This is the first such art lending library dedicated to showcasing Israeli artists, with the goal of educating more students about Israel and its diverse society.

With student trips to Israel and in-campus courses being limited due to the coronavirus, the first-ever Israeli Art Lending Library (IALL) was launched at Northeastern University.

The result of a partnership between the university, it's Hillel, the nonprofit Returning the Sparks and Israel's Consulate-General to New England, this innovative new initiative will allow students to bring a piece of Israeli art to their dorms for a year. This is the first such art lending library dedicated to showcasing Israeli artists, with the goal of educating more students about Israel.

“Although Zoom events can do a lot, they can’t replace live events and tactile experiences,” Northeastern University Hillel executive director Gilad Skolnick said in a statement.

“There’s a reason why we are willing to spend so much to go to Broadway or Fenway Park, when it’s free and so much easier to see much of the same on TV.  Tangible events and things resonate in a different way.  We’re wired for experience. The genius of this art lending library is that it brings a tangible piece of Israel – something personal and uplifting that the student selects – directly to them for daily enjoyment.”

“I listened this spring as foundations shared concerns that short-term immersive Israel trips for college students stood to be compromised for the Fall of 2020, without a clear alternative, due to the need for COVID-19 social distancing,” explained Arinne Braverman, executive director of Returning the Sparks, a nonprofit that helps connect Jews with Judaism and Israel.

Braverman, who spearheaded the initiative, added that, “I figured if we couldn’t bring students on short trips to Israel, and we couldn’t educate through in-person events, we’d bring a piece of Israel home to students and have the process itself be educational, while incorporating their personal preferences. It would be great to see other campuses launch Israel art lending libraries as well.”
“Moving into my freshman dorm was nerve racking enough, and having completely bare walls didn’t help,” Northeastern student Maya Michalewicz said.

“This art lending program will be a great way to both connect students to their Jewish homes, and bring color and art to their new homes! I’m excited for this Israeli art program to begin, and to decorate the college homes of so many students, and bring the community together!”
What is especially notable about the library is that it highlights the diversity of Israeli society, including numerous prints, photographs and original pieces from Jewish, Muslim, Christian, LGBTQ and disabled artists.
Among the pieces in the library are:

“Serenity” by Benjamin S. Tagger
Tagger portrays himself as a gay young architect to explore his obsession with maps, as well as the lines between masculinity, colors and geographic boundaries. According to Tagger, the at is a symbolic description of space in an abstract manner.

“Face” by an anonymous Yemin Orde youth artist
Painted by an anonymous youth artist at the Yemin orde Youth Village, a home and school for 430 different at-risk youth from countries around the world, the painting is a result of the village's popular art therapy program, which helps people express their creativity and grow their self-esteem and self-confidence in a supportive environment.

“Bride from Yemen” by Shai Yossef
This painting was created by Rosh Ha'ayin native Shai Yossef, who is known for using art to reflect social issues.

“Enid” by Shimon Wanda
Painted by a contemporary Ethiopian Israeli artist, Shimon Wanda, who is known for exploring various techniques and pushing the limits of his craft.

“Israeli society is a mix of different cultural backgrounds and identities, and as an innovative democracy with a rich history, it produces a variety of messages that reflect the diversity of perspectives, experiences and thinking of its people.  We are glad to be able to show a little piece of our country through the intimate lens of art,” Israeli Deputy Consul General to New England Daniel Agranov explained. 

“IALL allows us to actively support a diverse array of Israeli artists during a challenging global economy, while providing students with resources to learn more about our country through related articles and maps.”

The library can also be viewed online on the IALL website, which provides a social distancing-friendly means of finding Israeli art and giving the chance for students to learn more about a piece's subject and origin from a safe environment. 

 

 

 

 

Tags American Jewry artist university diaspora art
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