California artists take working tour of Israel


From left at Sataf park and historical site, Ruth Weisberg, Ellen Lee, Gayle Garner Roski, Sataf guide, Karine Bolton Laor of the Jewish National Fund and Jan Handtmann.

From left at Sataf park and historical site, Ruth Weisberg, Ellen Lee, Gayle Garner Roski, Sataf guide, Karine Bolton Laor of the Jewish National Fund and Jan Handtmann.

‘This is a wonderful way to introduce the country to people,’ says Prof. Ruth Weisberg of USC’s Roski School of Fine Arts.

“We’ve come here to draw,” declared Prof. Ruth Weisberg, who led a group of artist and architect colleagues on a recent working trip to Israel under the aegis of the University of Southern California’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Weisberg, a former dean of USC’s Roski School of Fine Arts, founded and directs the school’s new Initiative for Israeli Arts and Humanities.

An exhibition of works resulting from the trip will be displayed at the USC-Hillel Art Gallery in mid-November through early 2014.

“I had traveled with a group of artist friends related to the Roski School in Italy, Norway and China to respond to landscapes and cityscapes through drawing,” the frequent visitor to Israel tells ISRAEL1c. “I wanted to carry on the tradition here. Israel is extremely vibrant intrinsically, and also from my perspective I want people to have positive experiences of Israel. This is a wonderful way to introduce the country to people.”

The May trip was organized and led by Keshet: The Center for Educational Tourism in Israel, which last December put together an art-centered tour of Israel for the Mizel Museum in Denver.

The USC group of seven participants had four days in Tel Aviv and nearly a week in Jerusalem.

Their Jerusalem itinerary included a full day at the Jerusalem Print Workshop; a tour of the Israel Museum and its related Ticho House Museum; a walk through the Machane Yehuda Market, hiking at Sataf park and historical site, and plenty of time to explore and draw the incomparable sights of the Old City’s four quarters.

“I asked Keshet to schedule a three-hour drawing time every day,” says Weisberg, a painter and printmaker.

Most of the participants had been to Israel before. Jan Handtmann of Santa Barbara was one of two exceptions, and she said that at first she felt “like a fish out of water” due to the cultural and language differences.

“But once I got acclimated, I was surprised by the international relations aspects of all these religions in a small area,” she tells ISRAEL21c. “There was more a spirit of working together than I thought there would be.”

Continue reading via Israel21c