Jerusalem culture season planned

By Martin Bright, August 5, 2010
The season will stretch from May to July 2011

The season will stretch from May to July 2011

A Jerusalem Season of Culture, an annual event to promote the arts of the city is to be launched next summer.

The event is part of a drive by the artistic community in Jerusalem to show an alternative perspective of a city often associated with division, violence and religious fanaticism.

Figures in the political, business and cultural worlds in Jerusalem are also keen to remove the Israeli capital from the shadow of its more hedonistic neighbour Tel Aviv.

The season will stretch from May to July 2011, and will primarily showcase local talent, although the organisers also plan to bring international stars to perform in Jerusalem.

Karen Brunwasser, who initiated the project on behalf of the Israel-based Schusterman Foundation, told the JC: "What we are trying to do is present a cultural narrative of Jerusalem, which has been overshadowed in recent years by other narratives.

"We believe in the artists and cultural institutions of the city and we believe they can speak for themselves, if given the chance."

The foundation is dedicated, among other things, to the renewal of Jerusalem.

Last week, a series of events were organised in Jerusalem to provide a dry-run for the season. These included a night of performances at the opening celebration of the new campus of the Israel Museum, culminating in a concert by Israeli pop-star Yehudit Ravitz.

In a separate event at the Tower of David in the Old City, rock musician Rona Kenan organised a kabbalat shabbat concert with traditional singers Maureen Nehdar and Din Din Aviv. A third "happening" involved street performances in the newly revived Mahane Yehuda market.

The season is supported by the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, who hopes it will help realise his plans to boost the number of tourists who visit Jerusalem each year from two million to 10 million.

One obvious gap from the programme thus far is the artistic and cultural life of Arabs living in the east of the city. The organisers have reached out to potential partners in east Jerusalem, but have yet to receive a positive response.

Last updated: 6:02pm, August 7 2010