JCC Manhattan To Receive $20 Million Gift and Jenny Holzer Artwork

By Robin Pogrebin, The New York Times

The J.C.C. Manhattan on the Upper West Side will be renamed the Marlene Meyerson J.C.C. in honor of a $20 million gift from the Meyerson Family Foundation, which is believed to be one of the largest donations ever made to a Jewish Community Center in the United States.

The foundation — which made the donation in the name of Marlene Meyerson, a philanthropist who died earlier this year — has also commissioned a site-specific artwork for the J.C.C. by Jenny Holzer.

The artist Jenny Holzer in her exhibition space, Building 6 at MASS MoCA. She will create a site-specific artwork for the J.C.C.CreditNathaniel Brooks for The New York Times

To create the installation, the J.C.C. will ask its members over the next several months to share their own words or quotes by others that address the question: “What does community mean?” Ms. Holzer will choose a handful of these to chisel onto marble benches and stone plaques throughout the building on Amsterdam Avenue at 76th Street.

Ms. Holzer will also incorporate hundreds of other such word contributions into a virtual piece of art that will map the building’s interior and exterior, as well as an augmented-reality smartphone app that will allow users to “see” the words as if they, too, were actually engraved. The artwork will be unveiled at a naming ceremony in the spring. The naming rights will revert to the J.C.C. in 30 years.

Ms. Meyerson’s daughter, Marti, has supported the J.C.C. for more than 20 years as a founder, board chairwoman and as an active member. The building opened in 2002.

“This gift enables us to secure our foundation,” said Joy Levitt, the J.C.C.’s executive director. “We’re going to begin now to talk with our community about what their dreams are for the next 15 years.”


Grace Astrove