Sara Harwin

The Artist

Sara Harwin’s love of both art-making and Jewish learning come from being raised in a home filled with Yiddishkeit, Her early Jewish education at the Sholem Aleichem Institute in Detroit, Michigan and many years at Camp Tamarack enriched her sense of Jewish community. Later, she studied Hebrew and art history of the Middle East at the University of Michigan where she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. At Michigan she gained first-hand experience in printing under the tutelage of artist and author Emil Weddige. Upon her arrival in Portland, Oregon in 1969, she went on to study clay work with Wally Schwab at Marylhurst College, incorporating her figurative approach to art onto dishware and freestanding sculptures. Her work has been exhibited in numerous group and one-woman gallery and museum shows, while her ritual items are widely treasured by individuals and communities.

Sara Harwin’s activism in communal and congregational Jewish life led her to become a founder of The Egalitarian Shul, a lay-led service in Portland, Oregon. She also served as the President of the Women’s Division of Portland, held the position of Education Chair on the Women’s Department of the Council of Jewish Federations National Board, and was President of the Board of Portland Jewish Academy. She traveled as an advocate and workshop leader for Project Kesher to Kiev, Ukraine. Her adult bat mitzvah with her daughter, Lise Harwin, not only deepened her Jewish skills and ability to interpret Torah, it also fed her hunger to be able to interpret the Torah and Jewish prayer in Hebrew and through her art.

Harwin Studios was established in 1970 and in early 1973 Sara was printing her own lithographs with her husband, Fred, as her assistant. By 1990, Sara had transitioned to working in fabrics and had modified her studio to incorporate sewing and sewing machines, as well as an area for painting on silk. The addition of a computer system in early 1996 allowed Sara to draw, design and manipulate graphic ideas.

Sara began Hebrew Studies in 2011 with Dr. Stephen Carver and Rabbi Dr. Goldie Milgram, while attending many decades of learning at the Federation General Assemblies, Reform, Conservative and Jewish Renewal retreats and conferences. Sara and her husband travelled to Israel as community representatives on many Federation missions. Sara Harwin began drawing upon her learning to create the Hebrew font and patented method for the creating the Illuminated Letters exhibition. She travels widely with exhibitions of her work, has earned honors and commissions as her fusion of art and love of Jewish life and learning continues to grow.

Major Exhibitions

Here are some highlights from Sara Harwin's major exhibitions:

Date Event
2014 “Illuminated Letters: Threads of Connection”, Installation, Oregon Jewish Museum , Portland, OR
2006 “Threads of Connection”, joint show with Fred Harwin, Bonnie Kahn's Gallery
2001 Works of Faith, National juried show, First Presbyterian Church, Portland, OR
1995 Liturgical Guild of Ohio, Biennial Exhibition, Capital University, OH
1993 “Contemporary Jewish Art by Jewish Artists”, Oregon Jewish Museum, Portland, OR
Liturgical Guild of Ohio, Biennial Exhibition, Capital University, OH
1991 Liturgical Guild of Ohio, Biennial Exhibition, Capital University, OH
1990 Two person show (with Fred Harwin), Artquake, Portland, OR
1991 Liturgical Guild of Ohio, Biennial Exhibition, Capital University, OH
1989 M Coe Gallery, Portland, OR
1988 Sun River Art Invitational, Sun River, OR
1987 Sun River Art Invitational, Sun River, OR
Liturgical Guild of Ohio, Biennial Exhibition, Capital University, OH
1986 Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, Architecture, National Competition/Awards Exhibit, Magnes Museum, Berkeley, CA
1985 One-woman show, Elizabeth S Fine Museum, Temple Beth Israel, San Francisco, CA
1983 National Council/Art in Jewish Life, Juried show, American Jewish Congress, New York, NY
1982 Invitational Group Show, Boston College, Boston, MA
1976 “Rainbow Dancers”, One woman show, Gallery West, Portland, OR
1975 Four woman show, Judah L Magnes Museum, Berkeley, CA
1974 “Oregon Artists Under 35”, Invitational Show, Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR
One woman show, White Bird Gallery, Cannon Beach, OR
Annual Valley Exhibition, Juried Show, Corvallis Art Center, Corvallis, OR

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Conference Exhibitor

Here are some highlights from Sara Harwin's conference exhibits:

Date Event
2003 Union of American Hebrew Congregations
2002 Five Pillars of Conservative Judaism, Conference 2002, Washington, DC
1999, 2001 Union of American Hebrew Congregations
1994-1995 Rosen Group, Buyers Market, Philadelphia, PA
1993 Five Pillars of Conservative Judaism, Conference
1986-1987 Art Expo NY, New York, NY
Union of American Hebrew Congregations
1985 Art Expo NY, New York, NY
Art Expo CAL. Los Angeles, CA

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Commissions

Highlights from Commissions of Sara Harwin's work. Visit the Commissions page of Harwin Studios to learn more and see some of this work.

Commissions Commissions Commissions
Torah Mantles, Yom Chol/Yom Tov Congregation Anshei Israel Tucson, AZ
Parochet, Amud, Yom Chol/Yom Tov Congregation Shaarie Torah Portland, OR
Ark Doors (Parochet) Congregation Ahavat Achim Portland, OR
Chuppah (Wedding Canopy) Congregation Neveh Shalom Portland, OR
Torah Mantles (set of 6) Congregation Neveh Shalom Portland, OR
Elijah’s Chair Congregation Neveh Shalom Portland, OR
Torah Mantle Congregation Anshe Emet Chicago, IL
Wedding Parochet Temple Israel Portsmouth, NH
Torah Mantles Temple Beth El Chappaqua, NY
Torah Mantles Chayai Shalom Temple North Easton, MA
High Holiday Torah Mantles Chayai Shalom Temple North Easton, MA

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Honors

Here are some highlights from honors Sara Harwin has received for her work.

Date Event
2001 Image selected for Hallmark Cards Kansas City
1995 Honorable Mention, Liturgical Guild of Ohio, Biennial Exhibition
1993 National Calendar Competition (1/16 selected), United Synagogues of America
1987 National Calendar Competition (1/16 selected), United Synagogues of America
Award/Artistic Merit, Sanctuary renovation project, United Synagogues of America
1985 Image selected for UNICEF cards

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