Jordana Rubenstein-Edberg is a multi-disciplinary artist focused on creating spaces for community dialogue. She is primarily interested in how collaborative art practices foster cross-cultural connection, act as political commentary, and facilitate healing in situations of trauma. The majority of Jordana’s pieces take place out of the traditional artistic settings; in buses, parks and fields, and utilize interviews and historical events as a basis for creation. A Washington, D.C., native, Jordana grew up in a theater of the oppressed based program at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. It was here where she began to understand the power of storytelling to shift perceptions, build relationships, and create unity from fragmentation.
Jordana graduated from Bard College with a double major in Human Rights and Theatre & Performance. While at Bard College, she co-organized the Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative, the only student organized education project in the West Bank, funded by the Davis Projects for Peace and the Violet Jabara Foundation. The project resulted in biannual art programming for young people, the development of a library and a clinic, as well as connecting young people living in towns impacted by settlement expansion with communities in upstate New York. This project continues to have a profound effect on her thinking around art and advocacy. What can a mural or a puppet show do to shift people’s connection to a political issue and thus, the policies created?
Jordana has also co-created art pieces with undocumented youth in upstate New York, families seeking asylum in Berlin, artists in the New York City incarceration system, and middle school students in the South Bronx. Her recent theater piece, From the River to the Sea, explored the intense dynamics between Jewish settlers and Palestinians in Hebron, the West Bank. To create this piece, she lived in Hebron and spent several weeks interviewing local Palestinians and Jewish settlers regarding their experiences.
In 2017, Jordana received the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, an annual research grant awarded to forty people across the United States. This grant requires its fellows to design their own year long program. She worked with a variety of indigenous communities in Central and South America, as well as India, who are engaged in traditional crafts related to the maintenance of ‘home’ — both as a cultural artifact and a material fact. As an MFA Social Practice student at the George Washington University, she is currently working on A City, A Sanctuary which explores the different conception of safety and belonging in Washington, D.C.