[by Phyllis Shaikun]
When you see a piece of art created by Louisville native Bruce David, the first thing that grabs you is his incredible use of color. Whether the work is in glass or on canvas, that same dynamism seems to emanate from within every piece. David calls it “Biblical Storytelling Art.”
A self-taught artist whose work has been compared with that of Marc Chagall, David laughs at the thought that his father, Dr. Artie David, z”l, had to be persuaded to help him with art projects in school just so he could pass the class. It was not until 1976, when his wife, Diane Graff, who also grew up in Louisville, gave him a pad of paper and some colored pencils, that his creativity founds its voice.
David feels truly fortunate to have been given such a “wonderful gift,” and has spent the last 30 years creating colorful, dynamic works filled with hidden multi-dimensional symbolism. His work has been exhibited numerous times at the Jewish Community Center and is displayed in all of our local synagogues, including an eight-foot tall stained glass window at Keneseth Israel and three large stained glass windows and a metal sculpture at Anshei Sfard.
“I want people to look at my art and develop an appreciation for Judaism and Israel,” said David. “My hope is that it will help others increase their conscious awareness of who they are and what it means to be Jewish.”
To that end, he has worked with his wife on developing an educational curriculum to use his art in an enlightening way. The two have recruited their son, Joshua, to use his Indiana University business degree to turn their dreams into reality.
Over the course of the past year, the David family has started a non-profit organization called Light of the Nations (www.LOTNexperience.org), which will provide Jewish experiential education programs for schools and communities across the country. The goal is to bridge the gap between traditional observance and modern relevance with programs that allow participants to experience Judaism within the context of their modern lifestyles through activities designed to share the spirit, beauty and modern day relevance of Judaism and its universal ideology.
Light will begin conducting pilot programs this month in Bloomington, IN, (where the family lives) in community members’ homes, synagogues, the public library, local religious schools and in outdoor settings to provide feedback from a diverse range of participants. LOTN will kick-off in Jewish camps across the country this summer and the program officially launches in the fall with art/edutainment concerts, outdoor reconnection experiences, build-a-blessing workshops, Shabbat experiences, culinary Judaism workshops, social action projects and their art/education Interactives.
The family has also begun the new S.O.N.G. (Supporting Our Next Generations) Mitzvah Project to help students and young professionals from across the country supplement their academic pursuits and professional development. For more information about Bruce David and the various projects in which he and his family are involved, you can visit his website at www.davidart.com.