Employee Spotlight: Avi benEzra

There are so many people who help keep The Jewish Experience running behind the scenes. One person you might not have seen, but who has a huge impact on our organization is Avi benEzra. Avi takes wonderful care of our facility, coming in as often as needed to keep things clean, organized and ready for our next event! He also happens to be an amazing sculptor! Here is his artist’s bio so you can learn a little more about Avi benEzra. Thank you to Avi – we’re so glad you’re part of Team TJE!

Avi benEzra, Sculptor

Avi benEzra was born in Denver Colorado in 1999. Since he was young Avi has always been fascinated by repurposing trash. At ten years old he approached a neighbor before a large-trash-day with his allowance and asked if it was a garage sale. When the neighbors allowed him to take it all, and for free, he was hooked!

Avi always knew he wanted to be an artist but he only fell in love with metal work when he began attending Emily Griffith’s Welding Program in 2015. He was attracted by the challenges inherent to steel as a sculpting medium. Cold metal builds tension as it resists manipulation, slowing the pace of development. Once heated and flowing the tension is released. What remains is a signature of heat, time, and trajectory. Through the experience of welding, The artist transforms an impenetrable solid into a flowing liquid and witnesses its eventual return, Avi describes this process as both therapeutic and immensely fulfilling.

After completing his certification, Avi began working in industrial welding jobs while spending every available second tinkering in his shop. Using almost exclusively scavenged and scrapped materials he began creating the metal sculptures that would define his career as an artist.

His work began with spheres as he experimented with a limited supply of metal and developed new methodologies. As his stock of refuse increased and diversified so did his creativity. A menagerie including goats, elephants, and giraffes came first and was soon followed by figurative depictions of people. During the pandemic, his signature pieces “Essential Workers” were featured and widely praised. He has continued to seek out new inspiration for his work and is constantly expanding his inventive use of materials and refined sense of form and beauty.

Avi was invited back to his Intensive Pathways High School to exhibit some of his earliest pieces that had been influenced by his teachers and mentors there. Avi’s work first went on public display at the Denver Art Society in 2019. His iconic steel animals were selected for display at the R Gallery on Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado shortly after. In 2021 Avi’s work was placed in “Lost in Found” an exclusive exhibit of recycled art at The Collective, Lafayette’s community Art Center. Avi lives and works in Denver, Colorado.