Our Partners Reflect

Naomi Bloch Fortis, Executive Director, Jerusalem Season of Culture

“Jerusalem is increasingly being seen as a center of art, culture and creativity, rather than just a place of conflict”

“There is no city in the world quite like Jerusalem. The city is complex, multilayered, holds so many stories and is considered by many to be the center of humanity. But Jerusalem was neglected for years, considered to be a city in decline that had little relevance for the younger generation, many of whom abandoned it for Tel Aviv and left behind an increasingly poor and extremist population.

“As a result, two main narratives dominated the image of the city. One religious and the other pivoted around the ongoing conflict. Both were extremely pervasive and left very little room for alternative perspectives. It was therefore critically important for us, as an organization, to highlight a new and more positive narrative that draws on the city’s abundant cultural resources, its natural beauty, stunning locations and its fascinating diversity. This is what the Jerusalem Season of Culture (JSOC) was created to do. To provide a platform for Jerusalem to showcase these cultural riches and by so doing, help the city take its rightful place as a cultural capital.

“Each year JSOC produces an annual Season of Culture that presents a series of events spanning a broad spectrum of artistic disciplines and events that could only happen in Jerusalem. The art is young, exciting, avant-garde and deeply rooted in the city.

“In just three short years, we’ve become an influential force, creating opportunities for local artists, producers and curators. The image of Jerusalem as a cultural destination has improved and initial research has shown that an increasing number of Israelis see the capital as a place of art, culture and creativity—rather than just a place of conflict. Working in tandem with the local cultural infrastructure, institutions and the city’s key personalities, JSOC has succeeded in raising the cultural bar. The city, like the Season, now strives for a new level of excellence and seeks us out as consultants and partners to achieve this goal.

“In working with the Foundation, I’ve learned about the rewards that come from taking risks. As an organization we are constantly developing, fine-tuning the artistic content, and expanding our international outreach to ensure that this incredible city gets the attention it so rightfully deserves. By initiating the Jerusalem Season of Culture, the Foundation has profoundly changed the cultural fabric of the city and provided great hope for its continued development.”

Read more about our work in Arts and Culture