On the road to Haifa lies Ein Hod, an artists’ village on a hill, at the foot of Mount Carmel overlooking the Mediterranean coast, the town of Atlit, and an ancient 12th century crusader fortress. After the War of Independence the area and the deserted arab village were abandoned and left in ruin. In the fifties, a group of artists led by the acclaimed Dada artist Marcel Janco decided that Ein Hod would be a place where they could work, build studios and workshops, and form a creative environment for art and art education. The founders’ dream ran into the harsh reality of those days.
By perseverance and vision gradually transformed Ein Hod into the only artists’ village in Israel, one of the few in the world, where artists live and create in every artistic media from the visual arts, to theater, music and literature.
The attitude, structure and even the population of the village has changed with the passing of the years, but its basic principles have been guarded with admirable zeal. The diversity of its inhabitants and the clear difference between the original founders and the new generation create an unusual yet fascinating social fabric. Young and old try to follow the general principles of reciprocity and form a culture based on sharing.
Communal life is managed by a General Council – the ruling body – and by a biyearly elected administrative committee. The village has a wide range of cultural resources. The Ein Hod Art Gallery, the Janco-Dada Museum and the Artists’ House, artists’ studios and galleries are supplemented by a variety of exhibitions and artistic activity throughout the village. The Gertrude Krause House sponsors biweekly chamber music concerts and guest lectures. During the summer months performances of popular music and light entertainment take place in the Roman style outdoor amphitheater.
To complete the setting, restaurants and coffee houses in the center of the village serve as places for social gathering and merriment. The Ein Hod Art Gallery exhibits artwork of all the member artists living in the village who have been approved by the local jury.
Painting and sculpture, ranging from contemporary to early Israeli artists, share space with the various craft media. Works on paper, photography, ceramics, gold and silver jewelry, glass and metal design objects make the gallery one of the largest collections of Israeli art in the country. One can find works by the first generation (works of historical value) hanging alongside young contemporary artists, only recently accepted into the village. Ein Hod is characterized by the special setting of a village sitting on a hillside, surrounded by olive groves, with a view of the Mediterranean Sea, where baroque sunsets end each day. Despite lack of funds and development resources, the village has managed to preserve its original, historic nature and the romantic and simple charm of Israel in its first years of independence. Very few places in Israel have managed to retain the authentic quality of the Mediterranean. One can still discern in the old structures the many textures and architectural forms of earlier occupants — from the Christian Crusades to the Turkish Empire. The roads and byways, a mixture of ancient and modern, all add to a very special atmosphere. Yet perhaps it is the landscape, the vegetation and the view that make this place so unique and exciting — natural Mediterranean gardens of olive, pomegranate almond and carob trees, grape vines and figs.
Ein Hod has remained a nature reserve, preserving the biblical flora of ancient Israel — a perfect environment for the creative muse.
— Article by Amichai Shavit