Fine Arts Committee invites you to Andy Sweet’s South Beach
Following the success of our Spring art exhibition, Out of the Narrows: The Art of the Passover Seder, the Fine Arts Committee of the Jewish Federation cordially invites you to Andy Sweet’s South Beach photo exhibition, opening Wednesday, August 30th (RSVP) and running up to Thanksgiving.
A gifted Jewish photographer, Andy Sweet captured the once-thriving and now-diminished Jewish community in Miami Beach, Florida during the 1970s. He was a pioneer in color photography and his stunning photos document the lives of older Jewish immigrants, many of them Holocaust survivors, as they joyously lived out their last days over a ten-year period which also proved to be the end of an era in post-war American Jewish history. Andy’s life was tragically cut short when he was murdered at the age of 28. After his death, his original photos mysteriously disappeared. His work prints were eventually found and were painstakingly restored to the large format prints we see today.
The Fine Arts Committee (Marsha Brook, Natalie Klein, Diane Sarnat and Lynda Simon) thought that exhibiting the photos at the Jewish Federation would be important on a number of levels – documenting a part of history that is relevant to the future of our shrinking Jewish community here in South Bend; showing that aging can be a joyful process – one to be celebrated, not avoided; depicting Holocaust survivors who were resilient and able to rejoice, even after suffering unspeakable trauma, and showing how the power of art – in this case a photo – can become more than a single image and can portray an entire era, an entire culture, and even a collective experience.
Ed Christin, the archivist of Andy’s work, happens to be a South Bend native living in Miami. Ed is very excited to have Andy’s photos exhibited at the Federation and has enthusiastically agreed to loan us the photos and come to South Bend to speak at the opening of the exhibition. The presence of Ed to discuss not only the photos, but the life of the photographer as well, will make this a truly unique exhibit of Andy’s work.
Ed will also speak at the screening of the award-winning documentary, “The Last Resort,” which tells the story of Sweet and fellow photographer Gary Monroe and the Miami Beach community they photographed. The screening will be presented free of charge at the Leighton Auditorium at the Main library in downtown South Bend on Tuesday, August 29th at 7:00 PM.
We are excited about the potential impact of this exhibition and the opportunity to bring a unique cultural experience to not only the Jewish community of South Bend, but also to the South Bend community at-large.