Spreading creativity is always a great thing, especially for artists; This is the idea behind the artist villages in Israel, located in pastoral locations and being a lovely place for a visit. Here are three of them, from north to south:
The concept was born in Europe in the early 20th century, and from there spread to other continents. The idea behind artist villages is to provide artists with a warm and supportive environment, so they can inspire each other and spread creativity. There are several artist villages in Israel, and a visit to one or more is a great introduction to contemporary art in Israel, as well as an opportunity for one-on-one encounters with painters, sculptors and designers in their workshops and galleries.
Ein Hod, the first and largest artists village in Israel, was established in 1953 on the ruins of an abandoned Arab village. The life and soul of the village was Marcel Janco, a painter and an architect, and one of the leading exponents of Dadaism. The early years were harsh, but later on the village prospered and attracted artists from various fields, and today there are several hundred resident artists living in the village, painting, sculpting, designing, composing music, acting, dancing and more.
The village is perched on the slopes of Mount Carmel, surrounded by pine groves and boasting some lovely views. The picturesque houses are surrounded by lush gardens, with statues and other works of art strewn about all over the village. In the heart of Ein Hod is a central gallery, with a permanent collection of works by resident artists, as well as changing exhibitions by other Israeli artists. Also here is the Janco Dada Museum, dedicated to Marcel Janco’s playful and imaginative artwork. During school and religious holidays, the museum hosts a range of activities for children, all in the spirit of Dadaism.
From Tel Aviv, drive north on Route 2 for approximately 70 km (43 miles), get off at the Atlit interchange and continue east to Route 7111 towards Ein Hod. From Haifa, travel south on Route 4 for about fifteen minutes, then turn left onto Route 7111 and continue to Ein Hod.
In 2004, community leaders at Aniam, a small village in the Golan Heights, decided to set up a cluster of galleries and workshops where resident artists can display their artwork and communicate with visitors and potential buyers directly, without any intermediaries. Today, the Aniam Artist Village hosts about 15 galleries and workshops for ceramics, prints, jewelry, Judaica and religious objects, specialty housewares and more. And there are also two cafes, a kosher grill restaurant and some bed-and-breakfast options.
The location itself is simply gorgeous, next to the Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve, with its abundant waterfalls and springs, so don’t miss out on a beautiful hike in nature, before or after your visit to the village galleries.
From Tiberias, drive north on Route 90. At the Capernaum junction, turn right onto Route 87, cross the Eric Bridge, cross the Yehudiya junction and drive up to the Golan. At the Mapalim junction, turn right onto Route 808, and after about 3 km (2 miles) follow the signs to Aniam.
In the Arabah desert is the Tzukim Artist Colony, also established in 2004. The goal of its founders was to establish a village for people from the urban center of the country, who wanted to make a significant change in their lifestyle, far away from the hustle and bustle, so they can work and create in the serenity of the desert. The people of Tzukim work, among other things, in agriculture, desert tourism projects and the arts. The village has several workshops for ceramics, jewelry, sculpture and woodwork. In addition, Tzukim has a micro-brewery, the Araba Brewery, and operates a few unique accommodation options, overlooking the magical desert scenery. Every year in November, Tzukim hosts the Arava International Film Festival, screening arthouse movies from various countries.
Tzukim is located west of Highway 90 (the Arabah Road), between Paran and Tzofar, about a 100 km (60 miles) north of Eilat.