Photographs by CH's Daniel Levin tell story behind Violins of Hope

A photograph by Daniel Levin in his exhibit, Amnon's Workshop, which documents the man behind the Violins of Hope project.

An exhibit of photographs by Cleveland Heights resident Daniel Levin documents an Israeli man’s lifelong mission to preserve violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust.

The exhibition—Amnon’s Workshop—features 75 large-scale prints and is on display at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, 25701 Science Park Drive, in Beachwood.

The photographs detail the work of master violinmaker Amnon Weinstein, the man behind the Violins of Hope project. Weinstein lovingly restores and gives new voice to stringed instruments that survived the horrors of the Holocaust, even when their owners perished.

Levin—an associate professor of photography at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C)—traveled to Israel in early 2015 to capture intimate images of Weinstein and his work, which conveys a story of endurance and resilience through the power of music.

“I've always felt grateful to have access to people and places few have,” Levin said. “In the case of my time with Amnon, I am especially appreciative. He's a wonderful man who had an idea that likely no one before him had even considered. That is creativity.

“But taking his idea to fruition, and to do so to the degree that he has, is simply remarkable,” Levin added. “We are all beneficiaries of Amnon's works.”

The free exhibit will be open to the public on Oct. 11 and Nov. 8, 1–4 p.m., in the Roe Green Gallery of the Jewish Federation’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Building. Appointments to view the exhibit on other days, and group tours, can be scheduled by e-mailing israelarts@jfccleve.org or calling 216-593-2856.

Amnon’s Workshop is just one exhibit in Violins of Hope Cleveland, a landmark project among seven premier nonprofit organizations in Cleveland that will bring instruments restored by Weinstein to Northeast Ohio. For a complete list of events, visit www.violinsofhopecle.org.

Levin’s photographs offer an insider’s perspective into Weinstein’s eclectic workshop and his forensic-like approach to the restoration process, and provide the backstory for other Violins of Hope Cleveland programming and events.

This exhibition of Levin’s work is presented by the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection, a program of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and received support from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

As an artist, Levin’s work often questions truth while exploring the post-modern tenet of the existence of multiple truths. He has curated and contributed to many documentary photo exhibits.

Aside from his teaching and art practice, Levin accepts commissions to make environmental portraits—an endeavor that has taken him to 40 states and overseas—and has photographed world leaders and luminaries.

John Horton

John Horton is media relations manager at Tri-C.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 6:38 PM, 10.05.2015