Art & Culture

Jerusalem Cultural Quarter

Need:  A vibrant arts and culture scene and a thriving city center are keys to a modern metropolis. Nearly 86% of young adults in Jerusalem recently indicated that culture is a significant factor when considering whether to remain in Jerusalem, making the arts vital to the city’s future. Urban economists have long held that a creative class of artists, tech innovators and entrepreneurs, are a powerful catalytic engine for economic growth. 

Response:  The Jerusalem Cultural Quarter, a new arts district in the city center, unites creativity and culture, talent and technology, education and entrepreneurship, leveraging academic, cultural and community institutions for economic prosperity. This transformational project will shape the city’s future: By

  • Empowering arts institutions and drawing high-quality talent from Israel and around the world, it will strengthen Jerusalem’s role as a global source of inspiration.
  • Attracting a creative class of knowledge workers, intellectual professionals, and artists, it will create new economic opportunities.
  • Drawing residents and visitors to the city center, it will create a meeting point for Jerusalem's diverse population.
  • Giving voice to Jerusalem’s different communities, it will foster a pluralistic society– which will further empower the city’s arts organizations and further promote economic growth, thereby restarting the symbiotic cycle of arts, economy, and society that is the driving force behind modern metropolises.

Projects include:

  • Musrara, the Naggar School of Art trains students in a variety of visual and multi-disciplinary arts genres. A campus expansion will enable the school to accommodate its growing student body and draw young artists to the neighborhood.
  • The Gerard Behar Center, home to the Vertigo and Kolben dance companies, is the only major dance center in downtown Jerusalem. An upgrade will transform the Gerard Behar Center into a world-class center that caters to international audiences, hosting events from around the globe.
  • Lorenzo House, an early 19th century landmark, will be renovated to become a permanent home for two of the city’s orchestras and an arts gallery, while maintaining its unique architectural features.
  • Muslala, The Terrace, a new arts, culture, and agricultural center on the rooftop of the desolate Clal Building, next to Mahane Yehuda, transforms the neglected building into a home for the city’s for up-and-coming artists and a platform for dialogue between the city’s different population groups.
  • The Jerusalem Arts Campus will be home to four premier art schools, the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School, the Nisan Nativ Acting Studio, the Center for Middle Eastern Music, and the School of Visual Theater. It will bring over 650 arts students to the city center, with 10,000 square feet of campus and performance space.
  • Beit Alliance, operated by New Spirit, is a community and home for upcoming artists that caters to the student population that lives in the area, hosting a wide array of performances, workshops, exhibits, and lectures.
  • Maaleh School of Film, Television, and the Arts offers classes in film-making, screenwriting, and film therapy, as well as empowerment programs for ultra-Orthodox women. New renovations will fix damage done by a fire, and allow the school to increase its student body and the scope of its activities.

Population Served:  Jerusalemites of all ages and backgrounds, artists throughout the city and visitors from around the world

Impact:  “Located in the beating heart of downtown Jerusalem, the Cultural Quarter will drive the young, vibrant creative class to our city and serve as a meeting point for Jerusalemites of different backgrounds and visitors from around the globe.” – Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat

Partners: The Israel Ministry of Culture; the Jerusalem Municipality; New Spirit; the Jewish Agency and Eden, a subsidiary of the Jerusalem Development Authority