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Making/History: Reconstructing the Gwoździec Synagogue
October 12, 2014

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12 | 6:30pm

Photo courtesy of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Click here to watch the video in our Program Archive.

Admission: General $15 | YIVO Members $12
Box Office: | (212) 868-4444

In 2011, three organizations—the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Handshouse Studio, and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland—embarked on an extraordinary mission: to reconstruct the destroyed wooden Gwoździec Synagogue for MHPJ’s core exhibition. After years of research, an international team of 296 historians, architects, artisans, students and artists specializing in traditional woodwork and polychrome painting reconstructed the Gwoździec roof and ceiling, conducting educational workshops in the synagogues of eight Polish cities along the way. In advance of the official unveiling of MHPJ’s core exhibition on October 28, join us for a special presentation by Handshouse Studio about the project, their unique educational model of “learn by doing,” and how the political significance of their work impacted their process. Filmmakers from Trillium Studios will follow with excerpts from their documentary, Raise the Roof, which documents the reconstruction; and project funder Irene Pletka will deliver introductory remarks.

Presented by YIVO and the Polish Cultural Institute.

To learn more about the rebuilding of the Gwoździec Synagogue, and to view images and video of the project, visit here.

RAISE THE ROOF - Trailer from Trillium Studios on Vimeo.


Rick Brown (Handshouse Studio) is Co-Founder and President of Handshouse Studio, Inc. and professor of sculpture at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Brown is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Fulbright Research Grant to Poland; University of Georgia Lamar Dodd School of Art: Wilson Center Visiting Scholar Program Grant; Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, Massachusetts College of Art and Design; Award of Distinction, Sam Fox School of Washington University; the Lillian Heller’s Curator’s Award; Massachusetts College of Art Center for Arts and Community Partnership Grant; ­Davis Foundation Grant through the Colleges of the Fenway; Massachusetts Artists Foundation Finalists Grant for Sculpture; Massachusetts Artists Foundation Finalists Grant for Environmental Design; National Endowment for the Arts Funding for Sculpture Installation (Decordova Museum, Lincoln, MA); a Ford Foundation Grant; and the Goldsmith Award, Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Memphis, TN.

Laura Brown (Handshouse Studio) is Co-founder and Director of Handshouse Studio, Inc. and faculty of sculpture at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She earned a MFA from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Brown has been awarded the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, Massachusetts College of Art and Design; Lillian Heller’s Curator’s Award, Massachusetts College of Art Center for Arts and Community Partnership Grant; Visible Republic Planning Grant, Helen Blair Crosby Sculpture Award; Dondis A. Dondis Travel Fellowship; and Ford Foundation Grant.

Cary Wolinsky (Trillium Studios) began working as a photojournalist for the Boston Globe in 1968 while completing a degree in journalism at Boston University's School of Communications. Wolinsky is known for his international, historical, scientific and cultural photographic essays published regularly in National Geographic magazine since 1977. His numerous stories include: Sichuan: Where China Changes Course, Inside the Kremlin, Australia A Harsh Awakening, New Eyes on the Oceans, Diamonds - The Real Story, and The Down Side of Being Upright. Wolinsky's articles and photographs have been printed in publications throughout the world. In 2006, he began collaborating with his son, Yari Wolinsky, to produce documentary films.

Yari Wolinsky (Trillium Studios) After graduating from Bard College in 2004, Yari Wolinsky worked for John Rubin Productions, Inc. on three one-hour, PBS documentary films: Raptor Force, The Living Weapon, and Ape Genius. He has worked as director and editor on narrative and documentary films for educational, editorial, nonprofit, and commercial clients that include Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, National Geographic, PBS, AARP, Issey Miyake, Helping Hands Monkey Helpers, Life is Good, and Marriott Hotels. Wolinsky began documenting the Browns efforts to rebuild a Polish wooden synagogue in 2007.
Venue: YIVO Institute at the Center for Jewish History  |  15 West 16th Street - NYC   view map

For directions and parking information, click here.

All public programs are wheelchair accessible. A limited number of assistive listening devices are available for deaf and hard of hearing individuals upon request.