ranged from $10,000 to $25,000. This latest grant cycle is on top of an initial investment in large networks of $736,000.

Along with other investments in media coverage of the field, this brings CANVAS’s total commitments to the sector to over $1.6 million over the past 18 months.

(Image in banner courtesy of Siona Benjamin, Jewish Art Salon)

Collectively, CANVAS’s 14 network grantees represent more than 3,000 Jewish creative leaders and practitioners whose work is inspired by or explores Jewish religion, history, tradition, ritual, or culture.

“This growing network of arts and culture networks is the foundation of the ecosystem,” says Lou Cove, CANVAS Founder. “It is a woefully underserved community that is, nonetheless, driving the 21st-century Jewish cultural renaissance. We are honored to support them and to champion them.”

The newest CANVAS grantees are:

  • The Alliance for Jewish Theatre
  • The Institute for Jewish Creativity of American Jewish University
  • Jewish Art Salon
  • Jewish Plays Project
  • Jewish Studio Project
  • Kultura Collective
  • New Jewish Culture Fellowship
  • Rising Song Institute at Hadar:
  • The Workshop at the Hendel Center at Jewish Theological Seminary


CANVAS has focused much of its philanthropic investments on networks because of their ability to develop, nurture, and connect individual creatives and institutions in the field of Jewish arts and culture.

“Networks are fertile hubs of activity for cultural creatives,” says Cove. “They provide an essential base of education, funding, and new connections for artists—connecting them to one another; to the communal institutions that allow them to delve more deeply into the work; and to distribution channels, new sources of revenue, and new career opportunities. This is leveraged philanthropy in the purest sense.”

CANVAS grantees must prioritize artistic excellence worthy of (inter)national recognition and foster meaningful engagement with Jewish and secular communities.

In 2021, CANVAS also made $180,000 in emergency grants to artists economically impacted by Covid-19 and $257,000 in grants to media outlets to increase the volume and quality of coverage, and to reflect the sophistication, diversity, and range of contemporary work.

Launched in 2019, CANVAS grew out of a series of conversations among JFN members following the demise of the Foundation for Jewish Culture. Those discussions, led by Cove, JFN West Director Tzivia Schwartz Getzug, and Rachel Levin and Shayna Rose Triebwasser of Righteous Persons Foundation, leveraged the JFN conferences and community to identify, report on, and begin to address funding gaps and opportunities in the field of Jewish arts and culture.

CANVAS now includes seven major foundations and is developing an additional pooled fund for individual and smaller donors. CANVAS receives fiscal sponsorship and staffing support from JFN. Learn more at

Details on the latest round of grantees:

Alliance for Jewish Theatre
The AJT develops, promotes, and preserves theatre with a Jewish sensibility, as well as developing theatre productions that serve diverse communities. In addition, the AJT strengthens the connections between its 300+ members—institutions and individuals—with its annual conference.

Institute for Jewish Creativity of AJU
The Institute for Jewish Creativity is based out of American Jewish University in Los Angeles. Its mission is to provide cultural programming of Jewish interest and encourage artistic contributions that help create an authentic, thriving, American Jewish culture. Since 2015, more than 100 artists in Los Angeles have affiliated with its programs or received its support.

Jewish Art Salon
The Jewish Art Salon supports visual artists who work with Jewish themes and is the largest international artists’ and scholars’ network for contemporary Jewish visual art. The JAS provides exhibitions, resources, and programs, developing partnerships with artists, institutions, and the general public. JAS currently has 450 active members around the United States and the world.

Jewish Plays Project
The mission of this organization is “to put bold, progressive conversation on world stages.” The JPP champions new voices and works toward production opportunities for new plays. Each year, the JPP selects seven to 10 playwrights for development. As a network, JPP connects with over 60 writers.

Jewish Studio Project
This organization uses creativity to facilitate personal transformation and social change. The “Jewish Studio Process” helps participants access their creative power for self-discovery and collective liberation. Jewish Studio Project also offers professional development and a range of specific programs, such as studio immersives and creative facilitator trainings. JSP has brought its work to nearly ten thousand participants and collaborated with over 100 organizations seeking creative approaches to Jewish engagement.

Kultura Collective
A network of 14 Toronto-based Jewish arts, culture, and heritage organizations, Kultura operates in collaboration with the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. It supports visual arts, photography, Yiddish, and Holocaust education, providing opportunities for cultural enrichment, intellectual growth, and spiritual fulfillment.

New Jewish Culture Fellowship (NJCF)
NJCF is a network of Jewish artists, writers, and performers who investigate the elusive “cultural Judaism,” which marks the identity of so many Jewish people today. It brings together a yearly cohort of Brooklyn-based Jewish artists for learning and creative feedback. Cohort members then produce new work for the public—concerts, workshops, readings, screenings, talks, and more. The NJCF is looking to expand its model to a national level.

Rising Song Institute at Hadar
Based in Philadelphia, the Rising Song Institute “sparks the musical soul of the Jewish people.” It nurtures high-caliber, professional artists who seek to bring Judaism into their music; provides participatory concerts and musical gatherings; and offers a leadership training program.

The Workshop at the Hendel Center at JTS
The Workshop is a new 10-month, New York-based arts fellowship that supports the work of artists from the JOCISM community (Jews of Color, Indigenous Jews, Sephardim, and Mizrahim). It is housed in the JTS Hendel Center for Ethics and Justice. The fellowship provides contemporary Jewish artists the opportunity to explore how Jews understand themselves and how to contribute new answers to the quest for Jewish meaning.

More about these and other grantees at: