10 Leading Israeli Artists Selected For U.S. Residencies

In 'The Bands Visit' members of the Egyptian police force band travel to Israel to play at the inaugural ceremony of an Arab arts center, only to find themselves lost in the wrong town.

The Schusterman Visiting Artist Program has announced the names of 10 leading Israeli artists it will place in residencies at colleges and universities across the U.S. this fall and next spring. The artists – celebrated in a variety of disciplines, including filmmaking, choreography, music and literature – will spend two to four months presenting their work to audiences across North America through relevant programming, classes, exhibitions and performances.

Among the 10 artists coming this year is Joshua Sobol, whose plays have been produced at theaters around the world, including in the U.S., Israel, England, Norway, Austria and Japan. Renowned for his play Ghetto, which has been produced in more than 25 countries, he is also the author of Cut Throat Dog, published last year in the United States (Melville House). Sobol will be artist-in-residence at the University of Washington in spring 2012.

Also in spring 2012, two artists will be in residence on University of California campuses. Emmanuel Witzthum, violist, composer and artistic director of The Lab, Center for Contemporary Performing Arts, in Jerusalem, will be hosted by the University of California Berkeley’s renowned Department of Music. Yair Dalal, composer, violinist, oud player and singer and an important figure on the world music scene, will be at UC Santa Barbara to teach and perform his music, which draws on Iraqi, Jewish Arabic and other traditions.

The Schusterman Visiting Artist cohort for 2011-12 also includes:

  • Poet, writer, critic and musician, Shimon Adaf, who will be artist in residence at the University of Vermont this fall. Amos Oz calls him “one of the most interesting and original voices in contemporary Israeli literature.”
  • Sahar Azimi, whose choreography has been presented in Israel and Europe and who has danced with some of Israel’s most highly regarded companies, including Noa Dar, Emanuel Gat and Barak Marshall. Azimi will be teaching in the highly regarded Department of Dance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in spring, 2012.
  • Eran Kolirin, the writer and director of The Band’s Visit, a feature film that won several awards at the 2007 Cannes Festival. Kolirin, who has also worked in television, including on the Israeli version of the American series “In Treatment,” will spend the spring semester teaching at Temple University in Philadelphia.
  • Choreographer Uri Shafir, who has danced with several leading Israeli companies, including the Batsheva Ensemble, as well as with Dana Ruttenberg and Barak Marshall, will teach next spring in the very active Department of Theater and Dance at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
  • Record producer and music arranger for some of Israel’s leading recording artists, Assaf Talmudi, is also the co-founder of Oy Division, a band specializing in researching and reconstructing Eastern European Jewish folk music, which released its debut album in 2010 and has toured worldwide. Talmudi is nearing completion of a Ph.D. in the Music Department at Bar Ilan University based on interdisciplinary research in the fields of evolutionary musicology, artificial intelligence and complex systems. He will be in residence this fall at McGill University in Montreal.
  • Sharon Ya’ari, a photographer who will be honored in September with a solo show at the Kunsthaus Baselland in Switzerland and has had one-person shows at the Tel Aviv Museum, the Herzliya (Israel) Museum and the Lisson Gallery in London, among others, will be artist-in-residence at George Washington University, Washington, D.C., this fall.
  • Dani Menkin, a filmmaker whose students at Syracuse University will work with him when he shoots his next feature film on location in Syracuse this fall. Menkin will also be a presenter and judge at the Syracuse International Film Festival.

“Dani Menkin is one of Israel’s most exciting young filmmakers. His work crosses the boundaries between documentary and fiction, making his residence a perfect fit for the film program in the Department of Transmedia at Syracuse,” said Owen Shapiro, Shaffer Professor of Film in the Department of Transmedia of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. “Menkin’s work in imaging disabilities will make his presentations of particular value to our School of Education Disabilities Studies Program. We are very thankful to the Schusterman Foundation and our Department of Transmedia for making this residency possible.”

With funding from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and others, the Schusterman Visiting Artist Program is one of the largest organized residency programs of Israeli artists ever launched in the U.S. It awards Israeli artists – including filmmakers, choreographers, musicians, writers and visual artists – long-term residencies at North American universities, museums, Jewish community centers and other cultural organizations, with a focus on fostering interaction between the artists and the communities where they are based.

For more information about the program visit the Schusterman Visiting Artist Program website.

About: The Schusterman Visiting Artists Program, a project of the Foundation for Jewish Culture, was founded in June 2008 to provide a new avenue for connecting North American audiences with Israel through the lens of Israeli artists embedded in residencies in communities across the U.S.