Sculpture Workshop in the Golan's Orvim Reservoir Park

One of the most colorful events of the Succoth holiday week - the Volcanica 2 festival, which combined beautiful natural surroundings with sculpting in basalt - took place in Orvim Park ("Raven Park") in the northern Golan.

One of the most colorful events of the Succothholiday week - the Volcanica 2 festival, which combined beautifulnatural surroundings with sculpting in basalt - took place in OrvimPark ("Raven Park") in the northern Golan. The event was held inconjunction with KKL-JNF, the Tourism Association, Mei Eden and theGolan Regional Council. Throughout the park sculptors from Galilee, theGolan and all over Israel busied themselves creating beautiful andoriginal sculptures from basalt. KKL-JNF staff welcomed the multitudeof visitors in the KKL-JNF succa, showed them round the park andexplained the best way to tour the Golan.

Thevisitors made enjoyable use of the picnic facilities provided in shadycorners of the park by KKL-JNF, while the children clambered on theactive sports installations dotted about the park. Many of the visitorsspoke to the artists about their work and tried their hand at sculptingin basalt themselves, creating a cloud of dust that floated in the air.

Among the many guests in the park we met Shmuel Hazan, CEO ofthe Golan Tourism Association and initiator of the festival. "Thefestival is becoming a Golan tradition," he told us. "This is thesecond year it has been held, and it will continue to develop in theyears to come. Raven Park, which was developed by KKL-JNF, is theperfect venue for the festival and the perfect showcase for the basaltsculptures. These sculptures are a lasting testimony to the Golan'sfruitful and empowering cooperation with KKL-JNF, and a tangibleexample of the region's flourishing tourism and artistic activities.Raven Park forms part of the complex we call "The Northern Gate of theGolan," an area that combines tourism, restaurants, a winery andadventure sports. This area is in the process of being developed aroundthe park to serve both as a starting point for tours of the area and asa focal point for visitors, who are attracted by the sculpture gardenand its amenities, which are maintained by KKL-JNF."

We met Iris Dorfman, KKL-JNF volunteer, beside the KKL-JNFvisitors' succa: "Here at this site we can feel the Jewish People'slove for the Land of Israel. All the visitors who come here ask to jointhe KKL-JNF Green-E and get e-mail updates on the organization's rangeof activities. They stop here for a picnic and stay for about twohours, walking among the sculptures placed about the park and talkingto the sculptors, while the children clamber around in the playground.There's a very pleasant atmosphere here. Families who come from thecenter of the country meet other families and they continue their tourtogether, even though they've never met before."

The Shmuelovitch family - Shaked, Elad, Tomer andAlon - from Petah Tikva, enjoyed their walk round the park and theirconversations with the various sculptors. "We wanted to see how theyset about creating a sculpture, and so we came here. We talked to thesculptors and they told us how they had selected the basalt rocks andbrought them to the sculpting area, and how they had decided to createtheir sculpture. It's important for them to connect with nature,because the sculptures will be placed in the park, where all thevisitors can see them and touch them."

Shaked Steinberg and Shahar and Ofri Avissar, from Kiryat Ata,were pleased to get the Green-E weekly e-mail and discover that such aspecial event was due to take place in the Golan. "When we saw thatthere was to be a sculpture festival in the Golan we decided to comealong and see it, because it's very interesting. It's really fun here.You can play, run and climb as much as you want!"

Wespoke to some of the sculptors who were working away enthusiastically,enjoying being outside and the special connection this allowed themwith the public, who showed great interest and took part in thecreative process.

Gili Frankel, a sculptor from the Had Ness community, wearing aprotective mask to keep the stone-dust out of his face, created a worknamed Spiral at the event. "This is the second year that I've takenpart in the Volcanica Festival. A very special type of cooperation hasbeen created here, which allows artists and visitors to experience agenuinely direct encounter that energizes and inspires all of us. I'mproud to be part of this project, and hope that KKL-JNF will continueto bring visitors here to see our work, which has been created out ofnature and is now exhibited in natural surroundings."

Shlomo Dahan, artist and sculptor from Kfar Saba: "This is awonderful opportunity for me - to come here from Kfar Saba and be giventhe chance to work in natural surroundings, in a place that inspiresme. This festival is a gift, and all those involved should becongratulated on it."

Shai Vaknin and Shlomo Arel, sculptors from Nahariya, told us,as they stood beside their sculpture Talking Heads, "We're enjoyingourselves here, working together and welcoming visitors. This is a rareopportunity for people to see us at work. They ask questions that leadus to re-examine our work. It's very exciting."

Varda Ben Hurin, Director of the Golan Artists' Forum inKatzrin, is the creator of the sculpture entitled Butterfly. "This is awelcome initiative that enables artists from the periphery to breakinto the public consciousness. In this environment, created by thecooperation between the artists and KKL-JNF, the public becomes aninseparable part of our work. This is a very special place, because ofits scenery, the Hermon, Nahal Oravim ("Raven River") and thisdelightful park that is so beautifully maintained and cared for."

Youp de Yong, sculptor, Kibbutz Merom Golan, creator of thesculpture entitled Covenant: "My works can be found in the Golan,throughout Israel and in many parts of the world. My latest work isdesigned to stand in this unique park and welcome those who visit it,in rain, snow or shine. It is intended to make them think about theirrelationship with the written word and the Jewish sources."

Yaakov Horowitz, sculptor, Rosh Pina: "What characterizes thisevent is the joy of creation and the combination of experiencedartists, young artists and the visitors. Master classes arisespontaneously, which is a very unusual thing in sculpture."

Aswe strolled among the sculptures in the park we met Danny Gannon, afarmer from Kibbutz Merom Golan, who told us of the vital role playedby the KKL-JNF Orvim water reservoir, adjacent to the park. "The Orvimreservoir collects flood water from surface pools and supplies water toirrigate agricultural produce in the northern Golan. It's a verywelcome initiative. KKL-JNF, by means of these reservoirs, allowsresidents of the northern Golan to grow a variety of produce and maketheir living from it."

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