Art for Understanding

by | Feb 16, 2018 | What’s Happening

Celebrating Israeli culture and bringing communities
together through art and dance
March 9–16

More than 70 artists and guests from Israel, including former First Lady Miri Shafir Navon, will travel to Virginia as part of Art For Understanding next month. This collaboration and cultural exchange connects students from Minds In Motion, Richmond Ballet’s celebrated outreach program reaching nearly 2,000 students throughout Virginia and Israel, and Matter of Color, a group of artists from Israel.

The brainchild of Thomas Smith of Binns of Williamsburg, Art For Understanding resulted after an introductioin to Minds In Motion through the Virginia Israel Advisory Board. “I was inspired by all that Richmond Ballet does in both Virginia and Israel,” says Smith. “I have strong ties to Israel, and upon seeing how Minds In Motion uses the power of dance to break through barriers, connecting the Jewish and Arab communities, I wanted to help bring awareness to this incredible program.”

Matter of Color, led by instructor and curator Bruria Hassner of Tel Aviv, has been painting together for more than two decades. The group is comprised of approximately 120 women and a few men who paint weekly and explore a variety of themes through the creation and expression of their art. As part of the Art For Understanding exchange, Matter of Color artists have created an exhibition of more than 100 paintings tied to the theme of empathy and understanding. Through March 9, the artwork may be viewed by visiting many locations Virgina. Locations include, among others, the Carole and Marcus Weinstein Jewish Community Center in Richmond, the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus in Virginia Beach, Binns of Williamsburg, Richmond Ballet, and the SunTrust Center in downtown Richmond. All paintings are available for bid online at

In Virginia, the artists will travel throughout the state, meeting with groups and dancing and painting with Minds In Motion students. The public is invited to attend two special events with the artists. The first is a ticketed dinner event, An Evening of Empathy & Understanding on March 14 at Kingsmill Resort. On March 15, the cultural exchange will culminate at the Art For Understanding Exhibit, a celebration of Israeli art and culture at Binns of Williamsburg. The entire collection of paintings, as well as clothing and jewelry by Israeli designers, will be on view, 3–9 pm. This event will include an appearance by renowned Yemenite jeweler Ben Zion David and upscale clothing from noted Israeli fashion house Maskit. Proceeds from the art auction and related events will support the Minds In Motion programs.

“Art For Understanding provides an opportunity for our communities to meet each other personally, share and explore our similarities, and celebrate our rich cultural and personal differences,” says Brett Bonda, managing director for Richmond Ballet. “The Richmond Ballet mission is to uplift and awaken the human spirit, and I cannot think of a better way to do so than by bringing together communities through art and movement.”

Art For Understanding is sponsored by Binns of Williamsburg and the Virginia Israel Advisory Board. To learn more about Art For Understanding and Minds In Motion, or to bid on a painting, visit richmondballet. com/a4u.