There is a saying I’ve encountered several times recently…not only is it clever, but it’s true: ”The EARTH without ART is just EH!” Both viewing and creating art enriches and beautifies our lives!

Through the art of photography, it’s possible to capture the beauty of other artists’ creations. In the Tiferet exhibit, the art I’ve included represents many mediums. There are metal and glass sculptures, stained glass windows, jewelry, mosaics, and paintings. Some of the art depicted is done by renowned artists, like Marc Chagall and Robert Indiana, some has been created by “street artists”, like Solomon Souza and Mayan Fogel, and some, like the 1st century mosaic known as the Mona Lisa Haglilit, is crafted by unknown artists. A favorite image from the exhibit has been the colorful “floating umbrellas.” This original art installation, called “The Umbrella Sky Project,” was conceived in 2011 by a company from Portugal. They are dedicated to creating beautiful urban exhibits using low-cost concepts. Besides the umbrellas on Yoel Solomon Street, near Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem, umbrellas have been installed above the streets of many countries, including the U.S., Cambodia, Germany, and Serbia. Art connects all cultures and all ages. It inspires the recognition of beauty around the world.

The Tiferet exhibit has sparked creative workshops and educational activities that have allowed the attendees to become artists, enjoying the creative process, and to learn ways of using photographs for teaching children. On March 6 the Dix Hills Jewish Center and Ricky Tadmor hosted a workshop for Jewish educators, run by Suri Jacknis of the Jewish Education Project. Fourteen educators learned how to use photos as prompts to spark creativity and learning. We presented a “photo curating workshop,” which turned out to be an enjoyable and thought provoking activity. I had the opportunity to explain how I chose the photos for the Tiferet exhibit, (narrowed down from 5000 to 50!), and my thought process in organizing them to create the story and message I hoped to convey. Afterwards, the participants used copies of my photos, as well as their own, to become curators of their own beautiful exhibits, creating fascinating and unique stories.

Whether you think of yourself as an artist or not, you have a great capacity to create. Artists start with a spark, and as they follow through, the idea is transformed into a work of art. Creating anything is simply following through on an idea to bring it into being. Studies have shown that when we create, we feel happier. You don’t have to be a painter, potter, or poet to feel the benefits of creating. Cooking a meal, planting in the garden, creating a photo book, building a model, drawing on your tablet, or even generating a business plan are all ways we can tap into the creative flow. Author and psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says, “when we are creating, we feel that we are living more fully, a sense of time disappears, we forget ourselves, and we feel like we are part of something larger.”

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