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Jewish Culture & Ideas

Democracy Sounds Good: A Conversation on Artists, Arts, and Activism

The year 2020 has been defined by a series of unprecedented circumstances in our world, nation, and daily lives. We are in the midst of a civil rights movement, a global health crisis, and a destabilized economy. As we live out these events, the foundations of our democracy are also being challenged. As a museum, one of our core values is the conviction that art can move people and inspire real change. We look to artists to help us see, process, criticize, and reflect on the events that happen in our world. Art and artists create space for connection in times of crisis, and offer a tangible path towards meaningful dialogue and change. Join The CJM’s curatorial team—Heidi Rabben and Qianjin Montoya—as they reflect on the art and artists that are inspiring and challenging them in this moment.

This program was originally presented via Zoom on August 21, 2020.

About Democracy Sounds Good

Democracy Sounds Good is a response to ever-unfolding current events, where we’ll host discussions among The CJM’s curators and educators as they discuss how art and artists help shape our ongoing national conversations.

About the SpeakerS
Headshot of Heidi Rabben
Heidi Rabben
Senior Curator

Heidi Rabben is a curator and writer based in San Francisco. She is currently senior curator at The Contemporary Jewish Museum and adjunct professor in the MFA Design program at California College of the Arts. Rabben's practice includes curating, writing, editing, and research, with a focus on international contemporary video and performance art. She has worked on projects in the Bay Area, Detroit, New Delhi, South Korea, and Canada. Prior to her position at The CJM, Rabben was the BICI curator-in-residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada, and has previously held positions as director and curator of events and exhibitions at KADIST, curatorial fellow at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, and writing fellow for the Asian Contemporary Arts Consortium. Rabben’s writing has been published in Afterimage, Art Practical, Daily Serving, and San Francisco Arts Quarterly, as well as in exhibition catalogs and artist publications. Rabben holds a Master of Arts in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley.

Headshot of Qianjin Montoya
Qianjin Montoya
Assistant Curator

Qianjin Montoya is assistant curator at The CJM. Her practice includes curating, writing, and research, with a focus on institutional histories and the narratives of women and people of color. Her curatorial research has been featured in exhibitions at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco) and in programming at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She is is an Emerging Arts Professionals (EAP) SF/Bay Area Fellow alumni and is the current Americas Collection Research Fellow at Kadist in San Francisco. Montoya holds a Master of Arts in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts, and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Public Programs at The CJM are made possible thanks to generous support from Grants for the Arts and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.