This was my fifth time exhibiting at “Bijoux” exhibition at the Norton Art Museum in Palm Beach, Florida. Five years ago, I arrived for the first time with great trepidation, with one collection that was a huge hit and sold out, and another that was relegated to the bottom shelf because it was not what people wanted. That week five years ago has turned out to be the best week of my year ever since. Tropical weather, palm trees, the sea, fantastic restaurants – and one small, successful museum, which is now under renovation and will be rather larger the next time I see it.

The best things in life and business just happen. I happened to arrive early for a meeting at a Tel-Aviv friend’s studio, and the person who had a meeting before mine noticed me in the kitchen and demanded,  “What’s that necklace you’re wearing? I want to show it to the people I work with, maybe they’ll like it.”

That was Aviva Ben Sira. as director of the Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts (AIDA), she is influential. From that time on, AIDA has supported me, financially and emotionally.

AIDA aims to offer Israeli artists the opportunity to travel to the United States with the same access as local artists.

Dale and Doug Anderson are founding members of AIDA. They are art collectors who enthusiastically support Israel artists as their life mission. Along with financial assistance, Aida also provides encouragement, which is just as important. The patronage and encouragement from the Andersons, who are extremely knowledgeable and well respected in the art world were heartening: knowing they believed in me enough to invest their time, energy and support pushed me to advance my work. During the moments when I became discouraged (common for a self-employed artist), knowing that art collectors, who live and breathe art and the art world, believed in me boosted me even more than the financial support.

At my first meeting with Aviva Ben Sira and curators from the United States, we talked about the age demographics of gallery owners around the world. Many artists were worried about their economic future. That meeting seems so long time ago now. Then, we were focused on the financial aspect, but no one prepared me for the fact that the people I would meet professionally at the Norton Museum, year after year, would become so dear to my heart. Dale and Doug Anderson

The Norton Museum, as described by one of the exhibitors, is our exhibition for socializing. It is the only exhibition during the year that is located far from home for most of us when we sit down together to eat dinner every night, far removed from our daily routines.Donna Schneier chairman of Bijoux

The museum allows its popular and successful exhibitors to submit applications with new collections for the following year’s exhibition. Over the years, all the exhibitors from all over the world have gotten to know each other well. Pressures during work hours, crises when we are exhausted and hungry, allow us to see people as they really are, more so than it is possible in ordinary life.I am proud to call the other exhibiting artists friends and colleagues. We are able to work together professionally in every situation, in spite of and because of all the little things we experience together. I am constantly astounded by the art my colleagues create from one exhibition to the next, and this propels me to work harder and harder.Whatever the situation, whether a moment of crisis or repose, I know I can rely on the next email from Doug Anderson, asking me what’s new, what I’m working on, checking when my next interview is, or seeing if he can help me in any way. I can always be sure that the genuine interest and assistance I have been privileged to receive from AIDA does not end with the close of the exhibition.

I would love to introduce you to the Israeli team artist supported by Aida at the Bijoux exhibition celebrating together the opening of the Bijoux exhibitionAvital Coorsh, Sharon VaizerNirit Dekel, Sara Shahak, Liat GinzburgLiat GinzburgSara ShahakInbar Shahak, Sharon Vaizer

photograph credit: Norton art Museum PR

With All my Love

This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)


About Author

Inbar Shahak is a textile designer by profession, graduating from the Shenkar University of Fashion in Israel, where she majored in weaving, knitting & printing. After working in the garment industry for Calvin Klein, the urge to create handmade textiles art drove her to establish her own succesfull brand of textile jewelry. Inbar’s jewelry is inspired by delicate tracery patterns and her greatest passion is combineing ancient textile-making traditions with new modern techniques. Inbar’s collections are all drawn by hand and printed over metal at her atelier in Kibbutz Maagan Michael. She regularly collaborates with fashion designers around the world, making bold and theatrical costume jewelry design made for Runway fashion projects and fashion shoot productions. “Inbar Shahak” Studio has been widely displayed in galleries, elite jewelry shops, and fashion designer shops and in exhibitions around the world, including the Premiere Classe in Paris, the IJL Show in London, The Atelie and the Moda show in NY and the Norton art Museum in Florida.


  1. Such an event you attended! For the fifth time exhibiting at “Bijoux” exhibition at the Norton Art Museum in Palm Beach, Florida? You must be very humbled. Anyway,huge events like these can be so full of interaction and nothing is as fine as getting to meet very many influential people like yourself. Anyway, AIDA are a really nice organization for those seeking to grow…at times, we just need such platforms in order to get out there and show ourselves to the world,right?

  2. Such a great program and what a wonderful patronage! I know some Canadian Universities that provide assistance to Israeli art students, to come to Canada and learn along side Canadian art students and also showcase and sell their art work in local galleries. Such amazing opportunity for artists!

    • Inbar Shahak on

      I am so happy to hear that about the Canadian universities, sound like amazing opportunity

  3. What Corinne Did on

    What a fantastic event you went too! I had never heard of Bijoux exhibition but they must be amazing ways to meet new interesting people and network with actors of your industry!

  4. Elle (CleverlyChanging) on

    This post was so encouraging because it really shows the importance and power of networking effectively. Always be ready to be at your best and you never know who will come into your corner and support you. Many blessings to you!

  5. Jennifer Prince on

    I love art and the arts in general and support it wholeheartedly in my area, too. This sounds like such a fab group of folks! 🙂

  6. AIDA seems like a great foundation. We need more programs like this, that support aspiring artists and help to get their work seen. Keep up your great spirits and the good work. I am sure it will pay off soon!

  7. Ali Rost on

    With the founding of AIDA, Dale and Doug Anderson have truly left a legacy. I wonder if they ever could have envisioned all of the artists they would bring together and friendships that would be made. What an incredible legacy. x

  8. Well, I’m glad it didn’t end as it started. I am also happy to see that still at the age of 40 you are jumping a foam block pile! I used to take my kids all the time. There are so many lost socks at the bottom of those things. 😉 Happy 40th birthday!

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