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Schusterman foundation to start summer cultural series in Jerusalem

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The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is launching a new cultural series in Jerusalem, the foundation announced Monday.

Though details are still forthcoming, the “summer season” seeks to create new cultural performances and artistic exhibits in Israel’s capital. The foundation’s Israel office has created a separate nonprofit that will operate the series, which will start in 2011.

It is not clear how much the foundation has committed to the series, but Schusterman has given the seed money for the project and is now seeking additional funding partners. The Russell Berrie Foundation and the municipality of Jerusalem are also partners in the project.  

"Jerusalem is my second home, a special place, where local arts and cultural organizations contribute so much,” Lynn Schusterman, the foundation’s chairwoman, said about the project. “As a lover of the arts, it is a  privilege to be able to assist artists in their efforts to reach new artistic and institutional heights."

At last year’s Jewish Funders Network Conference, Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, pressed hard for American philanthropists to become more involved in building up Jerusalem both in terms of infrastructure, civic life and cultural life. But the foundation says that this initiative has been in the works for several years, even before Barkat became mayor.

"This upcoming season of culture is a logical extension of our foundation’s work in Israel. We initiated this idea after directly working with the cultural institutions in the city for a significant period of time so that we could understand their needs,” the foundation’s president, Sandy Cardin, said. “Flowing from that, we developed this plan to strengthen the arts and culture scene in Jerusalem."

Here is the press release from Schusterman:

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NEW ARTS AND CULTURE SEASON SLATED FOR SUMMER 2011 IN JERUSALEM

An annual new summer season of culture will take place in Jerusalem beginning in 2011. This new season will focus on supporting arts and culture with a cutting edge, contemporary feel by integrating existing art, introducing new programs and facilitating collaborations among local and international artists, arts organizations and venues across the city, while helping to establish the city as a global center of creativity.  

Itay Mautner, the season’s artistic director, said, “Jerusalem’s social, ethnic and religious diversity has fueled the imagination of generations of artists.  We are here to encourage this voice to thrive and flourish and to make the arts and culture accessible to all in Jerusalem.”

Naomi Bloch Fortis, the season’s senior strategic advisor, added, “Today Jerusalem is home to a vibrant arts scene, with over 100 cultural institutions, each expressing a different voice and unique essence. We look forward to our work with all of the artists and arts organizations here to create an inspired and stimulating season.”

The Schusterman Foundation-Israel initiated this season with assistance from a growing list of supporters including the municipality of Jerusalem and the Russell Berrie Foundation. More details will be released shortly.

To stay informed, go to www.jsoc.org.il.

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