Dwelling Place Community Celebration

  • Date: October 18, 2016
  • Time: 12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
  • Location: Maine College of Art Green Space, Portland

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Maine College of Art Green Space, corner of Casco and Shepley Street


Maine College Of Art, in conjunction with Southern Maine Hillel, will sponsor “Dwelling Place”, an Interactive Public Art Installation by Asherah Cinnamon, at the Maine College of Art Green Space, corner of Casco and 11 Shepley Street, Portland from October 16 through October 29, with reception and cultural/religious celebration for students, faculty, staff, and community members, including from the campuses of MECA, UNE, USM and SMCC, at 12:30pm on October 18 (rain date October 21 at same time), featuring Klezmer music by Rabbi Sruli Dresdner and Lisa Mayer. In case of rain also on the rain date, the celebration will take place in the Institute for Contemporary Art at MECA.


“The Dwelling Place” is a sculpture, a dwelling place for spirit, a structure in which to celebrate the ancient tradition of Sukkot. There are many themes in this celebration: it is a significant time to reconnect with the Earth and the Elements, and to remember that not everyone in our community, even today, has a permanent home, safe from weather or human aggression and indifference. Like the ancient Jewish people in the desert and like all refugees worldwide, the structure is strong, but vulnerable to many forces.  


The Jewish holiday of Sukkot (Festival of Booths) will take place on October 16-23 this year. As a biblical and cultural holiday, Jews celebrate by building temporary structures, reminiscent of their ancestors’ lives as they escaped from slavery in ancient Egypt and wandered the desert for 40 years. “Dwelling Place” is a sukkah or booth. There are many rules that pertain to creating a kosher* sukkah, including how many walls the structure must have and how much of the sky one can see from within (*kosher means suitable for observant religious practice, or according to biblical rules).


Artist, Asherah Cinnamon (www.asherahcinnamon.com) received her BFA degree from MECA in 2008. “Dwelling Place” was designed and built by her in 2011 with support from the Linda and Joel Abromson Award, presented annually by the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine. It has been installed annually since then, at the University of New England Gallery, The Maine Jewish Museum, on the campus of SMCC, and twice at USM. It’s 7th and final installation will take place in fall of 2017.   


Ariel Bernstein, Director of the Southern Maine Hillel, “The sukkah will provide a visual invitation and access for students and the community to participate in this Jewish tradition…”  Southern Maine Hillel is a project of the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine whose mission it is to build and support Jewish community locally at MECA, SMCC, UNE and USM, in Israel and throughout the world.  For more information about the “Dwelling Place event, email Ariel Bernstein at so.me.hillel@gmail.com, the JCA at jca@mainejewish.org, or MECA at ica@meca.edu.


In the second and final stage of installation, the schach, a traditional fresh cut tree branch roof for the structure, will be installed Sunday October 16, at 1pm, just before the beginning of the holiday of Sukkot. We invite students, faculty, and staff to also participate in the holiday by helping to install the sukkah at MECA’s Green Space on either of two Sundays:  October 9th and October 16. Students are encouraged to help with the installation on October 9 or 16, and also with taking down the structure on Sunday October 30th. Contact Southern Maine Hillel, or MECA , or the artist atacinnamon@meca.edu for details.


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Maine College of Art Green Space

Corner of Casco and Shepley St.
Portland  ME  04101 


Maine College of Art

Nancy Walker