Guest Post by Advertising Alumnus Zev Harari
When I learned that Art Center President Lorne Buchman was coming to Haifa, Israel, I was excited. It’s a great and rare opportunity to arrange a meeting with Israel-based Art Center alumni—many of whom I was not even acquainted with. I only knew of one or two fellow alums here, and set out to find more our tiny country.
A 1976 Advertising graduate myself, I contacted Leon Botner PHOT ’74, who I first met when I was majoring in Advertising at Art Center’s Third Street campus (I graduated two years later at Hillside Campus). Back then, in the mid- ’70s, there were two other Israeli students at Art Center, but as far as I know they settled in the U.S. after graduation. Leon helped me to locate two of his photography colleagues: Dan Porges PHOT ’72 and Micha Shelef PHOT ’69. I contacted an alumna I hadn’t met: Avital “Tally” Kelner-Gazit, GRPH ’85, and she directed me to two more alums: Avidor “Dori” Regev TRANS ’87 and Cecilia Vitas, ENVL’98.
So now there were seven of us, and we were excited to meet Art Center’s president and each other.
We met at the Dan Carmel Hotel, located atop Mt. Carmel overlooking the beautiful port of Haifa. After getting acquainted, we decided to go to a restaurant in town for our informal meeting. While walking to our destination, we found that we were speaking with each other and Lorne like old friends—the immediate connection and camaraderie we felt was amazing! It felt so much like our past at Art Center—while much time has passed and things are much different in our lives today, Art Center was connecting us, and naturally we shared memories and mutual experiences.
That evening, each of us shared our personal story, why we chose Art Center, and what we had been up to since graduation:
- Micha had to take a leave of absence from the College in 1967 due to the breakout of the Six Day War in the Middle East. He later returned and competed his studies. After practicing photography in the U.S., he settled in Israel and worked in various enterprises. Today he deals in real estate.
- Dan’s expertise is in portrait photography. He is the formal photographer of the highly respected national Israel Prize.
- Upon returning to Israel, Leon started a career in advertising photography, and until recently was in charge of sales at the local Fuji center. Today he consults in digital photography.
- After graduation, Zev worked for The Committee, a Los Angeles advertising design studio ran by three fellow alumni. Since returning to his home northern kibbutz, he has practiced communications design for various organization and businesses
- Dori was already working as an engineer when he was admitted at Art Center. Today he teaches transportation design and is involved with that field on a national level.
- Tally is a senior practicing graphic design and a member of a design group.
- Cecilia, who had already been working as a graphic designer, traveled all the way to Pasadena to study industrial and environmental design. After practicing in the U.S., she became involved with designing and instructing environmental design in Israel.
The conversations we had were lively. One topic discussed was our being “products” of the American higher education in the fields of art and design. As Israelis who have lived and worked here for years, our sources of inspiration are “local” since we create in a Middle Eastern environment. We also discussed the exchange of students (some of us are or have been college instructors in the present and in the past). Lorne shared with us the College’s new strategic plan.
We presented Lorne with two recent volumes of Designed in Israel, issued by the Israel Community of Designers, in which some of us have work represented—testimony to the vitality of the Israeli design industry.
On behalf of the seven alumni present, I would like to express our sincerest appreciation and affection to the College, alumni and president.