BCI participants are encouraged to express themselves through the arts. The balance of creative arts and pluralistic Jewish learning at BCI reflects our holistic approach to exploring and deepening Jewish identity. Guided by our talented artist-educators, BCI participants find their artistic voice and create new connections to Judaism. Each summer, 5 arts workshops are offered. Examples of arts workshops offered in the past are: dance, music, theatre, creative writing, narrative puppetry, photography, and visual arts.
Music is a powerful part of the BCI experience. Participants in the Music workshop create their own songs under the guidance of the Isaac D. Sinaiko BCI Endowed Chair in Music. BCI participants have many opportunities to play instruments and sing during the week and over Shabbat. Participants are likely to find a love for old favorites, learn new songs and melodies, and write their own music.
The songwriting workshop pushed each of us to find his or her inner melody. If you're going to go outside of your comfort zone and perform your own music, BCI is the most supportive and loving place to do it."
“The music workshop helped me to be more expressive. I have even come up with my own melodies for traditional texts, which has helped me relate to the texts from my own perspective.”
The Theatre workshop invites participants to express themselves creatively, while exploring a connection to Judaism through theatre. Participants learn acting techniques, play theatre games and activities, and create original monologues and scenes. Under the guidance of the Theatre Artist-in-Residence, participants collaborate to create an original culminating performance.
"The theatre workshop inspired and ignited a fire within me. The workshop emphasized our interactions with others and the power of self-expression."
Participants in the Dance workshop experience the unity of body and soul through dance and movement. Under the guidance of the Dance Artist-in-Residence, participants create a unique and dynamic final performance. Israeli dance is also a strong BCI tradition. The Dance workshop is open to participants of all levels.
"Choosing the dance workshop was outside my comfort zone. I found that new experiences that seem scary in the beginning are a gateway to finding your true self and what you are passionate about!”
"The dance workshop changed my life. I was always self-conscious when I danced. The workshop really helped me to come out of my shell. I know I can go home and teach the dances to my home community. I never thought of myself as a dancer but thanks to BCI, now I do."
In the Photography/ Photojournalism workshop, participants learn about photography using state-of-the-art equipment, as well as the outdoor, natural setting of BCI’s 2,700-acre campus.
"I don't think I could possibly say enough good things about this workshop. Now I actually know how to use my camera - which has really helped me see the world differently and has opened my eyes to things I never saw before. It was an incredible experience that I know I'll take back with me into my life at home."
Visual Arts (2D and 3D)
In the 2-D Visual Art workshop, participants discover their personal artistic process while gaining technical skills. Media explored include print-making, painting, drawing, collage, and performative 2D practices.
In the 3-D Visual Art workshop, participants work with multiple media, including organic material and everyday objects, to create a unique work of art that is just as much about the creative process as it is about the product.
"The experience I had in my arts workshop was unforgettable, challenging, and so fulfilling. I felt as though I unleashed the artist I did not know I had inside of me. Now, I am drawing and painting on a regular basis and have started to decorate my office and my friends’ homes with my artwork. I am so incredibly grateful for the experience I had in my 2-D art workshop!"
"I certainly stepped out of my comfort zone when I chose to take 2-D Visual arts for my workshop. Having no previous art background whatsoever, I was pleased to find out that the workshop was just as much about personal growth."
The BCI Creative Writing Workshop experience invites participants to take the phrase “people of the book” to a whole new level. In a safe and inspiring environment, participants are guided to use language to explore identity and self-expression through the context of Jewishness. Through prompt-based guided writing exercises and workshopping, participants add to their own body of work.
"Before I came to BCI, I had maybe written two poems ever and they were for school. Now, I feel like I love poetry, want to keep writing it, and maybe even want to perform it."
"It was a pleasure to learn from such an experienced professional, and she was able to give the structure, prompts, guidance and confidence for everyone in the room to feel like they created works of writing that they could feel proud of."
"She gave me permission to just write without judgment or edit at first. and confidence to share and be vulnerable in a way i previously haven't. it was freeing to feel like no matter what we did, it would be poetry, and we didn't have to follow any particular rules or academia."