American Academy in Jerusalem


American Academy in Jerusalem fellows during a visit to the Israel Museum, with their new membership cards. From left to right: Susan Korda, Chief Curator Mira Lapidot, Davidson Norris, Dean Moss, and Diane Samuels.

American Academy in Jerusalem fellows during a visit to the Israel Museum, with their new membership cards. From left to right: Susan Korda, Chief Curator Mira Lapidot, Davidson Norris, Dean Moss, and Diane Samuels.

Modeled on the successes of the American Academies in Rome and Berlin, the American Academy in Jerusalem (AAJ) is a 10-week fellowship for distinguished artists, architects, and planners from abroad that helps strengthen the city of Jerusalem as a vibrant, pluralistic center of arts and culture.

In 2010, the Foundation for Jewish Culture established the Academy in order to participate in the larger civic effort to highlight Jerusalem — one of the most extraordinary cities in the world — as a dynamic, democratic, international destination for art and culture. We inaugurated the fellowship successfully in the fall of 2011 with a cohort of four fellows: visual artist Lynne Avadenka, choreographer Donald Byrd, theater artist David Herskovits, and urban planner David Karnovsky.

2013 AAJ Fellows Susan Korda, Dean Moss, Davidson Norris, and Diane Samuels benefited from the previous experiences of the inaugural class of fellows from 2011 whose projects and presence contributed to the city’s cultural capital, and drew attention to Jerusalem as a vibrant, pluralistic world capital and a destination for artists, planners, and thought-leaders.

During their residency, fellows work closely with local cultural organizations, NGOs, schools and the municipality where they will teach master classes, serve as mentors, and offer professional development to peers.

Our Program Director in Jerusalem assists the Fellows in navigating the city, meeting people of interest, and pursuing their research. The Academy provides Fellows with special tours, home hospitality, communal meals, and other enhancements through which we hope to foster deep and long connections to the group and to the city.

2013 Class of Fellows

These remarkable artists shared their cultural talents, vision and expertise in order to foster greater dialogue and understanding between people of the United States and Jerusalem:

Susan Korda, filmmaker.

Susan Korda, filmmaker.

Susan Korda is a New York-based filmmaker who directed, produced and edited the award-winning documentaries Vienna is Different and One of Us, a grant recipient of the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Documentary Film. She also served as a producer on William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe. She has worked as an editor and story consultant in the U.S., Europe and South Africa. Most notably she edited the Academy Award-nominated documentary For All Mankind and was editor and creative collaborator on Sandi DuBowski’s Trembling Before G-d. As writer and story consultant she has worked with filmmakers Alan Berliner, Pearl Gluck and Cindy Kleine. She currently teaches at Columbia University. Korda’s proposed research project is to gather elements for a documentary film that neither explains, condemns nor romanticizes the fabric of the Israeli/Palestinian story, but rather reaches to some of the crossroads of where the individual and collective come together in dreams, jokes, food, and fairy tales.

Dean Moss, choreographer.

Dean Moss, choreographer.

Dean Moss is a New York-based director, choreographer and media artist. He creates works that explore identity and perception. His multidisciplinary practice includes performance, dance, video, audio and visual design. Recent projects investigate audience participation and trans-cultural, cross-disciplinary collaborations. Voluntaries, his newest work in collaboration with visual artist Laylah Ali, is featured in Some sweet day, the Museum of Modern Art’s 2012 exhibition of dance performances organized by guest curator Ralph Lemon. Moss served as the Curator of Dance and Performance at The Kitchen from 1999-2004 and participated as a Curatorial Advisor until 2009. He is currently a Visiting Professor in Art, Dance, and Intermedia Studies at Hunter College, City University of New York. Moss’s proposed research project considers the spiritual connection between Jerusalem and Ethiopia’s holy city of Lalibela, the so-called “New Jerusalem,” as a meditation on love and distance.

Davidson Norris, architect.

Davidson Norris, architect.

Davidson Norris is a New York-based architect and principal of Carpenter Norris Consulting (CNC), a daylighting design and consulting firm. Norris has broad experience in the technical analysis of solar site analysis, in daylighting systems and materials ranging from prismatic glass to tracking mirrors; and in the interwoven aesthetics of daylight and architectural space. CNC has served as daylighting consultants on a wide range of projects including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Bronx Criminal Courthouse, the Austin Convention Center Extension, Novartis laboratories, and Teardrop Park in Lower Manhattan. He presently teaches sustainable design and architectural daylighting courses at the Columbia School of Architecture. Using a multidisciplinary approach ranging from the sciences to the humanities, Norris’s proposed research project is to identify ten sites in Jerusalem that evoke and define the character and quality of the city’s natural light. Norris is the Roselyne Chroman Swig Architecture Fellow at the American Academy in Jerusalem.

Diane Samuels, visual artist.

Diane Samuels, visual artist.

Diane Samuels is a Pittsburgh-based visual artist whose solo exhibitions include the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, the Leo Baeck Institute, the Center for Book Arts, Kim Foster Gallery in New York, Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center, the Municipal Museum of Art in Gyor, Hungary, the Synagogue Center in Trnava, Slovakia, and the Bernheimer Realschule in Buttenhausen, Germany. Group exhibitions include the Andy Warhol Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Prague, Czech Republic. She has won a 2013 residency at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center as well as two international competitions for permanent site-specific artworks: Luminous Manuscript at Center for Jewish History in New York and Lines of Sight at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Samuels’s proposed project is to transcribe poetry and conversations with Jerusalemites in public spaces, photograph and make castings of small sections of important historic and contemporary events, assemble audio recordings of literary readings and conversations, and produce an annotated map of her explorations.

Previous News and Evaluations

The support from The Foundation for Jewish Culture helped Reggie Wilson’s recent opening of Moses(es) at the Brooklyn Academy of Music

The New York Daily News, the Jewish Week, and the Jewish Daily Forward all covered the 2011 launch of the American Academy in Jerusalem.

The program has also been covered by the following: The New York Jewish Week, The Jerusalem Post, JTNews (Washington State), Ma’ariv, Ha’aretz, Bloomberg

Click to download the 2011 evaluation

Application and Selection

Application to the American Academy in Jerusalem is made via nomination from experts in various fields.  A distinguished, multidisciplinary panel reviews applications and makes recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Program Funders

Major donors for American Academy in Jerusalem include Anita and Marc Abramowitz; Bloomberg Philanthropies; The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies; Sheila and Milton Fine, The Fine Foundation; Floy and Amos Kaminski; Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund; Leichtag Family Foundation; The Morningstar Foundation; Russell Berrie Foundation; Roselyne Chroman Swig; and the U.S. State Department. Additional supporters include Andi and David Arnowitz, Ruth Cummings, Maurice Kanbar, and Linda White.

Partner Organizations

Agrippas 12 Cooperative Gallery, The American Center/U.S. Embassy, America House/U.S. Consulate, Batsheva Dance Company, Beit Avi Chai, Beta Dance Company, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Center for Jewish-Christian Relations, Hansen Center for Design, Media and Technology, HaZira Performance Art Arena, The Hebrew University, The Israel Museum, The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, Jerusalem Cinematheque, The Jerusalem Film Fund, The Jerusalem Municipality, Jerusalem Print Workshop, Jerusalem Season of Culture, Jerusalem Interntional YMCA, Kolben Dance, The Ma’aleh School of Television, Film and the Arts, Mamuta, Machol Shalem Musrara: The Naggar School of Photography, Media, New Music, Animation and Phototherapy, Sam Spiegel Film and Television School, The School of Visual Theatre, Vertigo Dance Company, and others.


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