By Naomi Roff Kohn, The Jerusalem Foundation:
Published at the Jerusalem Foundation site.
Understanding Each Other Through Music
The Speaking Art Conference, held every December for the past seven years, is an opportunity for Jewish and Arab artists in the field of music, theater and dance to work together, thus getting to know other performing arts projects from different cultures and groups throughout Israel.
In order to strengthen the impact of the conference and to increase continuity from year to year, the Jerusalem Foundation and the Jerusalem Intercultural Center (JICC), have begun to hold mid-year meetings, bringing the artists together for shared activities, to strengthen their bonds and friendships, and to discuss suggestions for the next festival.
On June 16, 2011 some 20 Jewish and Arab artists participated in the mid-year meeting with a jam-packed day. It started with a workshop by Shmuel Hadjes, founder and director of the Jerusalem-based Psik Theater, and Hisham Suleiman, founder and director of the Nazereth Fringe Theater, entitled “The Internal Conflict.”
Musicians continued their work on a text they prepared during the last conference while other participants discussed how their religious and national identity influenced their work as artists.
After lunch the group visited the Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in the Christian Quarter of the Old City, to broaden participants’ familiarity with the art scene in east Jerusalem. Since many of the participants were not from Jerusalem, the group also toured the Christian and Jewish Quarters of the Old City and visited holy sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Discussions were held on how the November annual event can be improved, expanded, and strengthened.
The day ended with an one-hour concert of the Jewish-Arab band Na’am in the JICC’s garden. The participants gathered around the band, listened to the music and it was a wonderful end to an enriching day.
A clip of the afternoon concert at the JICC beautiful garden (thanks to the Jerusalem Foundation):
Original at: http://youtu.be/wdt3eUPn9xY