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Katamona – Library and Gallery in Public Space
at the Katamonim Jerusalem Neighborhood

Katamona is a spatial compound for art, story-telling, encounter and creativity, and invites parents and children to share quality experiences in an enchanted yard. The compound includes a library of books for toddlers, children, youth and art books, and a gallery that houses changing exhibitions of local contemporary art by artist residents of the neighborhood. Katamona is a cultural space and home to various types of cooperation between initiatives, artists, creators, community centers and different projects taking place in the neighborhood. Katamona is operated by a team of students from the fields of social work, art, design, theatre and education. Two main kinds of activity take place in Katamona routinely – story and creation hour, and gallery talks following the various exhibitions. Three to four exhibit are held throughout the year at the gallery, and a “Katamon book week” is initiated by Katamona.

Katamona was launched in September 2014 by Yifat Shir Moskowitz, Nofar Kaplan, Meidad Eliyahu and Moran Aviv, four artists from different disciplines, within the project titled “Creating in Public Space” of Ruach Chadashaorganization and guided by Leah Mauas of the Sala-Manca group. The decision to establish a library and gallery followed rambling and spending time for half-a-year in the Katamonim neighborhood. We collected fragments of information and experiences regarding art and creation there throughout the neighborhood’s history in order to create a place aware of whatever had been there before and focusing on the neighborhood’s creative continuum. The neighborhood’s stories, history and aesthetics inspired the creation of this compound that aims to be relevant to the neighborhood’s residents, always invited to take an active, initiating and creative part.

In 2017 Katamona moved to a new space in the neighborhood and continues its rich and diverse activity, directed by Shir Nitzan and Hadas Tzadik who began as students in Katamona.

For the essay on Katamona in Democratic City: An educational city in the 21st century – road map towards social-education-community change. Ron Dvir, Yael Arbel, Michal Gilboa-Atar and Yael Schwartzenberg (eds.). The Institute for Democratic Education, 2014. (In Hebrew)

In addition to co-directing Katamona in its first three years and accompanying the students in their work there, Moran initiated and created the Katamon book week and the story anthology Bishlishi be-shalosh u-shlish (Heb.: “On Tuesday, at Three and One Third”) with “Makom le-Shira” (Heb.: A place for poetry).

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The alternative Katamon book week is a Katamona initiative and takes place simultaneously with the state-wide Hebrew book week.

This is a week of activities, encounters, culture and art at various centers throughout the Katamonim-Gonenim neighborhood.

The aim of the alternative book week is to build a network of communication and shared local action and initiative in the realms of books, art, community, creativity and sustainability that continues throughout the year.

The festival wishes to celebrate the worlds of books and stories, offer a stage for local contemporary creation and creative community happenings. The program is replete with wonderful content aimed at varied target audiences, from toddlers through all ages and up to senior citizens.

Among the book week’s partners are Ruach Chadasha association, Gonenim Community Directorate, the Music and Dance Center, the Visual Arts Ginuglil Center, Sifripat, Katamona, Katamon Library, Kagan Center, Hoffman House, the community gardens, Ha-Butke, the reading stations, Bar-Rakevet.

What’s alternative about it?

We don’t offer lucrative book sales. We’re not about “get four books for the price of one”. We suggest depth- and breadth-thinking about the idea of the Katamon Book Week, curious about connecting word, street, person, community, matter and spirit.

We wish to extend our “neighborhood story” and its various aspects.

Most of the events are free of charge. They are held at the initiative and under the leadership of neighborhood residents and/or projects and initiatives of the neighborhood space.

The alternative Katamon Book Week has become a neighborhood tradition and has taken place for three consecutive years: 2016-2018.

Program design and logo: Bar Dvir

Photography and video editing: Avi Siman-Tov

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Bishlishi Be-Shalosh U-Shlish

A sheet of stories and poems for children and adults – Nanopoetics 12 – A journal for short literature

Collected and edited by Ronit Chacham, Noa Shikarji, Moran Aviv Dvir and Gil’ad Me’iri

Illustrated and designed by Hadar Reuven

From the editors: “This booklet contains stories and poems with heroes and heroines the likes of whom you have perhaps never met – boys and girls and animals and ghosts – cowardly, weak, mean, innocent, sad, even lazy. For some the paths are not paved and the sky is not always blue. We wished to extend the places where children’s stories dare to roam, and bring experiences from worlds less familiar in heart and mind. And indeed, the stories in the anthology come from Ethiopia, Persia, Iran, Iraq, and Israel’s Modi’in, Beit She’an and the Halisa neighborhood in Haifa – from places of anger, longing and joy. They star tigers, goats, lions and monkeys, grandfathers and grandmothers, and children on wheelchairs, a monster afraid of a child, a child-tigress and a baby-iguana, even a child who was brought up by a lion. This booklet was born following the encounter of two homes: one is “a place for poetry”, a writing school to train future writers (among the anthology’s stories and poems are some written by the school’s trainees); the second is Katamona – a library and gallery in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Katamonim, that invites parents and children to share experiences following stories and art.

This booklet contains old stories in new form, and new stories in old form – a blooming bouquet from the field of creativity, without glaring colors nor lots of pictures. We preferred for the stories and poems to evoke your own imagination and therefore added very few illustrations. You are invited to touch the pages, approach the words, leaf through them with curiosity and fly on the wings of your imagination.”