MOFSA’s 2022 Spiritual Art Grants

This year MOFSA is pleased to announce that we have selected two recipients for our $10,000 spiritual art grant! The two winners are Deborah Hamon and Emily McIlroy. In addition, we are awarding a special grant of $2500 to Karen Benioff Friedman.

Deborah’s journey has included the Polar Pom Project in 2013, to connect kids in a conversation about art and climate change. She has continued to travel, including a trip to Siberia in 2019. She uses photographs as a way into a painting but she does not seek to know the result ahead of time. In every way she is an explorer. She is interested in open-ended narratives about the human condition, aliveness, hopes and fears, embracing the whole journey. Above all she seeks for her paintings to inspire hope.

Emily’s journey is a deep one, facing grief, first from the death of her twin brother. She looked to psychology and to neuroscience, and to experts on twins and religion. She looked to art and to the natural world around her. Then came the unexpected death of her mother. She painted and prayed, painted and prayed, coming to a greater sense of peace. Now she is seeking to create a new body of work centered on the aspiration of union. She sees art as a way to change the contours of one’s reality and the larger reality of which one is a part.

Karen discovered drawing and printmaking in college, and a year in Jerusalem led her to a deep connection to her Jewish roots and heritage. When her father died she dug deeper into art, a passion she shared with him, to feel closer to his memory and to honor his life. At the same time as she was delving more deeply into art, she was also attaining a leadership role in the Chevra Kadisha, those who take on the Jewish rituals of death and mourning. An encounter with a cycle of Czech paintings from the eighteenth century depicting the work of the Chevra Kadisha at that time led to a life goal of portraying the work in its contemporary form.

MOFSA will present work of our new grant recipients in a virtual art show this summer. Stay tuned! In the meantime, we invite you to explore their websites:

Deborah Hamon:

Emily McIlroy:

Karen Benioff Friedman:

Update: Visit the 2022 Virtual Exhibit