You may not be aware of it but Jerusalem is the centre of Israel’s vivid and unique art scene. Various cultural roots influence the city’s artistic life and they combine to create some fascinating artwork.
The most obvious place to see art in Jerusalem is the Israel Museum, the country’s main cultural complex located near the Knesset. The museum was founded in 1965 and is home to a great deal of art from the likes of Rembrandt, Chagall and Israeli artists such as Abel Pann and Reuven Rubin. At the museum you can visit the Edmond and Lilly Safra Fine Arts Wing which has subdivisions for modern art, Israeli art, European art, contemporary art and photography.
If you want to experience something slightly more contemporary and less formal then visit The Jerusalem Artists’ House, a dynamic and active centre for local and international art, emerging artists and those that are already established. The centre also encourages and promotes young artists and you will often find some excellent exhibitions on. The place also hosts special events such as reading nights or jazz concerts.
If you like pop art then pay a visit to Art-Time Israel. The gallery is located in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and it is led by the distinguished art collector Zion Eszri. It was a ground-breaking gallery when it first opened and it exclusively features nine illustrious Israeli pop-art artists. Thanks to the artists’ innovative 3D techniques and use of colour, Art-Time Israel is a remarkable and lively venue and is definitely worth a visit.
Another well-known cultural centre in Jerusalem is Beit Avi Cha. Its primary purpose it to encourage a continuous and critical dialogue about Israeli society. However, the building is also host to a number of contemporary exhibitions featuring both local and international artists. The programmes on display are usually very diverse but they do tend to explore and promote Israeli-Jewish Culture.
You can also pay a visit to the Vision Neil Folberg Gallery. The Vision Gallery was founded in 1981 in San Francisco and relocated to Jerusalem in 1998. Neil Folberg is a photographer who runs the Gallery and also exhibits in it. The gallery combines expansive collections of modern and vintage works and it features eclectic photography from photojournalism to new wave contemporary images. The gallery also runs a First Exposure programme to supports new, emerging talents and help to showcase their first pieces.
In 2004 a group of fifteen well known Israeli artists set up Agripas 12 which runs on the philosophy of ‘Make Art, Show Art, Be Art’. An independent, cooperative gallery run by volunteers. There are monthly exhibitions that present a variety of arts such as ceramics, drawings, paintings and photographs. It is known for a creative approach to modern art and tries to act as a bridge between art and the public.
These are just a few of the many galleries to be enjoyed in Jerusalem and during your gap year you will have many opportunities to explore them.