Jerusalem is famous for its history, but it is also home to a thriving modern art scene. While many visitors to the city will stop by the Israel Museum, there is in fact much more to see. If you are a fan of modern art, then be sure to make the time for some of the following while on your gap year in Israel.
Few visitors to Israel have heard of the Hutzot HaYotzer Artist Colony. Located just outside the Old City is a series of artist’s workshops and galleries that are open to visitors. You can visit the workshops of painters, jewellers, photographers, leather workers, and more. The artists are often inspired by their location in Jerusalem, so it is a great place to hunt for souvenirs. Even if you don’t buy anything, it is a great way to spend a few hours.
You are bound to spend some time at Jerusalem’s First Station. It is packed with restaurants and bars, and there are frequent special events, such as concerts. There is also a daily artists market where locals sell their latest creations. As you browse, you will come across an eclectic mix of mediums, ranging from graphic art to fashion and jewellery.
If you prefer visits to traditional museums, then the Museum of Islamic Art is certainly worth a visit. You can explore Islamic arts spanning from the birth of the religion in the seventh century up until the eighteenth century. There are six permanent exhibitions covering painting, jewellery, calligraphy, watches, rugs, and ceramics, as well as numerous temporary exhibitions that cover a wide range of subjects. It is a fascinating place to visit and should be a must see during your gap year.
One place you cannot avoid during a gap year in Jerusalem is the Machane Yehuda Market. By day, it is probably the cheapest place for you to stock up on groceries. However, by night, when the shutters have come down, it transforms into a graffiti exhibition amongst a thriving nightlife scene. The street artist Solomon Souza has decorated the shutters and they are truly astonishing. It is possible to book a guided tour or you can simply explore them yourself while enjoying the market nightlife.
If you are interested in getting involved in the art community, you should consider a visit to HaMiffal Community Centre. The venue, which translates as “The Factory” is a community art project that also hosts concerts and other cultural events. It is located in a nineteenth century building on HaMa’aravim Street that was converted into an open artists’ house. At The Factory, you can explore a shop selling art, a café, a garden, and attend events such as film screenings, exhibitions, workshops, and even language exchanges.
There is plenty more to explore in Jerusalem’s modern art scene. For example, you could visit the Naggar School of Art, which is home to galleries, workshops and far more. All of these activities are a great way to add something a bit different to your gap year in Israel, so be sure to take a bit of time to explore what is available.