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    Posted March 28, 2011 by
    New York, New York

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    Bomb Day- Washington Square Park NYC


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     aherman00 explored the art installations and graffiti at The Bomb Shelter, an immersive multi-media installation exhibit in NYC's Washington Square Park yesterday. 'The project gives the opportunity to foster innovation and educate the community at large in the struggles Israeli citizen face during terrorist attacks. Art is a powerful tool to showcase the feelings emotions and reality in what is happening in Israel today,' he said.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    Today the New York community  got to see for themselves what  it is like to go through a rocket attack. Artists 4 Israel and The Birthright Israel Alumni Community created a Bomb Shelter Project to educate the New York community what  Israeli's face on a regular basis.  From 1pm until 4pm today, THE BOMB SHELTER, an immersive multi-media installation exhibit was open to the public. A periodic siren will sound and participating park goers had 15 seconds to get from where they are in Washington Square to the shelter - the same length of time that those facing rocket attacks in Israel have to reach safety.


    "The artists wanted New Yorkers to viscerally feel what Israelis went through this week during the bombing of a Jerusalem bus stop and repeated rocket strikes," says Craig Dershowitz, President of Artists 4 Israel, the non-profit that created the installation.


    As soon as visitors line up to enter the shelter, the deceptively calm Tzeva Adom warning begins to sound. This is the same siren that gives residents of Sderot in southern Israel notice that they have just 15 seconds to find shelter before the rockets launched from Gaza by Hamas begin falling. Then, like in Sderot, visitors heard the sound of explosions. As they rush into the shelter amidst the blasts, immersive video continues the heart pounding experience as an actual Qassam barrage hitting Sderot unfolds around them - all from the perspective of being in the crowd suffering through the attack.


    "The students who have gone on Birthright Israel trips have developed life-long friendships with Israelis and are deeply concerned for them," says Natalie Solomon, Associate Director of the Birthright Israel Alumni Community who is sponsoring the exhibit. "After so many years, it becomes easy for Americans to just read past the headlines. We hope this will help people better understand what it is like to live under terror and renew their passion to see it end."


    The bomb shelter exhibit is also a message of hope. It serves as a museum for works of art created by the children of Sderot who have endured more than 10,000 rocket strikes. "You'll see how the kids turned getting to the nearest bomb shelter into a racing game, and hear the song parents made up to help young ones be prepared to move quickly when they hear the siren. The ability of the people to continue to hope in the face of fear and pain is what inspired our artists the most when they visited Sderot last April," says Dershowitz.


    Inspired by the resiliency of the children who have suffered through terrorism and how they combat it with art, some of New York's top graffiti artists will cover the outside of the bomb shelter with uplifting images. "It is our way of covering hate with something better," says Solomon.


    THE BOMB SHELTER exhibit was open to the public free of charge from 1pm-4pm in Washington Square Park and will next travel to college and university campuses. The exibit was educational and colorful. Through art we can learn to embrace peace and  become a stronger  community.

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