Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Memory Project Productions Inc

  • New York, NY
  • www.memoryprojectproductions.com

Mission Statement

The mission of The Memory Project Productions is to promote empathy by looking at history through the lens of personal stories and art.

Core Beliefs:
• As descendants of Holocaust survivors we have a particular responsibility to fight intolerance and promote understanding.
• Sharing stories through creativity makes tangible connections to the past and emotional bonds between people in the present.
• Experiencing art provides opportunities to see and connect with the world more fully.
• The Memory Project is a platform for investigating the past, connecting it with the present and sharing what we learn across generations and cultures.

Main Programs

  1. Education
  2. Film and New Media
  3. The Memory Project Exhibits
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

We serve youth and adults both domestically and internationally, providing exhibits and educational programs for museums, schools and community centers. The materials and programs combine story and art to teach about the Holocaust and extend to encompass contemporary experiences of trauma, loss and resilience. Through exhibits, films, workshops and new media we promote inter-generational communication and resilience, teach history, and demystify the creative process. Sharing stories and creativity creates engagement, builds connections and promotes compassion in diverse groups of people.

ruling year

2008

Executive Director since 2008

Self-reported

Ms. Laurie Weisman

Creative Director since 2008

Self-reported

Ms. Roz Jacobs

Keywords

Self-reported

Holocaust education, art education, remembrance, civil society, community-building

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EIN

26-2475359

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Film, Video (A31)

Museum & Museum Activities (A50)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Paradigm Research and Consulting has studied the impact of Memory Project activities in the U.S. and Poland and results are summarized below. This video demonstrates the project in action. https://vimeo.com/146803563

United States
In the U.S. impact is demonstrated through responses to open-ended questions to both teachers and students. The responses indicate that:

The Memory Project helps participants assimilate, synthesize and process information into a new “knowing" (i.e., 'I was aware of WWII and the Holocaust, I had that information before; now I know it in a qualitatively different way').

Teachers and students come to an appreciation of the creative process, and observation as a component of that process.
• They build from the simple observation of light and shade to make a statement using a different language, the language of art: tone, texture, line, movement, contrast.
• They discover that by taking time to look and struggling to express their perceptions, they see beyond their first impressions.
• They discover that challenging themselves to persist even when frustrated is rewarding—a valuable lesson that applies to every aspect of learning.

The El Paso Holocaust Museum teacher training met or exceeded all the educators' expectations in terms of being informative and providing useful and classroom-relevant ideas and materials.

“More (than met my expectations)! Bringing art to history was exceptionally useful for any class and content."

“Exceeded expectations in terms of giving me something I can use TOMORROW in the classroom."

“Absolutely (met my expectations) – even more so – the information concerning the personal experiences and how to get a feeling for it was very helpful."

“…this presentation far surpassed my expectations. I learned so much about personal Holocaust stories and art shading."

“Yes, very good presentation and explanation on how to incorporate the Memory Project in a classroom setting."

“Will be able to engage and encourage students to learn and know about the Holocaust."

“Very useful, practical and easy to incorporate (into my teaching)."

Poland
Our impact in Poland was measured through a formal study with questionnaires and online surveys. It demonstrated that:
Participants feel greater understanding of Jewish people, their suffering and resilience after World War II, more interest in creating art, and greater empathy for people in their community. (Paradigm Research and Consulting, Evaluation Report: Memory Project Impact in Poland, 2014 https://www.dropbox.com/s/kkth03f1isidmbx/The%20Memory%20Project%20Evaluation%20Report%20Executive%20Summary-2014_A4.pdf?dl=0)

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Education

The Memory Project exhibits, workshops, and video and print materials help youth and adults learn about the Holocaust, discover that they are part of history and their stories matter, and experience themselves as creators and public speakers. Programs have reached thousands of people in the United States, Europe and Israel providing Holocaust and visual arts education, as well as interviewing, listening and verbal skills. Multigenerational participants learn how to connect with others, documenting and sharing stories of immigration, war, illness, discrimination, civil rights and family life.

Our turnkey curriculum kit includes everything a leader needs to conduct a Memory Project hands-on workshop, film screening, or book group. In addition, we created a literacy component--a 64-page memoir that is a mother-daughter dialogue of remembrance lauded by people such as James McBride, the author of hugely successful memoir, "The Color of Water" and 2014 National Book Award winner for "The Good Lord Bird." (See his comments in the OUR STORY section of our website. ( http://memoryprojectproductions.com/finding-kalman-boy-six-million/ )

We team up with organizations to train teachers to use The Memory Project curriculum materials. In the U.S. partners include museums, public schools, Jewish Federations, and Holocaust studies programs. In Poland, we partner with the Galicia Jewish Museum and in Hungary, with the Zachor Foundation for Social Remembrance.

Programs are available to students and to the general public. The portraits created in our workshops are published in a Remembrance Gallery on our website as a living memorial to Holocaust victims, survivors and rescuers.
http://memoryprojectproductions.com/remembrance-portraits/

Category

Educational Programs

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Adults

Budget

Program 2

Film and New Media

Our award-winning documentary "Finding Kalman" is an intimate look at four generations of one family, from a Holocaust survivor to her great-grandson. It's broadcast on PBS, distributed on DVD, and shown throughout Poland. It is... "beautiful, sad and real... a way to help ...share in the universal nature of all of this — loss but also healing and joy. This is a triumph of the human spirit and life." Susan Magsamen, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The film has been broadcast the major public television stations across the United States and remains available to millions of viewers on thirteen.org. It's been used for social work students and medical professionals at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital. Internationally, it is shown throughout Poland and was screened at events Slovakia, and Estonia, including the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn. It is has been subtitled in Polish and Hungarian and Russian (for use in Russian-speaking communities in Estonia).

NEW MEDIA. Our website: memoryprojectproductions.com serves as a portal for downloading curriculum materials and as an interactive exhibit of remembrance portraits made around the world. We are continuing to develop programs that will make it a compelling site to visit and interact with. The Portrait of the Month feature highlights one portrait and story that is displayed on the site's home page. We are developing additional themed programs to motivate people to research and submit new portraits and stories. We are also using social media including Facebook and Twitter to expand the project's reach and participation.

Category

Electronic Media

Population(s) Served

Adults

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

None

Budget

Program 3

The Memory Project Exhibits

The Memory Project exhibits interweave a Holocaust survivor’s story of the brother she lost with images of her daughter’s painted portraits of that boy. The nine portraits, adjacent to the videos, enable viewers to shift back and forth from witness to audience. Larger-scale portraits and wall panels continue the excavation of the visual, historical and emotional realities of loss, trauma and transformation. There are two versions of the exhibit--adapted for larger and smaller scale venues. The multimedia aspects of the exhibit have proven to engage audiences from children to senior citizens. The international exhibits are bilingual, and the templates we've created make them adaptable and replicable for various countries. There are exhibits touring the U.S., Poland and Hungary at this writing.

Category

Museums

Population(s) Served

Adults

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

None

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The mission of The Memory Project Productions is to promote empathy by looking at history through the lens of personal stories and art.

    We make history personal and tangible through international exhibits, documentaries, and educational outreach that incorporate art and personal stories. Stories begin with those of Holocaust survivors and victims and extend to personal histories. At the same time, we demystify the artistic process.

    In eastern Europe, the work concentrates on Holocaust education and remembrance. In the U.S., programming includes Holocaust and visual arts education, as well as interviewing, listening and verbal documentary skills. Multigenerational participants learn how to connect with others, documenting and sharing stories of immigration, war, illness, discrimination, civil rights and family life.

    The five-year plan:

    1) Scale the Memory Project up by training staff at partner organizations, including museums, libraries, schools, and religious and secular institutions, extending the reach of Memory Project programs.

    2) Expand the use of Memory Project exhibits, portraits and lessons in Poland and Hungary, and introduce these materials and to Estonia, Croatia and France.

    3) Provide support and channels of expression to those dealing with loss and trauma, including veterans and people dealing with life-threatening illnesses.

    4) Deepen the impact of the Memory Project's remembrance gallery by adding short-form essays, written by the contributors, to complement their remembrance portraits.

    5) Increase the global audience of the Memory Project's archive of more than 1,000 portraits and stories; amplify the level of worldwide participation in digital-only initiatives, such as enabling the submissions of source photographs of victims and survivors of the Holocaust and original remembrance portraits.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    EXHIBITS
    • Bring our large-scale multimedia Memory Project exhibit to university and history museums in the United States, in addition to the Holocaust Museums where we've already held successful workshops.
    • Expand reach in Europe using by making use of easy-to-install bilingual traveling exhibit materials.
    • Reach out to the general public, as well as students, and create a context for intergenerational conversation as well as a framework for conducting workshops and encouraging research.

    EDUCATION
    • Expand the dissemination of the curriculum kit through marketing efforts and partnerships with libraries, museums, educational leaders and the educational publisher, Pearson.
    • In Poland: build upon existing relationships with the Galicia Jewish Museum and Jagellonian University
    • In Hungary: expand program with the Zachor Foundation for Social Remembrance

    FILM AND NEW MEDIA
    • Continue to screen the award-winning film Finding Kalman, produced by the Memory Project, in the U.S. and internationally. The film is currently available in English, Polish, Hungarian and Russian.
    • Create a series of short videos to syndicate on YouTube and other relevant platforms that engage audiences in the stories of Holocaust survivors and their lives during and after World War II.
    • Develop relationships with international audiences through social media and digital channels.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Since 2008, we have proven our ability to design and manage powerful exhibits, work with diverse partners and deliver effective curriculum packages. The Memory Project has strong partnerships in the U.S., Poland and Hungary, as well as colleagues in Germany, Israel and Croatia. Our staff has expertise in fine art, museum education, television production, curriculum design and managing complex projects. We've been recognized by leading Holocaust scholars and educators as well as by religious leaders, teachers and students for the quality, originality, and effectiveness of our exhibits, curriculum materials and pedagogy. See testimonials on our website: http://memoryprojectproductions.com/category/testimonials/
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    In addition to measuring the growth of our reach in social media, another important measure of progress is the level of engagement we have with the general public. We track a number of key metrics, including the number of remembrance portraits submitted, as well as the number of people who visit our exhibits, request curriculum kits, use the website and browse the portrait gallery.

    Another measure will be qualitative evaluation: What do people say about the experience? What do they take away from it? What do they find memorable? Are participants learning more about Jewish people or about the Holocaust? Do they actively express appreciation of people different from themselves? Do they demonstrate an interest or appreciation of art and the creative process?

    Our specific and measureable goals for the next five years:
    • 10,000 portraits and stories on our website
    • 100 Memory Project exhibits of locally created art
    • Memory Projects throughout the U.S., especially in areas where the Jewish population is small
    • Memory Projects in Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Croatia, France, Germany and Austria
    • 250 short videos featuring stories of Holocaust survivors
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    To date, we have developed three unique museum exhibits and a template for reproducing bilingual exhibits. We have created a turnkey curriculum kit that is adaptable for different countries and cultures. We have built a web platform for sharing portraits and accumulated 500 portraits. We have active partners in Poland and Hungary and developing relationships in Estonia, Croatia and France. We've begun building a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We have a program in place for measuring impact.

    What we aim to accomplish in the coming years is to achieve greater scale, especially in the U.S., so that the program becomes institutionalized in Holocaust museums, school districts and community-based programs. We would like the program to address other traumas in addition to the Holocaust, specifically serving veterans. We would like to expand to South Africa where there are three Holocaust centers and where people are dealing with the relatively recent experience of apartheid as well as tremendous familial loss due to the ongoing AIDS epidemic.

    We wish to create efficiencies in the process of submitting portraits and writing so that each portrait is accompanied by the artist's thoughts and reflections. We will also be developing the model for our channel of video shorts of Holocaust survivors.
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

We serve youth and adults both domestically and internationally, providing exhibits and educational programs for museums, schools and community centers. The materials and programs combine story and art to teach about the Holocaust and extend to encompass contemporary experiences of trauma, loss and resilience. Through exhibits, films, workshops and new media we promote inter-generational communication and resilience, teach history, and demystify the creative process. Sharing stories and creativity creates engagement, builds connections and promotes compassion in diverse groups of people.

Additional Documents

Social Media

Videos

photos




External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

The Memory Project Productions Inc
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Memory Project Productions Inc

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Ms. Laurie Weisman

Creative Director

Ms. Roz Jacobs

BIO

Laurie Weisman is known for developing innovative programs using media and new technologies to engage learners on both the emotional and cognitive level. Before co-founding The Memory Project Productions in 2008, she held leadership roles in innovative educational companies including Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop), Time For Kids and Scholastic. As Vice President of School Services at Children's Television Workshop, she produced integrated programs that included PBS TV programs, classroom materials and teacher education. She was editorial director for projects at Scholastic and at Time for Kids and produced components for a groundbreaking initiative called The Voyage of the Mimi at the Bank Street College of Education. Along with Roz Jacobs, she produced the film "Finding Kalman" which won two coveted CINE awards and is shown on public television stations across the U.S. and internationally. She has a Masters in Museum Education from Bank Street College and graduated cum laude from Barnard College.

STATEMENT FROM THE Executive Director

"The Memory Project sprung from several interwoven desires: 1) to find a way to keep the voice of the Holocaust survivor alive and vital as the survivors themselves are passing away. 2) to bring people into an artist's creative process so they can experience the vitality of the quest to translate experience onto canvas and 3) to use art as a tool to connect--to the past and to each other. The project is a way to connect people to history and to each other’s humanity. We believe that people's compassion is aroused through the combination of hearing and sharing stories and making the stories tangible through the creative process. We also want to share the resilience of Holocaust survivors whose experience may help others who are dealing with loss and trauma."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Ms. Karen Zelermyer

Karen Zelermyer Consulting

Term: June 2014 - June 2016

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

No

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?