A group of 10 Israeli artists will be completing residencies on US campuses this year as part of the Schusterman Foundation’s Visiting Israeli Artists Program, with the goal of enhancing the study of modern Israel.
The program is an initiative of the DC-based Israel Institute, which works in partnership with leading academic, research and cultural institutions to strengthen knowledge of modern Israel in US and world universities. It aims at fostering interaction between the artists and the communities in which they are based, exposing a broader audience to contemporary Israeli culture.
Among the artists in this year’s program, award-winning novelist Dror Burstein will be teaching the course Israeli Culture as Reflected in Hebrew Literature at Clark University in Massachusetts and the class Genesis in Art and Literature at the College of the Holy Cross this fall semester.
Israeli documentary film director and producer Noemi Schory will be in residence at the University of Minnesota where she will be teaching a course titled The Holocaust in Film: Recent Israeli and German Documentaries. The class will trace the path of documentary representations of the Holocaust.
Graphic artist and typographer Oded Ezer will be at the Rhode Island School of Design teaching a course on typography and visual artist Gilad Ratman will complete his residency at SUNY Purchase, working with both undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Art and Design. Ratman will be lecturing and offering workshops and critiques and participating in events at the Neuberger Museum of Art, where his work will be on view.
In addition, this year’s program will include Israeli dancer Talia Beck who will teach dance at the University of Kansas; award-winning illustrator Gabriella Barouch at Lehigh University; fiction writer and poet Almog Behar at Cornell University; documentary filmmaker David Fisher at Yale University; and film historian Dan Chyutin at American University.
Finally, choreographers Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor, will be in residence together at Rutgers University during the spring semester. Sheinfeld and Laor, who have been collaborating together since 2004, combine contemporary dance with performance-art and physical theatre. At Rutgers, they will be offering classes on technique and advanced improvisation and performance.
“What makes The Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artist Program unique and so effective is that it allows members of the host community and the visiting artists to connect in a variety of settings – from formal to informal, Jewish to non-Jewish over a significant period of time, rather than the more traditional one-off experience,” program director Marge Goldwater said in a statement. “As we look back on the first five years, we see that the success of the residencies has prompted host institutions to find ways to bring Israeli cultural leaders to their communities after the Schusterman artist has left.”
Executive director of the Israel Institute, Ariel Roth, added that the “visiting artists provide more than just classes that teach skills; these artists provide a window into the heart of Israel.”
“Cultural education provides insights into the fabric of a society in the way that other courses cannot and the understanding of students enrolled in these classes is deeper and more enriched as a result,” Roth continued.
Since the project began in 2008, some 47 artists have participated, among them, a recipient of The Israel Prize, an Emmy nominee, numerous recipients of Israeli literary awards and winners of Israeli Oscars.