A showcase of contemporary treasures

The Jerusalem Season of Culture taps into the city’s ancient muse.

INHOUSE (photo credit: Oscar Abush)
(photo credit: Oscar Abush)
Jerusalem will be celebrating 3,000 years of its ancient muse with the Jerusalem Season of Culture, a series of ongoing artistic events, which began in May and will carry on through September. In its third year, the Jerusalem Season of Culture is being billed as “a summer showcase of the city’s contemporary cultural treasures.”
The happenings, which take place at various venues throughout the city, include dance, music, poetry, philosophy, visual arts and new media.
“We are celebrating Jerusalem, the capital of culture and art,” says the event’s executive director Naomi Bloch Fortis and former co-artistic director at the Batsheva Dance Company. “We think it has a rich and diverse cultural theme, and we are trying to contribute to the international cultural scene of Jerusalem.”
The desire to enrich the city’s cultural theme was one of the motivating factors behind the establishment of the program, now officially recognized as a nonprofit organization. One of its main backers and original founders is the Schusterman Foundation Israel.
According to Karen Brunwasser, a former employee of the Schusterman Foundation and now the event’s deputy director, “The foundation was concerned with the fact that Jerusalem was losing its relevance to the residents. It wanted to take part in the process of renewal of the city that had been going on over the last few years.”
After researching urban renewal cases from all over the world and commissioning studies focusing on Jerusalem, two main conclusions were reached: culture serves as a catalyst for urban renewal; and Jerusalem has tremendous potential because of its vast cultural resources.
In addition to the Schusterman Foundation Israel, other sponsors of the Jerusalem Season of Culture include the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Jerusalem Foundation.
First having taken place as a series of pilot events in 2010, the Jerusalem Season of Culture has grown steadily, today including 11 separate happenings held throughout the summer. The following are some of the highlights of the season: The In-House Festival – Houses, a synagogue and other intimate surroundings will come to life on July 3 – 5 as theater, individual night tours and dance ensembles take to the “stage” in this unique version of performance art.
Contact Point – The Israel Museum will be the setting for this one-time event, scheduled for July 12. Leading Israeli artists such as Rona Kenan, Itzik Weingarten and Noam Enbar will perform in a series of installations on the museum campus. The performances are billed as late-night encounters between artworks, the museum landscape and the artists themselves.
Balabasta: Culture in the Market – Singers, dancers, actors and poets will converge in Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market on August 6-20 for afternoon and evening performances within the shuk setting. The idea, according to Bloch Fortis, is not to use the market as a backdrop but to actually “weave the culture into the shuk.”
Ron Arad: 720 Degrees – The installation by designer, artist and architect Ron Arad will be on display from August 16 – September 9 in the Israel Museum’s Art Garden. The work was much touted at its London debut and is expected to be a big draw of the season, according to Bloch Fortis.
The exhibition will be intertwined with music, dance, poetry and theater performances, which will be announced in advance. Ron Arad: 720 Degrees will be open for viewing Saturdays – Thursdays from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
The Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival – A 24-hour international celebration of music, this first-time event will take place on September 6-7 throughout the capital. Musicians from Israel and abroad will perform at various locations, celebrating the concepts of sanctity, sensitivity, compassion and interfaith unity.
Complete information on all the events and the Jerusalem Season of Culture in general can be found at their website: http://www.jerusalemseason.com/en orby calling (02) 653-5880.