October 12, 2010

I am not alone- Is cooperation the solution for us?

Chicken Coop's Path


By Hagar Arnon Elbaz

Reading our fellow TAFA Team posts gives me a lot of encouragement to keep dreaming and going in the path of what I really want to do. For quite a long time we have wanted to create a cooperative of artists. I live in a little town surrounded by a very beautiful rural area full of little  wineries, tiny cheese and food producer's workshops and lots of artists. This area was chosen to serve as a test case in an international project for recycling and cooperative work.  Lucky me! 
I am a great believer of sharing and cooperation in life in general. For a few years I have been following a few women's cooperatives. I got convinced that cooperation is a major way for us artists to survive.

Gallery 12 in the Kibbutz kfar Giladi

One of these cooperatives is situated on the north of Israel in the Kibbutz kfar Giladi, right on the Lebanese border.  It is on a street accessed only by pedestrians which has of a number of  former chicken coops that were turned into artist galleries and coffee shops.  The last Lebanon war (summer 2006) brought this outstanding project to an end. The tenants of "The chicken coop path" were asked to add safety rooms to the galleries and they had no funds to do so.  Everybody left except for a cooperative of 12 women that is called Gallery 12.  Each woman in the co-op is responsible for the shop one day a week and during the rest of the time may work in her studio or on a day job. Other rolls such as marketing, bookkeeping etc are also shared and are the expenses.

Gallery 12

Tomorrow I start taking part in a course for cooperation that will teach me how it really works. Interesting information that I will surely share with you.

Note:  The pictures of Gallery 12 and the "Chicken Coops Path" were taken on a Friday afternoon and unfortunately the gallery was closed. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Hagar! I am a huge believer that if people connect together on these levels, they will change their local communities and effect change on a broader level. Violence and war destroy so much, but it is amazing how people keep moving forward, looking for a way to keep their dreams alive.

    It will be very interesting to hear more about this cooperative process as you learn about it.

    One question: with all the other shops closed, is this cooperative able to get any business? It seems like it would be very hard to survive alone, surrounded by closed shops...

  2. It is amazing but they do survive alone! This place is so beautiful that I suppose tourists come to visit the location and drop into the shop. It is situated apposite the mount Hermon which is the highest mountain in Israel and the landscape is breath taking, moreover there are few other toristic point of interest and a small hotel that might provide more potential customers. It is one of my dreams to open a gallery and a coffee shop there. Let us go on dreaming and make our dreams come true!

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  4. It looks so peaceful--difficult to believe that there was a war. Best wishes for Gallery12 to grow and for your shop too when it happens.

  5. When I first came to Canada I took my daughter to a coop nursery school (40 years ago, considered radical in then staid TO) I learnt so much...about North America,other cultures,how to organize, write applications...you name it, I learnt it there. The friends I made are still my friends today. Coops have many, many advantages.

  6. Oh Hagar! YES lets keep dreaming and making our dreams come true!! I love the idea of a coop and the benefits of working with like minded artists! What a wonderful article and glorious pictures! xo Cait


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