This Idea’s Da Bomb

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Art imitating terror.

bomb shelterPassersby in Washington Square Park on Monday may encounter a terrifying situation.

A group of nonprofits that support Israel have created an immersive multimedia exhibit called The Bomb Shelter, in an attempt to give New Yorkers a taste of the terrorism fears that many Israelis live with on a daily basis.

From 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., a siren will sound periodically and participating park goers will have 15 seconds to get from where they are in Washington Square to a bomb shelter that will be installed in the park. That is the same length of time that people facing rocket attacks in Israel have to reach safety before the rockets strike. Then, in an attempt to simulate what people experience living in Sderot, a town in Southern Israel that often comes under attack from rockets launched from Gaza, visitors will hear the sound of explosions all around them.

“(We) wanted New Yorkers to viscerally feel what Israelis went through this week during the bombing of a Jerusalem bus stop and repeated rocket strikes,” said Craig Dershowitz, president of Artists 4 Israel, the nonprofit that created the installation.

The bomb shelter will be decorated with work by graffiti artists from New York, and will include pictures made by the children of Sderot. After New York, The Bomb Shelter exhibit will travel across the country to college campuses. Birthright Israel Alumni Community, a group of people who have gone on the free “Birthright” trips to Israel, is funding the project for an undisclosed amount.

“After so many years, it becomes easy for Americans to just read past the headlines,” said Natalie Solomon, associate director of the Birthright Israel Alumni Community. “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 exhibit isn’t the only art project currently addressing the Arab Israeli conflict. The new Julian Schnabel film, Miral, about the plight of the Palestinians, opens Friday. It is already creating an uproar from the Jewish community.

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