Cultural exchange in West Vail today |

Cultural exchange in West Vail today

Cassie Pence
Special to the Daily Artist Morris Dahan will be represented by the Israeli Traveling Gallery at Donovan Pavilion today.

Colorado lawyer David Rees left his practice in Denver and traveled to Israel for seven months to try and help people. He shook hands, introduced himself and tried to initiate cultural bridges. He noticed no one was talking to each other – except the artists.Similar to music, art is a language that knows no boundaries. Rees said that regardless of religion and ethnicity, the culture surrounding galleries in Israel continues to communicate.Fourth of July weekend marked the beginning of the Israeli Traveling Gallery’s three-week stint in Colorado, a tour that Rees helped organize. The troupe arrives in West Vail today at Donovan Pavilion. B’nai Vail is hosting a potluck dinner from 6 to 9 p.m., and the art show will take place before and during the picnic.

Formed by 15 galleries from Jerusalem, Old Haffa, Safed and Megido, the Israeli Traveling Gallery is a response to Israel’s downward spiraling economy. Gallery representatives and artists are traveling the United States to market their work at as many venues as possible.”Sending back these sums of money to these businesses has really been a lifeline for them. It’s keeping them above water,” Noam Hoffman, representative for Gabrieli Hand Weaving, said. The Gabrieli family has been weaving for three generations. Ori Gabrieli will be present in West Vail to answer questions and swap stories. He’s just one of the artists who will rotate their attendance in the United States with fellow artists back in Israel. Each artist travels for one month.”We’re representing three of Israel’s most renowned artists. David Gerstein, Frank Meisler and Yoel Benharrouche,” Hoffman said.

Gerstein sculpts in steel. Meisler manipulates bronze, silver and gold into works that convey movement and revelation. Benharrouche uses symbols from the Kabbalah and Simchi Rubin in his modern paintings. Jewelry and other mediums will be represented, and the exhibition includes art in all price ranges. Much more than an art show, the Israeli Traveling Gallery is helping to unify. Hoffman stayed in a Christian home in Grand Junction. Catholics cooked a kosher picnic for the artists at the Golda Meir House in Denver. Internationally recognized Muslim artist Majid Kahhak will host the tour at his gallery in Carbondale after its stop in Vail. Rees said he couldn’t be prouder of the state’s reception for the troupe.”It is so different in America than it is in Israel. Here people are proud of being minorities, and minorities help one another,” Rees said.By increasing sales, the Israeli Traveling Gallery hopes not only to improve its own artists’ sales, but to support the sagging economy that effects all Israeli’s ethnic and religious groups.

Blowing in the windIsralei Traveling GalleryTodayDonovan Pavilion in West Vail

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