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Sukkah City STL Exhibition Opens Tuesday at Washington University

The 10 art pieces on display will explore the issue of boundaries using the Jewish holiday of Sukkot as context.

An art exhibition beginning Tuesday at Washington University's Danforth Campus explores the concept of boundaries within the framework of the Jewish holiday called Sukkot.

The exhibition runs through Saturday on the lawn of the Ann W. Olin Women's Building lawn. It features the artwork of 10 finalists selected from a pool of more than 40 candidates, an article on the university's website states. St. Louis Hillel and The Museum of Imajewnation also developed the competition, based on last year's Sukkah City: NYC 2010 event in New York. 

Andy Kastner is the Silk Foundation campus rabbi at St. Louis Hillel and worked to bring the exhibition to Washington University. Jews worldwide celebrate the holiday of Sukkot by building temporary structures known as Sukkahs, Kastner said. There, they commemorate the Jews' exodus from Egypt and celebrate the bounty of the autumn harvest.

The holiday is one of juxtapositions, he said, and the exhibition is aimed at conveying that concept through the exploration of ideas such as homeless versus sheltered and public versus private.

"We really wanted to start a conversation about the … boundaries that are part of our lives," Kastner said.

Organizers received 42 submissions from students, firms  and more. One submission came from as far away as India. The 10 finalists represent works that were aesthetic and engaging, had a thoughtful narrative, drew on their surroundings and could be built. Additionally, participants had to adhere to 30 architectural restraints from traditional Jewish law, he said.

A number of people helped the project come together, including Brian Newman, who helped organize the event, and Naomi Fishman, who worked to bring the event into the St. Louis community, Kastner said.

People who visit Washington University this week will be able to tour nine of the structures and see a model of the 10th. Each sculpture will be paired with information about how visitors can interact with it. Some had to be adapted from their original concept, while others look a lot like the renderings the jury reviewed before selecting finalists, Kastner said.

Visitors also will have the opportunity to vote using text-messages for their favorite structure. The people's choice winner will be announced later.

WHAT Sukkah City STL WHEN Tuesday through Saturday WHERE Washington University's Danforth Campus, lawn near Ann W. Olin Women's Building. The university is located at 1 Brookings Dr., St. Louis, MO 63130 COST Free MORE INFO Call 314-808-1486, email sukkahcitystl@gmail.com or go to samfoxschool.wustl.edu/sukkahcitystl.

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