The Cave is an experimental multimedia piece with video by Beryl Korot and music by Steve Reich. It focuses on the significance of the story of Abraham and his burial place to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. It was brought to St. Louis in March 2017 through the efforts of Arts & Faith St. Louis’ Community Programming Initiative Chair, Mont Levy, and was performed by the nationally acclaimed group, Alarm Will Sound.
Mont has noted that the goal of The Cave Project as is the goal of Arts & Faith, was to help build a more harmonious St Louis using the unique power of the arts, inspire thoughtful discussion among diverse audiences, bring people together, and bridge divides through shared experiences. In addition to the power of the musical production, The Cave Project provided an impetus for a broad range of community programming that provided a framework for increasing understanding and respect.
One of these programs was the development of an interactive, interfaith experience for teens. The capacity to tell the story of this teen journey through a video enables us to share this transformative experience of interfaith youth engagement and learning with a wider audience. We are fortunate to have, in Caleb Wylde, of Wylde Brothers Productions, a talented videographer, deeply committed to the goals of this project.
The cost of the video has been covered by a generous grant from The Rubin (of blessed memory) and Gloria Feldman Family Education Institute of the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center in Memory of Gloria M. Goldstein (HMLC). We are deeply grateful for this financial support. The broader mission of HLMC is to communicate the dangers of apathy, hatred, prejudice and discrimination in our world today and to stress the inherent worth and dignity of human life. We believe that this teen video project reflects a similar mission.
The video traces the following areas:
The interactive experiences, expertly facilitated by Beth Damsgaard-Rodriguez, Director of Interfaith Quest, included dynamic conversations, visits to Houses of Worship, and creative expressions.
2. Service Project: CANstruction St. Louis Science Center
Teen Leaders of the Cave Project Dialogue Group worked along with local youth representing a range of faith groups, including Hindu and Jain to build a mural of cans (CANstruction) to create an image that represented shared faith values. This CANstruction remained on display at the St. Louis Science Center for a month.
3. Music: Arts & Faith St. Louis Annual Interfaith Concert
Interfaith engagement and relationship building through members of St. Louis teen faith based musical groups working together in preparation for and participation in the concert. Skillfully facilitated by Quintin Reed, Production Coordinator, Sheldon Concert Hall.
4. The Visual Arts: St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM)
Interfaith engagement and exploration through a deeply researched and powerful tour of relevant pieces of art at the St. Louis Art Museum curated by museum docents, Shawnessey Custer and Bill Sitzer.
Warm thanks to the teen participants and to Beth Damsgaard-Rodriguez for their passion for this journey. And, our thanks to the community partners cited above for their invaluable participation. Thanks also to Elizabeth Schwartz, PhD, and William Schwartz of Schwartz & Associates Creative for their valuable input.
Batya Abramson-Goldstein | Chair, Arts & Faith St. Louis Community Engagement
Arts & Faith St. Louis Cave Project: Teen Dialogue
Natalie Chayet Nusach Hari Bnai Zion Congregation
Hira Hamirani Daar-Ul-Islam Mosque
Hamza Khan Daar-Ul-Islam Mosque
Muhaarij Khan Daar-Ul-Islam Mosque
Adina Levy Traditional Congregation
Blake Lyons Parkway United Church of Christ
Alex Rico Holy Trinity Catholic Church
Lydia Roesler Parkway United Church of Christ
St. Louis Science Center: The CANstruction Service Project
YES (Youth Exploring Science) Ambassadors
The Center for Indian Cultural Education Bal Vihar
Arts & Faith St. Louis Interfaith Concert
Chloe' Kellom NuVoices Central Baptist Church
Sammie Atkins Rising Generation St. Louis Youth Chorus the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
St. Louis Art Museum Interfaith Tour
Representatives of all groups listed above