About "Essential Art"
The criteria that we based our selection on and that was published in our call for proposals were:
You are a working artist or culture-maker with ongoing projects that have been affected by the Coronavirus and related economic crises; and
Your artistic work is aimed at elevating narratives, identity, representation and/or story of specific communities, backgrounds or struggles that are not often heard, seen or felt; and/or
Your work brings different languages, cultures, struggles and identities together in unique ways that create a surprise or a cognitive dissonance and allow people to imagine a different future of “we” and of belonging.; and/or Your work relates to and/or you have collaborated with protest movements, social struggles, or activism related to issues such as: social justice, ending the occupation, equality and democracy, feminism, the environment, LGBTQ rights, or other social and political issues.
We launched this initiative to support Culture and Art in Israel at the height of the global Coronavirus pandemic, at a time when it looked like arts and culture was being treated by the Israeli government as disposable.
New Israel Fund views arts and culture as an essential element of social change. We know that social change requires inspiration, imagination and creativity. The arts are essential work. Artists are essential workers - for our movements, for society, for democracy and for all of our souls.
The incredible response from the field to our call for proposals, which was above and beyond anything we could have imagined, is a good indicator that our support is indeed essential here. Initially we intended to make 5 grants of 15,000 NIS each - the best we could do at that moment. But when we received more than 700 proposals from artists and creators, including an impressively high number of inspiring and well-fitting proposals, we knew we needed to expand our support.
In a joint effort with Nathan Cummings Foundation, we were able to increase the number of artists we could support from 5 to 14, each receiving 10,000 NIS. And still, the amount of creators that we would have loved to support is way more than what we were able to do.