“Keep the Light” – Our Exhibition at the Miles Nadal JCC

This past January 2019 we partnered with the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre to celebrate the immense talent of our Russian Oil Painting class with an exhibition titled “Keep the Light”. The opening Reception for the show was a great opportunity for artists, family, friends and the downtown Toronto community to bear witness to the talent and dedication of this remarkable group.

The Russian Oil Painting program at the Bernard Betel Centre is a cornerstone for many older Russian-speaking artists in the Bathurst-Steeles community. These artists attend the program each week despite numerous family obligations, work schedules, and some physical barriers that come along with aging. When asked why she paints, one of the artists responded, “Painting is the most natural thing for me.”

The show itself was a collection of landscape and still-life paintings. Their collected works captured both a deep shared tradition and highly personal experiences. Russian art institutions have long praised a realist approach. These traditional roots form a foundation for many of the featured artists, and simultaneously creates a jumping-point for more gestural and expressive brushstrokes. Many of these artists grew up in Russia and other Eastern European countries and voyaged to Canada. These experiences provided a complex and particular groundwork for considering land and space.


It was a pleasure and an honour to work closely with Miriam Reisher and Viktoria Berdichevski, the dedicated leaders of this program, to curate the exhibition and celebrate their students. We look forward to more exhibitions and showcasing their hard work.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the works in the photos above, or commissioning the group for a particular project, please contact the Coordinator, Recreation, Jen MacDonald at 416-225-2112, ext. 105 or jenm@betelcentre.org.

For more information about our Art programs at the Bernard Betel Centre, please visit www.betelcentre.org/arts

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