The winter solstice has been celebrated since prehistoric times as a potent time for rebirth, new beginnings and the turning of bad fortunes into good ones. As I walked up from the Haifa street of Wadi Salib from the train station, I gazed at a gleaming building that seemed like the realization of a dream. Originally a school placed in a rough neighborhood of North African immigrants, the building had just been renovated from top to bottom to host 24 workshops, a huge main gallery space, warehouses to contain paintings and sculptures, and even an art library.
A security guard asked me to identity myself, examined my press card and explained that he’s under orders to stop anyone attempting to enter the art center from the bottom – rough – side of town. Most visitors walk down to the art center to arrive at the main entrance, where people are invited to have their photographs taken with a background of an oriental rug and take the print home as a keepsake.