Friday, May 10, 2013

Bezalel Street Artists Fair

Just a short distance from the center of the city, there's something new and exciting to explore on a Jerusalem Friday morning. The Bezalel Artists Fair, displaying original creations by Israeli artists, will appeal to tourists and local residents alike.

“The fair is a win-win idea," Oded Steinberg told the Jerusalem Post in an article announcing the fair's inception three years ago. Steinberg, who together with Rachel Ben-Moshe, is responsible for the downtown sector on the Lev Ha’ir Community Council, said that the fair "is the first of its kind to be held in the city center on a regular basis. It promotes art and culture, creates jobs, brings traffic into the area, boosts tourism and is good not just for the participants but also for downtown businesses.”

My wife and I had the opportunity to explore the fair on a sunny Friday.

Run in cooperation with the Jerusalem Municipality's arts and culture department, the fair is staged on the Bezalel pedestrian mall, on Rehov Schatz, and in the sunken public garden across the street of the Hamashbir department store at the intersection of Ben Yehuda Street and King George Avenue. The fair takes place every Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Stands offer visitors quality handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, household goods, artwork, ceramics, paintings, toys, and souvenirs, all at reasonable prices.

The fair is located in close proximity to the well-known Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, an institution synonymous with more than 100 years of Israeli art innovation.

The school, founded in 1906, was named for Bezalel ben Uri, a highly gifted Biblical artisan who was called upon to create the Tabernacle.

Visiting the Bezalel Arts Fair one gets a true sense of the creativity of Israeli artists, especially the artists of Jerusalem. Although there were stands selling baked goods, including challah for Shabbat, the only thing lacking was somewhere where you could buy cold drinks. The street cafes were packed, but the restaurants on Ben Yehuda Street were just minutes away. Pizza and salad on that pedestrian mall were a perfect way to end the morning.

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