Free community celebration, 5 year anniversary, and incoming Executive Director Lori Starr

The Contemporary Jewish Museum celebrates five years in its Yerba Buena home and the start of a new era under the leadership of incoming Executive Director Lori Starr with a free community celebration Sunday, June 9

San Francisco, CA, May 15, 2013 — The Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) welcomes its new Executive Director Lori Starr and celebrates the first five years in its Daniel Libeskind-designed home in downtown San Francisco with a day of free admission, dance and music performances, art-making and crafts for families, and more on Sunday, June 9, 2013.

The festivities include a reading by San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguía and remarks by California State Senator Mark Leno on Jessie Square in front of the Museum, as well as indoor and outdoor performances by AXIS Dance Company, a cappella Leonard Cohen choir The Conspiracy of Beards, Bulgarian woman’s choir True Life Trio, and Porto Franco Klezmer All-Stars. The special event takes place from 12 to 3pm, but Museum admission is free all day from 11am to 5pm.

The grand opening of the CJM’s stunning 63,000 square foot facility took place in June 2008 to wide acclaim. In 2011, Bruce Kelley, editor-in-chief of San Francisco Magazine, listed the Museum as one of the top ten high-impact civic projects of the past decade in San Francisco, calling it “one of America’s best sculptures.”

In its first five years in the Yerba Buena arts district, the Museum has served over 550,000 Bay Area residents and visitors through exhibitions, public programs, and community events. Two exhibitions, Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories and Houdini: Art and Magic, were the highest attended exhibitions in the CJM’s 29-year history. Its groundbreaking 2011 exhibition, As it is Written: Project 304,805, culminated with the completion of a Torah—the second Torah ever written by a woman—that is now touring synagogues around the world.

Engagement with families and schools is at an all-time high. The CJM’s family audience has grown by more than 400%, and its Free Family Days have provided free admission to almost 30,000 parents, grandparents, and children.

In February 2013, the CJM announced the hire of Lori Starr as its new Executive Director. A seasoned and innovative Jewish cultural leader and a top North American museum executive, Starr begins in her new role at the CJM on June 9 with this special community celebration to welcome her arrival. Starr comes to the CJM from the Koffler Centre of the Arts, Canada’s only multidisciplinary, contemporary Jewish cultural institution. Prior to her time at the Koffler, Starr served as Senior Vice President and Museum Director of the Skirball Cultural Center from 2001–2006. From 1986–2001, she was Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the J. Paul Getty Trust and J. Paul Getty Museum. She has also held key management and education positions in the School of Fine Arts, University of Southern California and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and was a Rockefeller Fellow in Museum Education and Community Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

“I am delighted to be returning to California and San Francisco to work with the exceptional Board, staff, and volunteers of the Contemporary Jewish Museum,” says Starr. “The Museum, now in its fifth year in its beautiful and expressive jewel of a building, has distinguished itself as a welcoming place where visitors of all ages and walks of life can connect with one another through dialogue and shared experiences with the arts. It is absolutely poised to make an even greater impact through an increasingly vibrant and innovative repertoire of new, ever changing exhibitions and multidisciplinary arts programs of the highest quality.”

About the Contemporary Jewish Museum

With the opening of its new building on June 8, 2008, the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) ushered in a new chapter in its twenty-plus year history of engaging audiences and artists in exploring contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas. The facility, designed by internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, is a lively center where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather to experience art, share diverse perspectives, and engage in hands-on activities. Inspired by the Hebrew phrase “L’Chaim” (To Life), the building is a physical embodiment of the CJM’s mission to bring together tradition and innovation in an exploration of the Jewish experience in the twenty-first century.

Major support for the Contemporary Jewish Museum comes from the Koret and Taube Foundations, who are the Lead Supporters of the 2012/13 exhibition season. The Museum also thanks the Jim Joseph Foundation for its major support of innovative strategies for educating and engaging audiences in Jewish learning. Additional major support is provided by an Anonymous Donor; Bank of America; Alyse Mason Brill and Nathan Brill; Columbia Foundation; The Covenant Foundation; Suzanne and Elliott Felson; Gaia Fund; Denise Garone and Stuart A. Kogod; The John & Marcia Goldman Foundation;  The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund; Walter and Elise Haas Fund; Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties; Maribelle and Stephen Leavitt; the Alexander M. and June L. Maisin Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund; the Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund; Osterweis Capital Management; Alison Gelb Pincus and Mark Pincus; The Skirball Foundation; Ruth and Alan Stein; Roselyne Chroman Swig; Target; and Anita and Ronald Wornick.

For media information or visuals visit our online press gallery or please contact:

Nina Sazevich
Public Relations
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Melanie Samay
Marketing & Communications Associate
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CJM General Information

The Museum is open daily (except Wednesday) 11am–5pm and Thursday, 1–8pm. Museum admission is $12 for adults; $10 for students and senior citizens with a valid ID; and $5 on Thursdays after 5pm. Youth 18 and under are always free. For general information on the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the public may visit the Museum’s web site at or call 415.655.7800. The Contemporary Jewish Museum is located at 736 Mission Street (between Third & Fourth Streets), San Francisco.





736 Mission Street (btwn. 3rd and 4th Streets), San Francisco, CA 94103 | Hours: Daily 11am–5pm, Thursdays 11am–8pm, Closed Wednesdays | 415.655.7800 |