By Bonny Zanardi

Happy 2018!  The New Year is off to a great start with a variety of exhibits and activities throughout the Peninsula.

Jewish diversity

The Peninsula Jewish Community Center Gallery presents paintings by Sam Renaissance and photographs by Jay Sand and Bryan Schwartz in the exhibit Jews of Color: A Renaissance. The works are on view through Feb. 26.

The exhibition explores communities of practicing Jews of color who live in locations geographically and culturally distant from the country of Israel and large cities in North America and Western Europe.

Renaissance, an Oakland painter, created large canvasses inspired by photographs by Sand and Schwartz. For his paintings, Renaissance has taken an urban modernist approach, using bold outlines and brilliant color.

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Renaissance, an African-American who is not Jewish, seeks to capture the essence of images documenting isolated Jewish communities in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Subjects of the source photographs in this exhibit range from the Benei Menashe tribes of northeastern India to the Shona Jews of Rusape, Zimbabwe, to the former Marranos of Venta Prieta, Mexico.

The exhibit is the latest project by Scattered Among the Nations, which seeks to educate about Jewish diversity.

The Peninsula Jewish Community Center is at 800 Foster City Boulevard, Foster City. The phone number is 650-212-7522. Hours are 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. (New Year’s Day the gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) Call 650-378-2751.

Views and hues

The exhibition Illuminating Insights, featuring work by Peninsula artist Sloane Joseph, opens January 10 at the Caldwell Gallery. She enjoys capturing the “behaviors of light” in her work. She uses both oils and pastels.

Joseph studied at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, earning her MFA this past spring. Her show will be on view through Feb. 26.

The Caldwell Gallery is at 400 County Center, Redwood City. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

The Community Gallery, located on the lower level of the 400 County Center building, is featuring “BAY AREA PAINTED: Landscapes by Mark Monsarrat” from January 11 through February 27.

Monsarrat holds five college degrees, among them a BFA from the California College of the Arts and an MFA from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. He has won numerous awards for his paintings.

The Rotunda Gallery, at 555 County Center, is showing sculptural pieces by Paul Powell from January 12 to June 28. He uses discarded materials to create his art. His sculptures are influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien’s works.

All three galleries are curated by Boris Koodrin. E-mail boriskoodrin@gmail.com.

Endless possibilities

Happenstance, a solo show by Nathalie Strand, opens January 10 at The Main Gallery in Redwood City. An opening reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. January 13.

Strand seeks to discover “the extraordinary in the ordinary.” She says she is “fascinated with very mundane things, details, corners, shadows, stains.”

Her latest works are a composite series, blending figurative photos with textures and details. “When merged, they surprise me into telling stories I didn’t even know existed,” she notes.

Her exhibit will be on view through February 11. The Main Gallery is at 1018 Main Street. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Call 650-701-1018.

Poetry readings

Coastside Poetry presents Kathleen McClung and Julie Bruck on January 9 at Café Society, 522 Main Street, Half Moon Bay. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the readings beginning at 7 p.m. An open mic period will begin at 8 p.m. Visit http://.coastsidepoetry.org.

The year is off to a good start! May you find much to enjoy.

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