American Academy in Jerusalem Launches 2013 Cultural Exchange Program

With the participation of four leading artists, the 2013 season of the American Academy in Jerusalem opened this week. The four, representing various creative disciplines, will spend ten weeks in Jerusalem sharing their talents and collaborating with local peers in an effort to encourage cultural interchange between the US and Israel. The program, established by the New York-based Foundation for Jewish Culture is described by organizers as part of a larger effort to highlight Jerusalem as a dynamic global destination for art and culture.

The new class of fellows includes documentary filmmaker Susan Korda, multidisciplinary artist Dean Moss, visual artist Dianne Samuels and architect Davidson Norris.

Norris, is principal at the New York-based Carpenter Norris Consulting which specializes in the use of day-lighting for internal design. His firm was retained by the designers of the newly renovated Israel Museum and was largely responsible for many of the day-lighting aspects of the new facility. Despite his role in overseeing the project and developing many of its core elements, he managed the project from afar and this week welcomed the chance to see the results of his work firsthand. He intends to use his time in Israel to identify ten sites that distinctly use the city’s exposure to natural light, knowledge which he hopes to incorporate into future design projects.

Korda, who has contributed to numerous award-winning projects, will be exploring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through various crossroads between the two peoples and will be gathering elements for a documentary film on the topic.

Samuels will be observing public spaces and conversations with Jerusalemites to develop a creative map of her explorations.

Moss, who has directed and choreographed performances around the world, will explore the spiritual connection between modern-day Jerusalem and the Ethiopian holy city of Lalibela, which is known by many Ethiopians as “New Jerusalem.”

Over the course of the ten-week program, the fellows will interact with local cultural and academic institutions while teaching and mentoring students as well as building working relationships with professional peers.