News & Events

Negev Graduates Transform the Beer Sheva Market

At an unforgettable graduation event called “Yallah Tarbut!” (Let’s Go Culture!), Cohort 3 of the Mandel Program for Cultural Leadership in the Negev transformed the Beer Sheva city marketplace into a rich hub of culture

The closing event for Cohort 3 of the Mandel Program for Cultural Leadership in the Negev was a group project organized and produced by the graduating fellows under the leadership of the program’s directors, Professor Dana Arieli and Dr. Itzhak (Kiki) Aharonovich, as part of the “practical component” of the program.

Fellows setting up an exhibit (Photo: Camilla Butchins) Photo: Camilla Butchins

Titled “Yallah Tarbut!” (Let’s Go Culture!), the event had its origins in a group activity that focused on culture during the pandemic, which was held in December 2020. Following the exercise, the fellows spent several months discussing the form that their closing event would take, how many initiatives would be included in it, whether the initiatives should all have a common theme, what kind of connection there should be between the exhibits and the event as a whole, and more.

It was decided to hold the event at the Beer Sheva outdoor market, in order to promote urban renewal in one of the city’s symbolic sites. Planning was done together with representatives of the municipality who are already engaged in a broader process of urban renewal. In designing the event, the fellows contacted the director of the market and arranged a tour of the area to identify appropriate locations. Once locations had been selected, the fellows decided who would present their project in open areas and who would present in closed spaces; how to maximize the connection between the initiatives and the locations chosen; and how to express the connection between the initiatives and the marketplace as a whole. They also discussed the challenges presented by this particular urban space and planned two intensive set-up days in the market itself.

The fellows developed a shared vision of “placemaking” by developing a sustainable cultural activity with an impact on a public space. The event was based on the idea of using the marketplace as a multipurpose venue: a place that is used for commerce during the day becomes available for other purposes in the evenings, and has the potential to host cultural events that can have an impact on the city and beyond.

On July 28, 2021, around 250 people attended this exciting event, including graduates of the first two cohorts of the program and other members of the Mandel community in the Negev. At the start of the evening, the graduating fellows of Cohort 3 were congratulated by Moshe Vigdor, director general of the Mandel Foundation–Israel; Dr. Adi Nir-Sagi, director of the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev; Shlomi Numa, executive director of the Kivunim company of culture and leisure; and Ibrahim al-Hawashla, head of the Neve Midbar regional council.

Throughout the evening, the fellows presented their works in different locations throughout the open-air market, transforming it into a cultural hub. Their projects included art by Bedouin women, a spoken-word performance about the realities of the pandemic, photography examining social issues in the Negev, graphic design exhibits focusing on figures who symbolize Negev localness, and more. The event received media coverage in Hebrew and Arabic in several local news sites and magazines including Branza, Beer Sheva Net, Hamal, and al-Arab.

A musical performance (Photo: Camilla Butchins) Photo: Camilla Butchins

Following the success of the event, the Kivunim culture company and Ye’adim, the municipal company for business and economic development, initiated a program of continued cultural and artistic activity in the market. The municipality also opened several small galleries at the market exhibiting works by local artists.

The fellows of Cohort 3 – entrepreneurs, managers, and artists active in a diverse range of cultural fields throughout the Negev – completed an in-depth year-long learning journey designed to train them to be proactive leaders committed to improving life in the Negev by developing culture in the region. Upon conclusion of their studies, they joined a large and influential group of Mandel graduates throughout the Negev, who share a common understanding of leadership, a desire to drive change, and a common goal of improving the quality of life for all Negev residents. The Center’s many graduates are all pursuing that goal in different ways.

Pictures in an exhibit (Photo: Camilla Butchins) Photo: Camilla Butchins

Exhibits and Performances at the “Let’s Go Culture!” Event

Adam de Lange | Community Circus Album | Video Art

Issy Mamanov Nuriel | There Once Was a Man Who Was Stuck | Stage Performance (Music by Adam de Lange)

Ariel Amit | There is None but Him/Her | Graffiti

Gilad Kaneti | Let’s Go Culture! | Management and Production of the Event

Dina Gavriely | A History of People | Spoken Word

Yael Savaya | Sand Ripples | Installation

Linor Alaluf | Margins | Photography

Marei Ktnani | Welcome | Photography

Noa Babayof | How Many Songs Can You Write About Beer Sheva? | Live Performance

Naftali Aklum | There is None but Him/Her | Graffiti

Adi Ben Boher | Let’s Go Culture! | Negev. Culture. Magazine (Instagram)

Adi Sagie | Personal Stories of the Market | Video Art

Alia Drigat | Bedouin Women Make Art | Installation

Shlomit Lazare | Bedouin Women Make Art | Installation

Shani Havdala | Let’s Go Culture! | Negev. Culture. Magazine (Instagram)