Kabbalists, Crusaders and artisans all have a place in the story of the Galilean city of Safed (Tzfat), a breezy mountaintop marvel in northern Israel, dating back more than 2,000 years. Given its rich history and vibrant present, Safed is a must see, when in Israel. Its two biggest draws are the Artists Colony and significant religious sites centering around 13th-16th century rabbinic mystics such as Isaac Luria.
Painters, sculptors, textile artists, potters, calligraphers, glassblowers, micrographers and scribes all populate Gallery Street in the Safed Artists Colony.
The Safed Artists Museum has a permanent collection of paintings and sculptures. In addition the Frenel Museum is also a great showcase of Safed’s art world. Abstract painter Yitzhak Frenel, great-grandson of the 18th century founder of the Hassidic movement, led a group of 1930s artists in setting up the Artist Colony in scenic, mystical Safed.
One of the newest and most comprehensive centers for art is Sarah’s Tent located deep in the Old City, a branch of a successful Jerusalem gallery. It boasts seven different galleries exhibiting and selling one-of-a-kind items made by more than 70 artists, from jewelry to paintings. Established by immigrants from Montreal about eight years ago, Sarah’s Tent has become the exclusive dealer for Israeli artist Avi Ben Simhon, whose exuberant Fauvist and Cubist-influenced work is displayed in more than 100 galleries worldwide.