It’s no wonder that Hutzot Hayotzer, the International Arts and Crafts Festival in Jerusalem, has been running for the past 38 years. The popular event, consisting of arts and crafts from the around the world, top Israeli musicians and other unique displays, has a lot going for it. Held at the Hutzot Hayotzer Arts and Crafts Center, Mitchell Gardens and the Merrill Hassenfeld Amphitheater in the Sultan’s Pool, opposite the Tower of David, the two-week festival has become a summer institution in the capital, attracting thousands of people every year.
While arts and crafts from Israel and around the world are a major focus, there are also performances by some of the country’s best musicians. Every evening at 9, household names from the world of Israeli rock and pop take to the stage. The performances take place on the main stage in the Sultan’s Pool, considered one of the most impressive venues in Israel due to its location just outside the Old City walls. Some of this week’s highlights include Yehudit Ravitz on Saturday, Matti Caspi and Riki Gal on Monday, Ivri Lider on Tuesday and Ehud Banai on Wednesday.
The musical performances don’t stop there. There is a stage for Israeli music and rhythms of the world, with performances every evening from 8:30 to 10. For lovers of jazz and French songs, there is Paris-style jazz on Saturday. For those into music from South America and Spain, Paloma Blanca performs South American music on Sunday. And for those seeking some of the best of American folk music, Green Fields is putting on a show on Thursday.
As for the large arts-and-crafts fair, the Israeli Pavilion is hosting 200 of the best of the country’s artists, exhibiting paintings, prints, ceramics, metalwork and jewelry, weaving and textiles, Judaica, toys, crafts in various techniques, woodwork and more.
At the International Pavilion, visitors can see authentic and varied arts and crafts from 44 countries. This year, the new countries represented are Italy, Germany, Croatia, Angola, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Bulgaria, Armenia, the US and Portugal.
There are also a number of special events to keep guests entertained.
As part of an effort to keep the festival fresh and relevant, the Bezalel Compound is hosting the White House project, a Jerusalem artistic and cultural initiative of the Students Union of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. The initiative aims to present the creations of the students, to promote gifted artists at the start of their career and to enable visitors to experience the students’ artwork.
Inspired by fairy tales, the students of the Department of Photographic Communications, in cooperation with the Students’ Union of Hadassah College Jerusalem, is hosting an exhibition on the theme of Neverland, expressing the motif of dreams.
For those looking to improve their ice cream-making skills, Yaniv Abergel is on hand to demonstrate a wide variety of techniques. The ice cream is prepared using machines from the world’s two leading ice-cream companies, Carpigiano and Cattagriga.
Based in the center of the festival grounds, the Tav Group is hosting a wandering courtyard, where the audience is invited to take part in an interdisciplinary experience. In a twist on the traditional performance space, the courtyard is built with a system of scaffolding and galleries. The upper floors serve as dance, music and theater stages for the performances, while the lower floor serves as a bar and seating for the audience.
This year, children are spoiled for choice, as the organizers have enlarged the Children's Compound. In addition to the regular children’s activities, there are circus performances and street performers.
In cooperation with Ligdol-Israeli Family site and the Bim Bam Bum Theater, there are workshops daily from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., as well as performances every evening (except Friday and Saturday night) at 7:30 opposite Café Tav.
And, of course, there is an International Food Fair, offering a wide variety of quality food stands with fare from diverse cuisines of the world, with ethnic music in the background.
Every day until August 17 (except Fridays), from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturdays from 9 p.m. until midnight. NIS 60 for adults; NIS 35 for children age 5 to 12.
Other discounts and family passes are available. For more information: www.jerusalem.muni.il/yotzer/2013/ho me_eng.asp