Curator, producer and writer.
“I made a conscious decision then to devote myself to Jewish arts and culture. I knew that was a place where I could make a real impact.”
Why paint in one colour when you can make a masterpiece out of them all? Evelyn Tauben is out to portray the all-colourful Jewish expressions we each have within.
Working in the art world gave Evelyn opportunities at some of the top art museums in the United States. As exciting as it was to work in major museums, after attending on a whim a Jewish Arts and Culture conference in New York, Evelyn knew what she needed to do. “I made a conscious decision then to devote myself to Jewish arts and culture. I knew that was a place where I could make a real impact.”
For over a decade, Evelyn has been focused on producing and curating concerts, theatre performances, literary events, festivals and arts exhibitions, all centred around exploring Jewish themes in dynamic new ways as well as creating opportunities for Jewish artists to make new art looking at Jewish stories. “I want to create a space where people feel comfortable and energized to make work about the particularity of their experience.”
Despite the lack of support Evelyn feels is given to the Jewish arts and culture scene in Toronto, she is inspired and motivated by the beauty of differences around her.
“I want Jewish artists to have the opportunity to tell their stories, bring people together in real spaces and spark meaningful conversations. Success is about moving the dial on conversations relevant to contemporary Jewish life, not just being satisfied with the same communal narratives that we tend to regurgitate.”
Evelyn looks no further than a quote from Theodore Bikel, famous singer and actor, who said: “I sing in over 20 languages, but I sing Jewish songs not because they’re better than the songs of my neighbour, I sing them because they are mine.”
“I feel choked up even thinking about it, because that is at the core of it for me. I devote myself to Jewish arts and culture not because it’s better but because it is mine. I believe in fostering the work of Jewish artists, and creating an exciting cultural scene in Toronto.”
Not only is it important for Evelyn to work within the Jewish community, but she is also intent on portraying the particularities of Jewish experience in the wider multiculturalist environment that Toronto boasts. “I feel that part of my role is to include Jewish conversations as part of the tapestry within the wider lens of Canada.”
With her work at the FENTSTER window gallery on College Street, Evelyn connects passersby to the Jewish experience by presenting original rotating art installations in the storefront window of the Jewish organization, Makom.. Anyone who walks by of any age or any background, can engage in reflecting in the Jewish themes examined in each show. It is through projects like these that Evelyn hopes to tap into the curiosity of others and spark further inspiration and creation.
RANDOM RAPID FIRE WITH EVELYN
1. Night owl or early bird
2. Power or Influence
3. Respect or Love
4. Last book you read? All the Rivers Dorit Rabinyan
5. Useless talent? Washing windows
A Montreal native, Evelyn Tauben has made Toronto her home. With a background in art history, she is a recognized expert in contemporary Jewish art and culture with over 15 years of experience in museums, galleries and arts organizations including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Museum of American History, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Koffler Centre of the Arts. Evelyn is an independent curator, producer and writer.
Interview by Adina Samuels