The Dar Yusuf Nasri Jacir for Art and Research in the city Bethlehem in the West Bank after an attack by the Israeli army (images courtesy the Dar Jacir Center)

An online fundraiser has generated more than $30,000 to help repair a Bethlehem arts center founded by Palestinian artist Emily Jacir, which was ransacked by Israeli forces last month.

Israeli soldiers raided the Dar Yusuf Nasri Jacir for Art and Research (Dar Jacir) on May 15, causing damage to the building and confiscating equipment including computers, hard drives, cameras, and books. It remains unclear if Israeli authorities specifically targeted the center, which is located in “Area A” of the West Bank (an area controlled by the Palestinian Authority). A few days before the raid, the center’s communal garden — called the “Urban Farm” — was destroyed in fires caused by Israeli projectiles shot in the area.

Dar Jacir was founded in 2014 by family members Emily Jacir, Annemarie Jacir, and Yusuf Nasri Jacir, and is currently co-directed by Emily Jacir and Aline Khoury. The center offers cultural and educational programming to locals and hosts a residency program for international artists.

Organized by the Association for Modern and Contemporary Arab Art (AMCA) together with other nonprofit organizations, the campaign reached its initial goal of raising $25,000 within 48 hours from its launch. The organizers now hope to raise $50,000 to help sustain the art center’s long-term activities and restore and maintain the Urban Farm.

An Israeli army grenade found outside the Dar Jacir center

The initiative is led by Julia Bryan-Wilson and Anneka Lenssen from the History of Art department at the University of California, Berkeley, together with a group of supporters including Asma Kazmi, Ahmad Diab, Nada Shabout, and Sarah Rogers.

“The amount of damage was initially underestimated,” Bryan-Wilson told Hyperallergic in an email. “The new goal more accurately reflects the amount needed for repairs and to replace equipment.”  

Hundreds have contributed to the campaign, among them theorist Judith Butler and art world figures like Nina Katchadourian, Trevor Paglen, Jane Lombard, Michael Rakowitz, and Lori Waxman.

“Contributing — even in small amounts — is also a way to materially demonstrate care and solidarity with Palestinian artists,” Bryan-Wilson said.

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant and he holds an MFA in Art Writing from the School of Visual...