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Community Projects

Community Projects


The Israel Museum, Jerusalem collaborates with a variety of communities within the city and throughout Israel.

The Youth Wing for Art Education conducts many community projects, enhancing its relations with the community and employing its unique approach to fostering art education.

The Youth Wing's guided tour for students from the Yemin Orde Youth Village,
which was severely damaged in the December, 2010 wildfire in the Carmel Forest.

Community projects and programs include:

Bridging the Gap
Where Arab and Jewish youth create art together

Bridging the gap is supported by the Association of Friends of the Israel Museum in Germany 

The Jewish-Arab Art Course has been operating for 18 years in the Ruth Youth Wing of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Joint sessions for the youth of both peoples permit participants to forge real personal ties and integrate universal human values. These informal sessions are offered to Jewish and Arab pupils from West and East Jerusalem. Producing art together at the Israel Museum facilitates the bridging of gaps heightened by stereotypes, culture, and years of conflict between the two peoples. A place of art and culture, The Israel Museum represents secure ground which supports connection and the ability to accept the other. This project, which raises the banner of tolerance and mutual understanding, may plant seeds within these youngsters that develop into a future peace between them.


How does it work?

The project takes place in the Ruth Youth Wing of the Israel Museum. The project includes 20 biweekly, two-hour sessions.

  • Transportation to the Museum is provided.

  • Light refreshments (a sandwich and beverage) are provided at the opening of each session.

  • Sessions take place in Youth Wing classrooms and in Museum galleries, thus combining creative activities and tours of the Museum.

  • Instruction is provided by Jewish and Arab artist-educators from the Youth Wing staff.

  • Jewish and Arab organizational advisors guide the staff in addressing personal and national issues which arise among the pupils and the staff.

  • The participation of translators assists in overcoming language barriers.

  • A steering committee, consisting of principals from Jewish and Arab schools, and the Head of the Ruth Youth Wing and the Senior Art Courses Curator of the Ruth Youth Wing in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, oversees the project.

  • In 2009, research was conducted to evaluate this project. The results of the evaluation will be published within the current school year.

Workshops provided in conjunction with the project, over the years

Mask-making with plaster bandages
In order to enhance trust, pupils created face masks from plaster bandages on each other's faces – Arab on Jew and Jew on Arab. They then created the wearers' personal traits on the masks


Art inspired by a visit to the zoo
To introduce work about animals and enhance the closeness of the group, we took a trip to the
 zoo and sketched animals.

Totem craft
To complete the year, we created totem poles with animals, inspired by the animals that we saw. Each Group of three pupils created a few animals together. The animal elements were placed one atop the other to create totem poles.

Artistic response to the Arab-Jewish conflict

During the first session which followed a military campaign in Gaza, we invited pupils to create graffiti-like works on large plywood boards, in which they expressed their feelings about the campaign. When they were complete, we talked about what they felt and painted.
12-year olds; Teachers: Hanan Abu Hussein, Ruwan al-Hawa, Tzipi Zohar, Anat Chanes


A joint meal
In order to provide pupils to become better acquainted with one another, we created a joint meal based on the favorite dish of each participant. We created these dishes from oil-based modeling clay (plastilina) and painted plaster, and set them on a large table. 


Animal-Chairs Workshop
Working in pairs, we created imaginary animals on chair bases. 


Creation of an Ideal City
We created a model of the city of Jerusalem in which we dream of living. In our city, there was an amusement park, a neighborhood of tree-houses, homes made out of candy, an airport, a sea with sailboats, and lakes with swans floating in them.


Ethiopian Community Project 

For the vast majority of the children, this is their first exposure to various forms of art and craft, and particularly to the Museum. Artistic activity in the Museum permits many of them to express themselves for the first time in painting, sculpture, photography, and other artistic techniques conveyed to them by the teaching staff. While attending Museum classes, new immigrants combine acquisition of knowledge with personal expression.

Yahad - where Orthodox and secular Jewish  youth create art together

Living together in the city of Jerusalem has failed to create points in which secular and religious Jews come together. Each sector's perception of the other is based mainly on stereotypes adopted by the societies from which they hail.

The Yahad Project is based on the need to enhance relations between religious and secular Jews, and the desire to contribute to and influence society.

The goal of the Yahad project is to permit direct, real, and sincere contact, without stereotype, stemming from mutual respect between secular and religious Jews.

The project combines dialogue between partners (as in the traditional hevruta method of studying Jewish texts in pairs) with shared artistic creation, focusing on subjects derived from the world of Jewish and Israeli identity, and permitting expression of personal opinions, thoughts and feelings of the participants.

In the meetings, they examined issues of Israeli/Jewish identity as it relates to the concept of "place" in personal, social and national contexts.

The participants' work included the creation of an ideal city, based on their own understanding of what that would entail, and their shared examination and conclusions regarding the concept of "place." The project ended with a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem and the City of David archaeological excavations, as a continuation of their observation of the Second Temple Period Jerusalem Model at the Museum, and a joint exhibition at the headquarters of Gesher – Bridging the Gap between Religious & Secular non-profit organization.

Open Window Dialogue - for the Arab sector, in Umm al-Fahm

This project is supported by the Fine Foundation, Pittsburgh 

One of the primary goals of the Israel Museum’s Youth Wing is to advance art education among the various communities throughout the country.  As such, it is committed to providing quality art education to the youth of the Arab sector, and is creating innovative outreach programs to this end.  We have been encouraged by the success of “Open-Window Dialogue,” a cooperative educational project carried out between the Israel Museum and the Israeli Arab town of Umm-el-Fahem in 2008-2009, as well as by successful projects with the cities of Nazareth and Sur Baher. All of these projects received funding by the Fine Foundation. Today, the Youth Wing is planning a new three-year initiative with the aim of expanding the program and extending it to other communities. 

One of the primary goals of the Israel Museum’s Youth Wing is to advance art education among the various communities throughout the country.  As such, it is committed to providing quality art education to the youth of the Arab sector, and is creating innovative outreach programs to this end.  We have been encouraged by the success of “Open-Window Dialogue,” a cooperative educational project carried out between the Israel Museum and the Israeli Arab town of Umm-el-Fahem in 2008-2009, as well as by successful projects with the cities of Nazareth and Sur Baher. All of these projects received funding by the Fine Foundation. Today, the Youth Wing is planning a new three-year initiative with the aim of expanding the program and extending it to other communities.

The "Open Window Dialogue" is a joint project of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem  Ruth Youth Wing for Art Education, the Umm al-Fahm Municipality, and the Umm al-Fahm Art Gallery, directed by Said Abu Shakra.

Window to the Museum Project in Sur Baher 2011-2013
This is one of a number of projects initiated and conducted within and beyond the Youth Wing, in conjunction with the Youth Wing's social commitment to serving various sectors of the population. This project comprised three inter-related phases, including an opening meeting between kindergarten and school teachers in the Museum, students' visits to the Museum, and the establishment of an artistic environment in the city.

Teachers meeting in the Israel Museum Art Garden

Opening meeting for teachers

The Israel Museum's Youth Wing holds a professional-training day for teachers from Umm al-Fahm schools. During that day, the teachers were introduced to the Museum, the project, and the Youth Wing teaching staff, becoming active partners in the project.

Instructional sessions for pupils

Students with artist-teacher Telma Schwartz

High school students from Umm al-Fahm visit the Israel Museum. The Museum visits lay the foundation for the students' continued work on the project.

Open Window Dialogue – establishment of an art environment; the culmination of the project

Students working on the Art Garden in Umm al-Fahm

An Art Garden on the peak of Mt. Iskander in Umm al-Fahm was dedicated in November, 2009. Enormous metal sculptures, resembling windowed houses, were installed in the garden. Painting of the sculptures was inspired by paintings by Jewish and Arab Israeli artists. This joint endeavor and cooperation among participants in the project proves that art has the power to bridge gaps.

Dr. Tali Gavish, Director of the Israel Museum Youth Wing for Art Education, Israel Museum Director James Snyder,
and Jonathan Fein representing the Fein Foundation, at the unveiling ceremony in the Art Garden

Special needs project

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem Youth Wing for Art Education considers inclusion of people with special needs to be of paramount importance. We believe that people with special needs have the right and ability to make use of the Museum's cultural treasures and art to enjoy, learn, create and expand their horizons. It is our job to make that possible.

"Personal Touch" Exhibition of works by pupils in courses for children with special needs

Special-education communities served by the project include special education schools, clubs, residential facilities, special-needs organizations, teaching staffs

Special-education courses represent an integral aspect of the art course program at the Youth Wing for Art Education. These courses take place in small groups, facilitating learning by means of maximal attention to participants. Instruction and art work is adjusted to the cognitive ability of each participant.

Activities in special-needs courses are inspired by guided tours of exhibitions in the Museum, seasons and holidays, expression of the personal stories of participants and imagination.

Participants experience a variety of painting and sculpture techniques. Instruction is based on dialogue suited to individual ability, bolstering self-esteem and empowering participants.

Art course for adults with special needs

Professional training courses provided to educational staffs from special-education institutions are designed to increase use of art and creativity. The teachers learn how to use art as a tool of expression, on one hand, and to promote personal development, on the other.

At-risk Youth - A project (in collaboration with the ELEM – Youth in Distress in Israel non- profit organization)

In collaboration with the ELEM – Youth in Distress in Israel non-profit organization

The ELEM mobile unit in Zion Square

Boys and girls, whose home is the street, gather nightly in Jerusalem's Zion Square. These young people, hailing from all parts of Jerusalem and Israel, left their family homes for a variety of reasons. They are not enrolled in educational or social institutions. The ELEM non-profit organization serves these youths, throughout the country, by means of mobile units in city centers manned by volunteers. The volunteers maintain warm relations with these youth and attempt to assist in their rehabilitation.

Late at night weekly, ELEM's mobile unit parks in Zion Square in Jerusalem. The unit is staffed by professionals and volunteers who foster close relations with youths in the Square, providing them with basic needs from hot beverages and food to conversation and an attentive ear.

One member of the ELEM mobile unit staff is also an artist-teacher at the Israel Museum Youth Wing for Art Education. The artist positions an "artist's table" in the Square, letting the young people paint and create. Painting around the table provides an additional and alternative channel of communication between youths and mobile unit staff, a channel which sometimes eases expression of their distress. For Youth Wing staff, this is one of many community-based activities, and its implementation is rooted in the staff's sense of mission and social responsibility.

Museum Director James Snyder speaking at the opening of the ELEM exhibition

Night-time Creation by Anat Chanes

Zion Square. 11:00 pm. The ELEM mobile unit arrives in the street promenade. Children in black, red, and yellow; kipot, endless chains, pierced earrings and body jewelry, wigs, tzitziot, kaffiyas, galabiyas, cigarettes, occasional guitars, echoing darbuka drums, beer, broken bottles, yelling, singing, dreadlocks; freaks, arsim,  ultra-Orthodox, simply religious; English, Hebrew, Russian; police…"No desperation in the world," is immediately followed by another shout of, "Bro, do you have a cigarette?"

ELEM volunteers open the mobile unit. They take out pitchers of tea, a table, chairs, paper, paints and brushes. "Do you guys have food?" "We waited for you for a long time." "Where've you been?" Paints start to spill onto paper…Boundaries are breached; there's no stigma in the Square. A group of teens are swept away by the sounds of Carlebach's Hasidic music, whisperings, drug deals, caresses, threats, violence, smiles, conversations, exposure. Beer cans and bourekas fly through the air. Outsized bags are scattered in every corner. Someone is returning from Eilat. Someone from Tiberias is painting the route that she walked to get here. The Square is a station on the way to the next squat. Openness, color, diversity, and abundant warmth without commitment lend a lot of strength. There are no parents, no structure. There is a sense that here, in this place, one can act out aggression, scream, be silent; be anything and everything without judgment.

A boy alone on the corner.  Still wearing his school bag on his back, he scans and scrutinizes the scene from a distance – maybe here he'll find a friend. Maybe in another minute, he too will dance freely like that to the strains of the guitar; and feel secure enough to scream, to smoke, to drink, to break loose; maybe he'll guard the boundaries, and maybe he won't…

One minute before that, he picks up a brush and begins to paint.
For more than five years, artists from the Israel Museum Youth Wing have engaged in voluntary work with ELEM mobile unit staff, on Thursdays in Zion Square. The artists arrive, equipped with brushes, paints, paper and materials, to create art with others in Zion Square.

Wall of works in the ELEM exhibition

Disabled Israel Defense Force Vets - (in collaboration with Beit Halochem, sponsored by the Lagasse Foundation)

In collaboration with Beit Halochem, sponsored by the Legacy Heritage Foundation

"Unbounded Art," March 2010 Exhibition of works by participants in the
Artist's Class for disabled IDF soldiers and veterans

In the Artist's Class project a group of disabled Israel Defense Forces veterans meets weekly to engage in art. The goal of the project is to facilitate participants' progress in using techniques in the language of art, from the level of training and skill acquisition, to the level of personal expression of their thoughts and feelings in the language of art. The sessions include activity, observation, listening, guided tours of exhibitions and lectures. The nature of the group and time spent in the Museum gradually become a creative-social process.

A variety of expressive media were made available to participants in the workshop.
Participants particularly learned oil painting techniques and sketching.

Talented Pupils -

For pupils in Agaf Shachar, the Israel Ministry of Education Educational Welfare Division. The program is a collaborative effort of Agaf Schahar and the Israel Museum Youth Wing for Art Education, pupils enrolled in Agaf Shachar, the Israel Ministry of Education Educational Welfare Service Division

The program targets pupils with exceptional learning skills and behavior who hail from socio-economically challenged neighborhoods in Jerusalem located far from cultural and educational centers. The object of the program is to create an opportunity which provides participants optimal exposure to unique fields of content. Experiencing art education at a high professional level in the Museum facilitates acquisition of knowledge, creative skill and greater awareness of the world of art. This provides pupils with the opportunity to discover new worlds which may become central to their future lives.

Project Excellence  

For outstanding pupils (in collaboration with Manhi – the Jerusalem Education Administration)
In collaboration with Manhi – the Jerusalem Education Administration

One of the Youth Wing's objectives is to promote the progress of pupils who excel in the arts, from both theoretical and practical artistic perspectives.

This program is intended for pupils who excel in relation to the populations in their schools. Participants in the program are chosen after a lengthy screening process, which includes recommendations from schools, a screening workshop at the Museum and personal interviews.

The construction of a target population of gifted students was designed to create loci of excellence in each and every school. Thus learning takes place in schools and out, in the Museum.

In the Museum: Guided tours of the Museum's wings provide a foundation for theoretical learning which invites continued discussion and investigation of the aspects of archaeology, Judaica and art. In addition to guided tours of various exhibitions, pupils attend practical workshops, making uses of the Youth Wing's resources including various workshops, a rich and varied warehouse of materials, and an experienced staff of artist-teachers.

In school: Pupils engage in investigation and discussion of the social-ethical-cultural subjects, which they studied in museum tours. Learning is suited to the ages of the pupils and the affiliations of their schools.

The learning process includes unique teaching methods, which emphasize development of excellence and foster artistic talents. During the program, each pupil creates a portfolio of work, which includes theoretical investigation of one of the subjects taught in the program and personal art work. At the end of the year, an exhibition of the outcome of their work concludes the learning process.

The Museum Goes to Kindergarten

Kindergarten Goes to the Museum – A preschool project in East and West Jerusalem

Preschool teacher leads activities in Beit Meir, in conjunction with the project

The project serves children throughout East and West Jerusalem. Preschool and kindergarten-age children from both parts of the city of Jerusalem participate in a unique program which acquaints them with the Museum's collections and the language of art.

The program takes place in the Museum and the preschools, and is thus called, "The Museum Goes to Kindergarten – Kindergarten Goes to the Museum."

The Museum visits a preschool in the Sur Baher neighborhood of Jerusalem

In the first phase of the program, an instructor comes from the Museum to the kindergarten, mounting with the children an exhibition of paintings, inspired by paintings on display at the Museum. The children acquire tools with which to observe and interpret. In the second phase, the children visit the Museum and are guided through various objects on display.

The Museum's course for preschool teachers from East Jerusalem, 2008-2009

The kindergarten teachers are a vital element of this program. They receive training and instruction from the Museum's educational staff, and engage in developing the children's skills throughout the year.
Project made possible through the generosity of the Association of Friends of the Israel Museum in Germany and Marion and Stanley Robboy