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Jewish Post

Jerusalem to Welcome Delegation of Leading
US Artists for Cultural Exchange

The American Academy in Jerusalem utilizes multiple art forms to help transform the city’s cultural landscape

By Staff Writer

These Fellows will share their talents, vision and expertise during a ten-week, residential fellowship in the heart of Jerusalem for the benefit of all its residents.   Established by the Foundation for Jewish Culture, the goals of the American Academy in Jerusalem (AAJ) are to work in tandem with local Jerusalem organizations and individuals to sustain urban life and promote cultural pluralism.  AAJ is part of a larger civic effort to highlight Jerusalem—a city with extraordinary historic and contemporary relevance to diverse peoples and religions—as a dynamic global destination for art and culture. 

“The fellowships will enable these four extraordinary cultural ambassadors to pursue their work individually in the creative environment of Jerusalem while offering robust educational opportunities and cultural exchanges with the city’s multicultural populations including youth, university students, and arts and culture professionals,” says Elise M. Bernhardt, President and CEO, Foundation for Jewish Culture. “The objective is to allow these Fellows to offer a direct contribution that will permanently benefit Jerusalem’s future as a more pluralistic and sustainable city.”

During their stay in Jerusalem, Fellows will interact with local cultural and/or academic institutions where they will teach master classes, serve as mentors or otherwise participate in the life of the institutions and build relationships with their professional peers. The Fellows will have multiple opportunities to engage with Jerusalem’s diverse populations through projects emphasizing social engagement and will offer public presentations about their works-in-progress both in Jerusalem and in the United States upon their return.

The Foundation for Jewish Culture’s American Academy in Jerusalem (AAJ) has expanded to a 10-week fellowship for distinguished artists, architects, and planners from abroad that helps strengthen the city of Jerusalem as a vibrant center of arts and culture. It is a public-private international partnership that serves as a transformative experience for diverse communities and institutions, a turning point in the lives of artists, and a forum for dialogue among international peers.

AAJ Fellows Susan Korda, Dean Moss, Davidson Norris - Roselyn C. Swig Architecture Fellow and Diane Samuels will benefit from the previous experiences of the inaugural class of fellows from 2011 whose projects and presence contributed to the city’s cultural capital, and drew attention to Jerusalem as a vibrant, pluralistic world capital and a destination for artists, planners, and thought-leaders.  With stronger relationships with partner organizations, individuals, and the municipality in place, the incoming class of fellows is poised to make an even deeper impact on the city’s institutions, residents, visitors, and worldwide reputation.

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The Foundation for Jewish Culture invests in creative individuals in order to nurture a vibrant and enduring Jewish identity, culture and community. Founded in 1960 as a response to the decimation of Jewish institutions in Europe following the Holocaust, the Foundation's role was to support American institutions suddenly left responsible for the preservation of Jewish cultural memory. From 1980 to 2000, the Foundation shifted its focus toward more engagement in programs and initiatives based in arts and humanities.

To achieve its mission, the Foundation provides grants, recognition awards, networking opportunities, and professional development services to artists and scholars; collaborates with cultural institutions, Jewish organizations, consortia, and funders to support the work of these creative individuals; builds and educates audiences to provide meaningful Jewish cultural experiences to the American public; and advocates for the importance of Jewish culture as a core component of Jewish life.

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Established in 2011, The American Academy in Jerusalem is a fellowship for senior-level artists and cultural leaders taking place from October 7 through December 16, 2013. A pre-eminent panel has selected four Fellows representing diverse disciplines including visual arts, performing arts, film and urban design. The program provides each Fellow with travel to Israel, accommodations, a living stipend, and additional resources to develop individual projects emphasizing social engagement. The Foundation for Jewish Culture established the Academy in order to participate in a larger civic effort to highlight Jerusalem– a city with an extraordinary history and contemporary relevance to diverse peoples and religions– as a global destination for art and culture.

Major donors for American Academy in Jerusalem include Bloomberg Philanthropies, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Leichtag Family Foundation, Morningstar Foundation, Russell Berrie Foundation, Roselyn Swig, and the U.S. State Department. Additional supporters include Anita and Marc Abramowitz, Andi and David Arnowitz, Sheila and Milton Fine, and Floy and Amos Kaminski.