WORD 2018-2019:

The Bruce Geller Memorial Prize

The 2018-2019 Word Grant: Bruce Geller Memorial Prize, a project of American Jewish University’s Institute for Jewish Creativity, supports artists creating projects that explore Jewish ideas, themes, tradition, history, and identity. We believe in supporting a contemporary, vibrant, Jewish cultural landscape in Los Angeles.​

We are pleased to support projects that approach Jewish culture from a variety of perspectives, in terms of discipline, context and thematic elements.

The third annual cohort of Word Grant recipients was selected by a panel of Los Angeles-based art professionals. The nine multi-disciplinary artists chosen to receive awards all approach identity, ethics, and histories differently, yet they each share an interest in the functions, emergence, and presence of the written word and the ways it resonates within Jewish culture. 

The artist grants, which range from $1000 - $2000, will be used in the creation and/or presentation of new work. The projects will be completed within 2019, and will be displayed across Los Angeles. 

  • Dorit Cypis

    Close Your Eyes If You Want to See

    Themes in Judaic literature that address human existence in resonant and metaphoric language will further inform this visual text print series The Sighted, as well as inspire One Another, designed public dialogue circles inviting others into open conversation on “who are we to one another?”


  • Shasha Dothan

    The Wandering Israeli​

    A docu-experimental video and installation created in three countries that shaped the artist’s history, heritage and life: in Germany, as a descendant of holocaust victims; in Israel, her birthplace, as an occupier; and in the USA as an immigrant. 


  • Carol Es

    Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley

    The author's first major work in nonfiction about difficult subjects, such as child molestation, parental neglect, and religious cults, as well as Judaism and finding self-worth. 


  • Cory Hills

    Percussive Storytelling: Old Testament Stories in the 21st Century

    This project aims to enhance understanding of the Torah by infusing these classic stories with musical elements from percussion instruments. The program results in performances at local LA synagogues and Jewish museums, where stories from the Torah will be performed for young audiences.  


  • Rachel Kann

    The Quickening ​

    A spoken-word visual album; a poetry film featuring the writing and performance of Rachel Kann. Directed by Brad Cooper and featuring the visual art of Hillel Smith, and the music of Atom Smith, Laura Escudé, Lila Hood and more.


  • Joshua Krug

    Contemporary Midrashic Practice

    A project that hones in on the intersection of Jewish texts and more traditional secular poetry and marks a moment for artistic reflection in contemporary society. The project encompasses three components- composition of original midrashic poetry related to select themes of universal significance, assembling of Jewish texts on said themes, and artist-led facilitation of midrashic practice in the community.  


  • Jeremy Lawrence

    Shema by Blesd​

    "Same" is a re-imagined song version by the band Blesd of the iconic Jewish prayer with influences of R&B, gospel, and pop music elements.  


  • Ben Ratskoff


    A cultural journal that seeks to amplify the voices of Jewish writers and artists marginalized and excluded for their identities and/or ideas. Through a collaborative collection of text and visual art, the “Tikkun/Repair” issue creates an interdisciplinary archive that explores the relationship between Jewish discourses of cosmic, personal, or social repair and political questions of material or symbolic reparation. 


  • Meital Yaniv


    This is an invitation to expand into the circular triangle created by the contact points of our past circles. This is the melting point of past connections and present transformations, this is the unfolding of community.


WORD Grant: Bruce Geller Memorial Prize

Bruce and Jeannette Geller were influential Los Angeles residents whose passion for creativity and the pursuit of art defined their lives. Bruce Geller was an award-winning Hollywood screenwriter most famous for creating, directing and producing the highly successful TV show, Mission Impossible.

2016 marked the inaugural cycle of the Word Grant for artists and creative practitioners: a multidisciplinary initiative, birthed out of the Bruce Geller Memorial Prize for Screen Writing Arts, instituted in 2006. Since then WORD has supported over 20 LA based creative practitioners who are invested in Jewish themes and in the written word, as text, or in a broader context.