Jaz Erenberg, 31, paints to bridge socioeconomic gaps in the Baltimore community.
After finishing her service in the Israel Defense Forces, Erenberg attended Shankar University. She then transferred to the Maryland Institute College of Art and received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts focused on sculpture.
After graduating, Erenberg dabbled as an art teacher and worked with Art with a Heart, an organization that strives to enhance the lives of people in need through visual art. Now, Erenberg works full time as a self-employed muralist, designer and community artist.
Erenberg lives in Fells Point with her husband Doron Erenberg and her stepson Aiden Erenberg.
How would you describe your relationship with Judaism?
I was brought up in an Israeli household that taught me to appreciate tradition. Being Jewish is part of my diverse heritage and plays a role in my art practice.
Did you always know you wanted to do art professionally?
Yes, I have always been a passionate creator. Since my early years, I was never without a sketchbook in hand. I have always gravitated toward art. My family really fostered my creativity and gave me the support I needed to become a successful artist.
Why did you decide to focus your work on socioeconomic gaps encountered in the city and address issues ranging from education to homelessness?
Baltimore has such an eclectic identity, mostly because the neighborhoods are so different from one another. My community art projects work to connect these eclectic neighborhoods in an effort to connect the city. Creating community and fostering empathy tend to be the driving force behind my work. Baltimore has been a consistent source of inspiration. Like in any city, we are home to widespread socioeconomic disparities. It is in these gaps that I try to create artistic bridges that facilitate discussions about improving ties between communities.
How do you feel art can make a difference for these issues?
I strive to create public spaces that are a reflection of the people that build, maintain and uphold our city. Valuing community engagement during the design and installation phases helps to reignite a sense of ownership and pride within those neighborhoods. It also ensures that, together, we are telling the unique story of each community. Public art has the power to transform and reimagine space, while giving a voice to the community.
What do you do outside of art for fun?
I enjoy gardening in my small backyard urban garden and sailing.