Grand Cafe in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The 2013 season of the American Academy in Jerusalem opened last week with the
participation of four leading artists. The four, representing various creative
disciplines, will spend 10 weeks in Jerusalem sharing their talents and
collaborating with local peers in an effort to encourage cultural interchange
between the US and Israel.
The program, established by the New York-based
Foundation for Jewish Culture, is described by organizers as part of a larger
effort to highlight Jerusalem as a dynamic global destination for art and
The new class of fellows includes documentary filmmaker Susan
Korda, multidisciplinary artist Dean Moss, visual artist Dianne Samuels and
architect Davidson Norris.
Elise Bernhardt, president and CEO of the FJC,
came to Jerusalem for the program’s opening week and noted that the effects of
the program last long after the artists return home from Israel.
fellowship fosters the development of four extraordinarily talented cultural
ambassadors who pursue their work individually in the creative environments of
Jerusalem,” she said. “The objective is to enable these fellows to offer a
direct contribution that will permanently benefit Jerusalem’s future as a more
pluralistic and sustainable city.”
Architect Norris is principal at the
New York-based Carpenter Norris Consulting (CNC), which specializes in the use
of day-lighting for internal design. His firm was retained by the designers of
the newly renovated Israel Museum and was largely responsible for many of the
day-lighting aspects of the new facility.
Despite his role in overseeing
the project and developing many of its core elements, he managed the project
from afar and this week welcomed the chance to see the results of his work
firsthand during an emotional visit to the museum.
Upon entry into the
distinctive “Route of Passage” which serves as the entrance to the new exhibits
and is defined by his design of glass panels utilizing Jerusalem’s bright
sunlight, Norris was clearly pleased with the results.
“What was between
my ears in envisioning how this project would look is very much what my eyes are
seeing here today,” he said.
Norris, who was chosen as the Roselyne
Chroman Swig Architecture Fellow, intends to use his time in Israel to identify
10 sites that distinctly use the city’s exposure to natural light, knowledge
which he hopes to incorporate into future design projects.
Korda, who has contributed to numerous award-winning projects, will be exploring
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through various crossroads between the two
peoples and will be gathering elements for a documentary film on the
Visual-based artist Samuels will be observing public spaces and
conversations with Jerusalemites to develop a creative map of her
Moss, who has directed and choreographed performances
around the world, will explore the spiritual connection between modern-day
Jerusalem and the Ethiopian holy city of Lalibela, which is known by many
Ethiopians as “New Jerusalem.”
Over the course of the 10- week program,
the fellows will interact with local cultural and academic institutions while
teaching and mentoring students as well as building working relationships with