Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem has announced a gift of $25 million from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation of Cleveland.
The lead gift, announced June 10, is part of Bezalel Academy’s $100 million capital campaign. It will fund the construction of the school’s new downtown campus, scheduled for completion in 2017.
The 400,000-square-foot building is being designed by Sejima & Nishizawa and Associates, a Tokyo-based architectural firm, in collaboration with Israel’s Nir-Kutz Architects.
“As part of our long-term relationship with Bezalel Academy, the Mandel Foundation welcomes the opportunity to assist Bezalel in building their new campus in downtown Jerusalem,” said Morton L. Mandel, chairman and CEO of the Mandel Foundation, in a press release. “The gift represents our desire to support Bezalel, the city of Jerusalem and the advancement of art in Israel.”
Mandel was traveling and could not be reached for further comment.
The new building will house classrooms, studios, offices, two auditoriums, an operational area and various workshops. It will address Bezalel’s need for breaking the traditional separation of the academy’s eight departments and allow for a more active social and cultural involvement in the city’s life.
“We are deeply grateful and honored by this gift,” said professor Eva Illouz, president of Bezalel, in the press release. “The new Bezalel campus will be home for the finest academy of arts, design and architecture in Israel.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called it a “momentous contribution to the new Bezalel campus in the heart of our city.”
“The advent of a pioneering institution like Bezalel marks a historic turning point in the cultural renaissance of downtown Jerusalem,” Barkat said. “Attracting thousands of students, young people and artists to the city center, the new site will ensure a bustling, vibrant and innovative Jerusalem.”
The site of the new campus, located in the Russian Compound between the Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Museum of Underground Prisoners, was chosen by the government of Israel, the Jerusalem municipality and the Bezalel Academy for its status as a multicultural meeting place.
“The new campus represents a breakthrough for the academy, with a building that will respond to developing needs in light of the steady and significant increase in the number of our students,” said Dor Lin, director of the Bezalel Academy.
The Mandel Foundation was established in Cleveland in 1953 by Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel. It prioritizes higher education, Jewish education, social leadership and urban renewal and has been a longtime support of Bezalel Academy. The foundation’s offices in Israel have been building a collection of works of Bezalel students and includes more than 100 pieces from the departments of ceramics and glass, fine art and photography.
Established in 1906 by artist Boris Schatz with the support of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, Bezalel is Israel’s leading academy of arts and design.