by Yael Adar
The Open Museum at the Tefen Industrial Park lies in the rolling hills of the Western Galilee, near Kfar Vradim and Ma’alot (about two-and-half hours from Tel Aviv). Here, nature, art and industry merge with culture and education. It is a place where Israeli art, particularly sculpture, thrives. The exhibits showcase art works from the 1920’s until today. The sculpture garden covers an area of 29 acres, the largest section of the Open Museum.
Industrialist Stef Wertheimer, founder of ISCAR, a precision tool company with exports in excess of $300 million a year conceived The Open Museum. He wanted to create a place that promotes creativity in all its forms. Tefen is just one of four such industrial parks in Israel, the others are located in nearby Lavon, Tel-Hai (further north) and Omer, near Beersheba, in the south. Not only is Tefen the site of Wertheimer’s own company, but also over 20 other export oriented companies. Wertheimer is not a proponent of Israeli high-tech, but rather of economic independence that will be achieved via exports.
The outdoor sculpture garden houses art works by a variety of Israeli artists, including: Itzhak Danzinger, Ilan Averbuch, Michael Gross, Micha Ullman, Rudi Lehmann and Igael Tumarkin to name a few. The sculptures are made of stone, bronze, iron, wood, marble, clay and steel as well as combinations of some of these materials. Some are large-scale works, others are small and whimsical many are modern.
On Israel’s 50th anniversary, Wertheimer wrote in the catalog that accompanied the exhibition, Israeli Sculpture 1948 –1998 Milestones, “We believe that environmental sculpture is not only sculpture that integrates with the environment: real environmental sculpture creates an environment and has an influence upon it. Today, the environment that is named ‘Tefen’ is a collaborative creation by both industry and art, to the point that we cannot separate between them."
Indoor galleries at the museum provide changing exhibitions of both sculptures and paintings. On site there is also a small Museum for German-Speaking Jewry – which depicts their history and the contributions that the “Yekkes” made in building the new country and its growing industry.
Those with an interest in antique cars can also visit the special collection of cars that shows the development of the car industry.
You can also visit some of the companies located in the park like , Nahariya Glass and Elana’s Spice Blends and Herbs that have on-site shops.
The Open Museum is located at the Tefen Industrial Park.
Directions: Route # 4 north, until Nahariya. From there continue on Route # 89 toward Ma’a lot. Continue past the main entrance to Ma’a lot, until you reach the right hand turn-off to Kfar Vradim. Do not turn into Kfar Vradim, but continue on the road until you see the signs for the Tefen Industrial Park.
FAX 04/987-2861, 04/987-2940
Website: Open Museums Tefen - check site for opening hours.
Entry fees apply.
Group tours are provided for 20 or more participants. Smaller groups will still be charged a minimum of 20 people. It is possible to arrange for tours in English, by coordinating in advance.