Plans Unveiled for $50 Million Arts Campus in Jerusalem

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A sketch of the forthcoming Jerusalem Arts Campus. Credit: Courtesy of UJA-Federation of New York.
A sketch of the forthcoming Jerusalem Arts Campus. Credit: Courtesy of UJA-Federation of New York.

Jerusalem is scheduled to have a new 2.5-acre, $50 million campus for the arts by January 2020, with the multifaceted space featuring four of Israel’s leading performing arts schools as well as performance venues and an outdoor plaza, the project’s partners announced last week.

The forthcoming Jerusalem Arts Campus is a joint initiative of the UJA-Federation of New York, the Jerusalem municipality, the Israeli government and the Jerusalem Foundation, with the stated goal “to transform Israel’s capital city into a global arts and cultural center.”

“For thousands of years, Jerusalem has been a center of innovation and creativity; my vision for the city includes an essential focus on growing the city’s creative class,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement. “The Jerusalem Arts Campus will have a significant impact on attracting young people to the city, strengthening downtown Jerusalem and bringing the vibrant creative class to the city to stay.”

The academic institutions that will call the arts campus home include the Nisan Nativ Acting Studio, the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School, the School of Visual Theater and the Center for Middle Eastern Music. The campus is expected to accommodate 1,100 students, far exceeding the four schools’ current combined enrollment of 650.

Natie Kirsh, a member of the family that is donating $10 million towards the cost of the $50 million project, said the Kirsh family “has long been committed to both Israel and UJA. It is our privilege to be involved in such a meaningful project that will be of such great benefit to Jerusalem.”

Slated to be built at the top of Bezalel Street, where the city center melts into the hipster Nachlaot neighborhood, the Jersusalem Arts Campus is ideally placed for students to become involved in the burgeoning arts scene and partake in city life. The artistic legacy of the esteemed Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, which is due to return to the city center after many years on Mount Scopus, is blooming wonderfully, so the impending influx of educational arts institutions will only catalyze this cultural growth.

The state-of-the art campus will adjoin the Foundation-supported Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Civic Center, which incorporates the Gerard Behar Center and contains a theater, library and studio space for the Vertigo and Kolben dance companies. Other revered cultural institutions like the Beit Mazia Theater, Barbur art gallery and Jerusalem Artist’s House, which are also supported by the Foundation, will be a stone’s throw away. Opportunities for students to immerse themselves in the city’s Arts scene then, and what’s more, to forge connections in relevant industries, will be plentiful.

 (JNS.org)

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