Tikkun Olam - Mending the Social Fabric Exhibition

Guided by the Jewish principle of “Tikkun Olam,” which means “repair the world," I have constructed an interactive installation that has been exhibited at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. The exhibition, "TIKKUN OLAM — Mending the Social Fabric," gave museum-goers opportunities to use mending techniques to fix tears, holes, and rips in a symbolic social fabric made from a giant parachute suspended from the ceiling. 

You helped fund the exhibition, which ran from October 2021 to January 2022. Your money helped produce an engaging exhibition that made possible months of communal action and interaction. I also received generous support from the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education (OJMCHE) and Regional Arts and Culture Council. Future contributions will help fund finding other venues and mounting those exhibitions.

What's Next?  Where to Exhibit Tikkun Olam - Mending the Social Fabric?
The exhibition was an artistic, personal  and community success.  Unfortunately, people have seen and experienced so much trauma in the last few years that they still need the calming and meditative experience that Tikkun Olam -Mending the Social Fabric delivers.  

Soon there will be a video about Tikkun Olam - Mending the Social Fabric. 
I have hired a videographer, Kristin Solomon to make a video of the exhibition at OJMCHE. It is both a tour of the exhibition and shows the delight and concentration of the menders.

A giant parachute is at the heart of the installation.  Words and images made from labor-intensive textile techniques embellish the parachute and the walls.
The elements are:    
1.   Hankies embroidered  with my writings and quotes from others encircle the parachute. 

2.  World fabric flags create a colorful and meaningful backdrop. Embroidered text highlights the importance of all Americans. This panel says, Immigrants are a golden thread woven into the American tapestry.

3.  The most exciting parts of the parachute are the mends made by community members. There is still room for new menders in other venues to participate.

Audience participation was central during construction and at the exhibition.
In the Studio and at the Museum
Before Covid  I offered sewing bees in my studio to help me with construction. The camaraderie and community-building aspect of sewing bees was invigorating, fit the theme of the project and helps me get simple repetitive tasks done. The exhibition was to have opened at the height of the 2020 election season. Because of Covid, it was postponed until fall 2021 and I lost my volunteers.  But I did have an extra year and used almost every minute of it.

I was delighted to be among people again when the exhibition opened in October 2021. For almost 40 days I was at OJMCHE to guide visitors in the mending.  Small groups were scheduled and there were many days for spontaneous mending bees. Working together in a group stimulated camaraderie, conversation, and action. People of all backgrounds participated, strengthening our connections to each other.

I am thankful for all the support I have received  during the long process of making and exhibiting Tikkun Olam-Mending the Social Fabric. It has been an exciting journey and I am thrilled to have so many people accompanying me along the road. Join me if you can in this healing experience. The process will continue when new opportunities to exhibit the installation arise.

See More about Tikkun Olam - Mending the Social Fabric and of Bonnie Meltzer's artwork:

Donations (50)

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  • Linda Adamson
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Steve Raymen
    • $200 
    • 2 yrs
  • Heidi Musgrave
    • $25 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $150 
    • 2 yrs
  • Arlene Rosenblum
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
See all


Bonnie Meltzer
Portland, OR

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