Cultural Promotion Program

Haifa has a variety of cultural currents: from ethnic currents, communities, and avant-garde and experimental scenes, through contemporary art to traditional and classical art. The way the city is structured, the hills, landscape, beaches, thickets and architecture that ranges from well houses to Brutalism and Bauhaus, all of which echo its character and are reflected in the diverse art created in the city, the music scene, plastic arts, the collectives. Haifa is an inviting and pleasant city with tremendous potential, thanks to its creative residents. Beneath the surface are extensive activity, intriguing collaborations and independent initiatives. Now there is an opportunity to reach out, revive urban infrastructure, strengthen existing activity and help develop local activity in the art fields. With correct thinking, it will be possible to collaborate with elements on the ground, build a professional and proper response on the part of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and help connect various elements to create a more vivid, enjoyable and attractive city for residents, visitors and tourists, as well as opportunities for professionalization and livelihood for local artists.
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The city’s residents and visitors will actively experience the cultural life taking place in Haifa. The Haifa Municipality will encourage this by collaborating with artists and nurturing the creative communities in the city. The Department of Cultural Affairs will be a home, a guiding and helpful factor, and will strive to provide operating space and a voice to all the cultures and sub-streams that exist in the city: community culture, professional culture, avant-garde and fringe, popular culture for the wider community. This cultural activity will enrich life in the city’s neighborhoods, attract new residents and contribute to the residents’ lives, the local economy, tourism and urban renewal.

Culture Haifa2030

Artists living in the city are the most important cultural force in the city, so they should be consulted and worked with in cooperation, not from a client-supplier relationship. The city’s cultural entrepreneurs, creative communities (collectives and forums) and individual artists can be assisted by encouragement and opportunities that a large city can provide (festivals, vocational training and more, as detailed below and updated from time to time).

The result will be a living and enjoyable urban space that will contribute to the urban economy – there will be more reasons to go outside, purchase services and spend money on entertainment, creating more earning opportunities from peripheral activities. According to a 2012 economic advisory document to the Israel Culture and Arts Forum (a non-profit supported by the Ministry of Culture and Sport), direct expenditure on culture has a multiplier of 1.5 compared to other industries. Some argue that this data is conservative and that the influence of urban cultural activity is even broader.

Intuitively, it is understandable that this is peripheral activity around cultural events, for the profit of businesses close to that activity. Busy neighborhoods create livelihood opportunities – cafes, employees of cultural institutions, services and consumer products, a place for independent initiatives, and so on. Moreover, strengthening the fields themselves creates a sustainable economy. For example: A musician earns his salary at a concert, and this allows him to buy equipment, pay the producer, pay the photographer and editor, pay for a music video and so on. Strengthening cultural activity will leave the money in the city and create additional livelihood channels.

A private vehicle is suitable for those who can and are allowed to drive, and can bear the economic cost of maintaining it. Public transportation (as long as it is accessible to the disabled) is an egalitarian means suitable for the general public. Bicycles are only suitable for those who are physically able to ride, while walking (even from the car to the elevator) is the destiny of most of us. 

The intensity of motorization in Haifa is increasing at a similar rate to the rest of the country. Over the past decade, the number of registered vehicles in the city has grown by 25%, from 100,000 to 125,000. Leased vehicles and vehicle fleets are not necessarily registered in the city, so there may be a deviation of up to 20%. The increasing number of vehicles means more trips, and, of course, greater demand for parking all over the city.

With the opening of new traffic routes such as Route 22 (the Krayot bypass), connecting Route 75 to Route 22 (to the background of the opening of Route 6 North and the Carmel Tunnels, including a direct connection to Route 22), the volumes of metropolitan traffic entering the city increased. Today, about 200,000 vehicles enter Haifa every day – about 60% from the north and 25% from the south. All of these increase the demand for parking in the employment and commercial areas. 

This is the picture in terms of public transport: The railway serves an average of 25,000 passengers a day via lines from the south, north and east. Three Metronit bus lines connect the Krayot )Kiryat Yam, Kiryat Motzkin, Kiryat Bialik, Kiryat Ata and Kiryat Haim) with Haifa and serve about 75,000 daily passengers, alongside some 125 intercity bus lines. In the very near future, two more Metronit lines and an urban cable car are about to start operating. Within Haifa there are about 110 municipal bus lines serving some 50,000 passengers daily. The Carmelit underground funicular railway transports about 4,000 passengers a day. 

A total of 20% of total trips are made by public transport today. In other words – the quality of service offered by public transport is insufficient, does not stop the increasing intensity of motorization and does not meet the growing potential demand.

Bicycle use is also low – there are hardly any bike paths and a shortage of comfortable sidewalks. Moreover, the city’s topography makes soft traffic (pedestrians and bicycles) difficult. 

Against the background of the above-described situation, the following vision has been defined:

A number of principles were chosen during the policy building process, as appeared in the Vision 2000 document:

  1. The right to create and consume culture is a fundamental right.
  2. The image, identity and uniqueness of the State of Israel are determined in its cultural life.
  3. Expression possibilities should be given to all population groups and all shades of culture.
  4. The policy of public support for culture must be anchored in legislation.


Although these principles were written in 2000, even today, 21 years later, it is necessary to reiterate them and act to give them expression in reality (in the context of the fourth clause, at the municipal level we will talk not about legislation, but about changing policy).

גרפיטי בחיפה

Vision 2000 was written as a recommendation to the political echelon, but the rationale presented in it is suitable for the municipal framework, with the interest being to enable and encourage quality cultural activity. The greater the confidence in a sustainable future, the more opportunities for professional development can be provided. The more we signal to the cultural bodies that they can look forward, the more stable, extensive, diverse and high-quality cultural activity will be possible. The cultural horizon must be built, not only by allocating budgets but also through training, creating channels of expression, advertising, adapting and renewing regulation and bureaucracy, connections and cooperation (the perspective of employees at the municipal level enables connections that the territory thirsts for, including connections between business entities and cultural entities, connections with foundations and philanthropy, connections at the national level, and more). 

The Vision 2000 document states a number of principles that are in line with the route that the city’s current leadership has established: severing dependence on the political echelon; radically simplifying bureaucratic procedures; ensuring systematic, stable and dignified annual and perennial support; flexibility and budgetary transparency; support for small institutions; nurturing original initiatives and new talents. 

These principles reflect the requests that come from the field in Haifa in various forums of artists and cultural entrepreneurs. 

And when we come to realize them, we will have to face the classic dilemmas in the field of culture:


  1. Multiculturalism versus shared culture
  2. Center versus the periphery
  3. Professionals versus amateurs
  4. Planning versus creative freedom



We are aware of the complexity involved in each step, and that we will need feedback from the field, to allow moves to be reexamined and demonstrate flexibility and creativity. The goal is to be in touch, change, examine and experience, see what works and change what doesn’t work. Each of the aforementioned dilemmas will be expressed in any choice made at the policy level and execution level. There will always be tension around them, and they will always motivate action. The challenge is to create a lively, inclusive, attentive and flexible discourse with a professional and creative workforce that has garnered experience and knowledge in the fields of culture, art and production, one that lives and knows the area and comes from within it.

Strategic Goals

The establishment of a broad and holistic urban apparatus, whose organizational climate enables efficient and transparent communication between its components, as well as ongoing contact with the area (artists, creators, producers), based on joint thinking and action. These are the interfaces we are currently working on:

o Interface between the municipality’s departments – The beginning of every project is examining the desired interfaces, as well as thinking about which interfaces can enrich cultural activity and vice versa. For example, a collaboration between the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department of Urban Renewal in order to turn buildings designated for demolition into pop-up museums.

o Interface between the municipality’s administrations and departments and external factors – We strive to establish more and more networks of connections, which will enable collaboration and pooling of resources. A broader view will enable better education, broad vocational training, surprising artistic collaborations, and cultural projects that will attract residents and tourists. A good example is the activity on Sirkin St., both of private entrepreneurs and on the urban level, which has created a positive domino effect – small businesses of private entrepreneurs who gave a boost to the street’s renewal (the municipality’s Parklets and Rooftops Project), which has begun to attract cooperatives of independent artists and creative projects; and at the same time young people with communal consciousness began to reach the street and nearby streets, established the community garden and also conducted cultural activities there. Private initiatives, artistic initiatives and dialogue with the municipality have created a lively reality of creativity, entertainment and culture.

 o Interfaces between external factors with the municipality’s support and assistance – The lateral view allows the municipality and Haifa 2030 to link different entities that turn to them, but are not necessarily aware of each other. Many interfaces are created from consultations and meetings with forums in the field. This is a day-to-day activity, if only because the office holders are professionals in the fields of art and culture.

o Establishing widespread holistic interfaces (in the long term) – Collaborative planning by welfare agencies, police, supervision, urban planning, operations, culture, tourism, sports, entrepreneurs and residents with the purpose of healing and renewing neighborhoods. Maybe it’s an ambitious target, but it is a possible target that’s important to aim for. We want to make a profound difference and benefit all residents.

Promoting their connections with various sectors: o Connecting between artists – work spaces and workshops (a proposal by the municipality and encouraging private initiatives). o Connecting artists and residents – encouraging initiatives that motivate residents to consume art, and the artists to hold community cultural events. The connection between artists is also valid in this context. o Connecting artists with the entrepreneurial and business sector – encouraging and training artists as small businesses, encouraging and connecting to independent initiatives, linking to strategic points in the city (active or those that need waking up), collaborating with artists’ representatives and cultural entrepreneurs in emerging programs to receive feedback. o Connecting artists to the municipality – see the Encouraging an Independent Culture section below.

From avant-garde to mainstream, at different professional levels. We want to preserve and encourage local artists and attract new artists and the entire creative class – the leaders of innovations and trends who will develop attractive jobs. In a place that has cultural activity and a vibrant life, there will also be a livelihood. We will provide encouragement, guidance and facilitation to small and medium-sized cultural institutions (both existing and those being formed) – from cafes in central locations to concert clubs, galleries, etc. The lateral conception of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Haifa 2030 allows us to detect deficiencies, guide bodies being created or help existing bodies get out of difficulty. Once we are present on the ground, we can give proper guidance. For example, locating urban properties where artists can be facilitated, guiding a private developer (a café/pub with live music) regarding the type of business license they need. Our goal is to enable, direct and ensure that more and more neighborhoods and quarters of the city receive a new life. These are the steps we are taking to achieve this:

o Staffing the renewed Department of Cultural Affairs with relevant manpower (artists, curators, cultural entrepreneurs). 

o Renewing legal procedures (support, renting halls, endorsements, discounts on municipal taxes).

o Providing opportunities to support initiatives from the field (no strings attached, providing creative freedom irrespective of  funding). 

o A far-reaching doubling of the amount of support money, to give the artists breathing space and the possibility of funding personnel in local bodies and institutions.

o Radical simplification of every bureaucratic step, which will make it easier for both entrepreneurs and artists, and the system. We are currently working on creating additional publicity avenues for cultural events in the city. For example, at this stage an option was given to advertise for a highly reduced fee on municipal bulletin boards (involves filling out a simple form). Online contact options are currently being explored, not just a phone number “between 9 am and 1 pm.” The ways of communication will have to be relevant to our times. 

o Providing as wide a response as possible to artists and cultural entrepreneurs through the Department of Cultural Affairs, in order to create a situation in which the professional personnel in the department are those who link the applicants to the municipality (as opposed to sending applicants to find their way around City Hall’s corridors). When a resident or artist approaches us, we need to speak their language, understand that from the outside everything seems very complicated and that it is necessary to accompany, explain and, as mentioned, make sure to simplify the processes.

o Formulating cultural policy in cooperation with people in the field, with feedback through convening forums and the participation of representatives of the Department of Cultural Affairs in existing forums. Right now we are in touch with a number of forums that have contacted the city, met with them, listened to them and collected feedback. The telephone numbers of the Culture Consultant and director of the Department of Cultural Affairs are in the hands of many activists and influencers in the city, and we are trying to offer assistance to as many applicants as possible. Every application, complaint and request tells us what is needed for the field. In the future, we intend to initiate seminars, vocational training and professional conferences that will enable the professionals to develop and advance, create connection and mingling opportunities, and reinforce the feeling that there is someone to talk to. 

o Expressing the cultural diversity in Haifa, both in cultural events and ongoing routine, cooperation with field elements (cultural and community centers, relevant businesses, etc.) and with the Community Division, and constant examination of needs, feedback, ideas and initiatives. Already today, the connection between the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Community Division (where the heads are professionals from the field) and those with the field is tightening. The connection between the departments themselves and the Haifa 2030 team enables a balance between ongoing work and long-term perspective, and the implementation of correct work processes.

The festivals will attract both residents and tourists, with the emphasis on an annual process that encourages creative development as well as livelihood channels:

o Attractive branding, content and production that will stimulate cultural elements’ desire to be part of the festivals.

o Emphasis on Haifa-based cultural elements in festivals, both in content and production. In places where the Haifa reservoir is poor or does not meet the threshold, an initiation-learning process must be created that will enable to produce Haifa reserves.

o Constructive annual processes – announcing long in advance to the relevant parties, constant dialogue with them, issuing calls for proposals, checking with field officials about how the festivals will fit in.

o Creating interfaces with relevant tourism elements.

o Creating collaborations with international entities.

Haifa has an extensive cultural heritage, fascinating history, multi-facetted architecture and a unique natural environment. All of these are all great sources of inspiration, as well as of pride and connection to the city. Connecting artists with educational and planning elements can enable us to enjoy a richer Haifa language – building an architectural line that “speaks” to the city, writing education programs, artistic creation in context and more. One example of work in this direction is a plan currently being formulated that will permanently connect the Department of Cultural Affairs with the Municipal Archives, and expose its treasures to the artists’ community and the public. We want to create calls for proposals for the use of materials, site-specific works in important places (e.g. Shmuel Rozov heritage on the Louis Promenade, proper maintenance of the Rondo and the Ayala pool, the legacy of architect Arieh Sharon throughout the city, Talpiot Market, the history of Martef 10, queer cultural areas in the city and much more). The more we get to know the city and its history, the greater the sense of wonder and inspiration in the urban space.

Creating a local-patriotic Haifa urban program rich in meaningful professional content. This program will be integrated into schools’ content from morning until afternoon, and its contents will be transferred by professionals from the arts and culture fields. Many artists can become part of the city’s educator community, exposing students to experiential learning, allowing them to leave the school boundaries and meet the city in all its shades. This is long-term thinking that will require work in itself, but we want to mark this goal as an important one, which will be at the top of our minds in building the cultural infrastructure these days.

Creating a fundraising standard and training various department officials in creating economic interfaces with various entities in Israel and abroad (embassies, foundations, private donors, endorsements, etc.), as well as initiating cultural exchanges, residences and importing international projects to Israel, which will give the city’s cultural bodies international status and position the city itself as exporting a relevant and innovative culture.

To promote the city’s culture:

o Providing small tactical solutions for events and institutions in accordance with the department’s resources at the time;

o Opening the door to forums relevant for convening in the city hall, and from that a combination of providing a solution for bodies in the field and actively connecting the department and the municipality to their activities;

o Holding conferences, seminars and training frameworks in various fields – business cultivation for young artists, vocational training, artist workshops, etc.;

o Connecting to the municipal archives and publishing calls for proposals relating to preserving the urban cultural heritage (including architecture in the city), as well as additional budgeting for curatorship and accessibility of the cultural assets hidden in the archives; 

o Using structures earmarked for demolition as pop-up museums (in the process of clarifying feasibility with the Department of Urban Renewal).

Work Plan

The goals presented above, before setting deadlines, require additional examination that takes into account the staffing dates of various positions in the division and the change of procedures at the headquarters. The work plan is in a further itemization process; it is dynamic, advances in light of understanding reality and will be updated from time to time.

Tactical actions are required (several weeks to a few months ahead, June-December 2021):

  • Staffing production and performance roles (recommended in the coming month), in order to allow the director of the Department of Cultural Affairs freedom of action and initiative.
  • Approving and staffing the new organizational structure that was formulated together with the deputy mayor, Haifa 2030’s culture consultant and the present Director of Culture – as immediate a start as possible.
  • Anchoring the Department of Cultural Affairs’ 2021 budget, as well as the necessary additions, and immediately beginning to plan the 2022 budget, led by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Haifa 2030.
  • Updating the support procedures and adapting them to the standards used by large authorities in Israel (currently taking place, July 21).
  • Charting, linking and releasing spaces for displays, performances, etc. through urban projects, municipal properties, creative use of existing properties, connections in the business sector, subsidies, updating the procedure for renting halls, etc. A partial response will be provided in the central space of the artists’ project, and connections are best made through meetings and forums.
  • Convening forums of relevant stakeholders (Haifa Forum for Culture and Art, Haifa Producers Forum), in order to instill trust between them and the Department of Cultural Affairs, to open communication channels and formulate a common vision; encouraging the formation of additional forums through meetings and professional enrichment (some of these meetings have already begun, and their influence will increase when the Department of Cultural Affairs begins staffing).

Projects in Progress

Abandoned buildings for artists project – the project has begun, and the artists’ screening is currently being conducted by a professional committee. The culture consultant’s recommendation to appoint a project coordinator (a curator by profession) was accepted, and to our delight she has begun her work in the Department of Cultural Affairs. One of the large spaces in downtown will become the project’s gallery and a cultural center. We (the culture consultant and Department of Cultural Affairs) are currently examining together the nature of the project and the different ways in which art can be integrated into the urban space. The appointment of a curator to manage the project is the opening shot of the process of absorbing professionals into the Department of Cultural Affairs, and of flexible and adaptable thinking. We have drawn many conclusions from work on the project, and in the future will know how to open up possibilities for the artists in Haifa in a more focused and professional way, as well as how to brand and market to the right audiences.

  • Urban Renewal – A permanent interface is being established between the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Urban Renewal Department. This connection will enable creative use of structures earmarked for demolition, diverse artistic activity in the urban space and combined thinking about avenues in which coordinated and integrated activity will benefit the city, artists and residents, and add tourist attractions to the city.
  • The return of the WIZO fashion show to Haifa and its integration into the city’s summer events – a link was made prior to the head of the Culture, Community, Sports and Sea Administration and director of the Department of Cultural Affairs taking office. The event is underway at the end of July.
  • Beit Hayotzer – A recommendation was made, while working with the director of the Community Division, to establish an infrastructure for a professional dance body at the site, as well as a multipurpose floor for use by neighborhood residents. At the moment, continuing the planning depends on the designation set for the building by the city’s management.
  • Criteria for support – A proposal for an improved and higher quality process has been submitted to the Legal Department. More work is needed, as well as a far higher budget.

An online platform for advertising cultural events – The process is currently under way, in cooperation with the municipal spokesperson’s office, the Computing Department and the Culture, Community, Sports and Sea Administration, and will be used to locate options for an online urban advertising platform that will allow residents and tourists to keep up-to-date with the city’s cultural activity at any given moment. A temporary solution will be provided through resuscitating the HaifaHaifa platform, and a new interface will soon be established through the municipality’s website. It is also necessary to think about allowing all cultural bodies in the city to advertise, and we are working on finding solutions that are compatible with the limitations of the work of a municipal body.

  • Urban heritage – Working together with the Municipal Archives and Department of Cultural Affairs to create projects that will allow access to materials in the archives. The archives hold amazing treasures – knowledge about buildings, posters from the past, events held in the city in the past, photographs and much more. All of these are an extraordinary source of inspiration for artists, educational officials and all residents who are lovers of urban history. Every area of interest in the city will benefit from the expansion of knowledge about urban history, the different design languages, cultural institutions that were in the city, and so on. This connection is coming into being. We will update on its development in the future.
  • Ongoing contact with professional forums in the city and formal and informal institutions in the city – Our door is open to community centers and private and other institutions. We also use these bodies to garner feedback during recovery processes, while writing projects, etc. As mentioned above, the transition is to the concept of partnership. Criticism and sharing of needs are what allow us to develop.
  • All municipal cultural bodies and corporations will be recruited to serve the general rationale described in the document through community sharing, urbanization of the economy (the “culture industry” as well as general motivation), providing proper and good services to the resident and making the city more attractive to tourists and consumers of culture. We will broadly examine the urban role of the bodies and buildings in which they reside – connection to the neighborhood, tailored and creative service to the residents, the artist community, visitors to the city, their hours of operation, the repertoire, programs, call for proposals, etc. The new plans will be formulated in cooperation with the bodies, and from discourse and recognizing the public and artistic interests.

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