Photo: Artist Marc Bennett stands with his work, “The History of the Star of David.”
“The History of the Star of David” art installation has remained on track with strong stakeholder support and is now on view in its permanent home at Soroka Medical Center. Artist and filmmaker Marc Bennett’s monumental artwork greets visitors, patients and their families with its uplifting color palette depicting the enduring journey of the world’s most recognizable star. American Friends of Soroka Medical Center commissioned Bennett to create this installation, which is the largest of its kind, standing 16 feet tall and spanning 24 feet wide. This permanent public art installation produced on a striking stainless steel material shines as a beacon of hope throughout the redesigned Healing Garden adjacent to the Legacy Heritage Oncology Center and Dr. Larry Norton Institute at the campus in Be’er Sheva.
“This is a significant opportunity for Soroka to support its life-saving mission through the healing power of art,” states Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld, Executive Director for the American Friends of Soroka Medical Center.
“While I’m in chemo treatment, I can look out of my room and see these gorgeous colors and imagine that I’m as strong as those stars looking back at me,” remarks an anonymous patient at Soroka.
“The History of the Star of David” installation at Soroka provides visitors with a unique cultural experience that honors three pillars of Jewish heritage: education, tolerance, and giving. It is in this spirit that Marc Bennett has partnered with Soroka Medical Center to share a powerful message of hope and healing. Accompanying the installation will be an educational panel and scannable QR code that reveals the many stories of perseverance as witnessed by Judaism’s iconic star throughout the ages. In order to serve its multicultural population, all related information is published in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Soroka’s public art initiative is also exploring collaborations with local and national tourism boards to welcome visiting tour groups, student-led art tours, children’s art workshops, and other educational programs to enhance the learning value of Bennett’s art. Soroka’s proximity to and partnership with Ben Gurion University places “The History of the Star of David” artwork at the center of the Negev’s cultural hub, uniquely positioning the work to inspire visitors and promote cross-cultural engagement.
Prof. Itzhak Avital, Executive Medical Director of Soroka’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and Chairman of Surgery, has shown enthusiasm for the project from the inception. Now that it is part of the campus he is moved by watching visitors, patients and staff connect with the powerful piece.
“This masterpiece is just what our garden needed. It’s a place to relax, ponder and gain hope,” explains Avital. “If the Magan David survived so many tribulations, so too can the cancer patient. It goes way beyond art.”
Art in this case is healing, emotional, inspirational and may also be a source of sought after supplemental funding. This installation brings notoriety to the institution which helps with global donor development. There is also a long term vision for support through the assets of the art itself.
“‘The History of the Star of David’ art’s vibrant jewel-tone colors and images provide a plethora of licensing opportunities for associated merchandise,” remarks Mindy Gale, CEO of Gale Branding. “From charm bracelets to treasured tabletop items and Judaica pieces, these will provide Soroka with a steady stream of support for generations to come.”
Looking to the future, the work of art is expected to generate significant revenue. Ten percent of worldwide art and art-related merchandise sales will go directly to Soroka. Branded merchandise will be available for purchase on-site, online e-com, museum gift shops, Jewish centers and specialty stores around the world. The universal message of hope for the future told by each of the 18 stars featured on the piece reminds viewers that they too have the power to endure adversity through strength, perseverance and faith.