FestivALT is an independent arts collective that produces an annual program of critically minded Jewish art and activism in Kraków, Poland. Blending visual art, theatre, site-specific performance, activist intervention, and community conversation, FestivALT engages with the most vital issues in contemporary Jewish Poland.
After the Holocaust and decades of repression under Communism, Jewish life in Poland is undergoing a revival. That revival is complicated—as fractious as it is full of promise, as tangled as it is exciting. Cut off from its pre-war heritage, contemporary Jewish culture in Poland faces a crisis: either replicate American or Israeli Jewishness or attempt to resurrect the yiddishkeit of the past. FestivALT offers an alternative pathway, one that embraces diverse representations of Jewishness, emphasizes nuanced and critical perspectives, and focuses on the here and now.
Joined by emerging and established artists from Poland and around the world, FestivALT has built an inclusive platform for bold, experimental work that celebrates complexity, challenges assumptions, and welcomes debate.
With humor and sincerity, chutzpah and candor, FestivALT operates at the very heart of contemporary Jewish Poland, enriching the local community with an art practice that speaks to its most central questions.
Kraków is widely recognized as one of the centers of Jewish revival in Poland—indeed, in all of Europe. The contemporary community coprises several local Jewish communities, visiting Jews with their own perspectives on Jewish life and loss in Poland, non-Jewish Poles drawn to Judaism and Jewishness (some with Jewish heritage themselves), and a host of public institutions devoted to Jewish life and history. With its past unreconciled to its present, Jewish renewal in Kraków is caught between the legacies of the Holocaust and Communist repression, as well as the current tides of tourism and gentrification.
FestivALT Krakow operates at the intersection of these forces, presenting bold and experimental art appropriate to the complications of Jewish Krakow. Combining theater, visual art, site-specific performance, activist intervention, and community conversation, FestivALT brings wit, humor, and a bit of chutzpah to the complexities of contemporary Jewish Poland. We invite emerging and established artists from Poland and around the world to share original and exciting work with Kraków audiences.
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