“Design and Social Responsibility, led by Israeli architect and social activist Gil Mualem-Doron, strove to provide neighborhood residents with renovation or interior design changes that would meet the needs of individuals and their families. The planning and design took place over the course of numerous conversations and meetings between architecture and design students from two nearby colleges and neighborhood residents who were interested in participating.
Students from the Avni Institute for Art and Design in Tel Aviv met with five families who were interested in redesigning their private apartments, while students from the College for Management Academic Studies in nearby Rishon LeZion met with residents from two specific buildings in the Jesse Cohen neighborhood who were interested in redesigning their shared, communal space. Municipal workers, social workers, and contractors were also involved in the project that often entailed challenging zoning restrictions and redefining tax and building regulations. Plans for the proposed improvements to the apartments were presented in an exhibition while a documentary film also recorded interviews with participants throughout the project.
The College for Management Academic Studies joined the Jesse Cohen Project participants and the Center for Digital Art in hosting an international conference in the nearby city of Rishon LeZion on the subject of city, designers, architecture, and civic responsibility. Among the topics discussed was a new ‘Designers Clinic’ initiative at the College in Rishon LeZion that would approach the field of design, ranging from interior design to industrial design to architecture (or public design), as “not just for the rich, but for everyone. Design that takes upon itself a responsibility to help the weak and find solutions for their needs. Design that takes pride in its ability to create opportunities and not to forcibly reduce them.”22
In this sense, the project generated several waves of impact: From an individual level, to a community level, to a city level and even a regional, national level.
Reaching beyond the city of Holon itself, the Jesse Cohen Project had succeeded in introducing its model of public art engagement for replication in other cities.”
A short film about my artist talk in preparation for the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlwYhxffBaY