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Printmaking Grad Gives Voice to Holocaust Survivors

When Leah Jachimowicz set out to achieve an MFA in Printmaking from Academy of Art University, she began an even greater journey with historical significance, giving a voice to her grandparents, two Holocaust survivors, and the Jewish community as a whole. Immersing herself in both her art and her family’s painful history, Leah emerged victorious from the “emotional and intense” experience with a collection of work that pays tribute to her grandparents’ survival.

In her thesis work, Leah used materials she remembers from her grandfather’s tailor shop in San Francisco to represent both the life he and her grandmother built after the Holocaust, but also scenes from the concentration camps they endured. “Paralleling the memories I have of my grandparents’ shop – the piles of threads, buttons and clothing to the piles of hair, shoes and bodies from the Holocaust, I am attempting to emulate the struggles of the survivors and my own struggles as a third generation Holocaust survivor,” she said.

Her passion for printmaking and her emotional tie to the subject matter made the thesis a labor of love for the artist. During the three years she worked on her degree, she says it became the only thing she thought about. She worked tirelessly in her studio, making friends with janitors so she could work late into the night.

Leah’s dedication opened doors she never imagined once her collection, Remnants: The Pieces Left Behind, was completed. Her success includes exhibiting at 688 Gallery and garnering praise in the Jewish community, not to mention the pride and happiness on her grandmother’s face.

Leah chose Academy of Art University because she was impressed by the extensive printmaking and book arts department. “I wanted to develop my techniques to the next level and felt that I could do that at the Academy,” she said. MFA students master the techniques of their art and hone their personal vision while working closely with instructors to construct a program that meets their personal needs. 

Leah believes her instructors were key in her achievement. Carrie-Ann Plank, Sarah Barsness and Macy Chadwick, all working artists, guided her through the transformative Master’s process. “ They encouraged me and my artwork to flourish,” said Leah. 

She feels like she’s accomplished something extremely important for her family, for the Jewish community and for herself as an artist. “Graduating from the Academy’s Master’s Fine Art program makes you one of the elite,” she said.

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