The Israel Museum, Jerusalem has received an endowment gift of $1 million from the Shpilman Art and Culture Foundation to establish the Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography.

The prize provides photographers and scholars from around the world with the support needed to pursue new ideas and work in the medium. The first Shpilman Prize recipient will be selected in August 2010.

The first of its kind in Israel, the prize will be awarded for the creation of new work rather than in recognition of an existing body of work. It will be presented every two years to an artist or scholar who aims to expand the boundaries of the medium.

Recipients will receive a cash prize of $45,000 to support the realization of new work, which will subsequently be published or exhibited by the Museum.

The Shpilman gift matches a challenge grant from the Schusterman Foundation, which sought to encourage Israeli support by pledging $1 million toward the endowment campaign if matched by a donor in Israel.

“As one of the world’s preeminent resources in the field of photography, the Israel Museum is the perfect institution to partner with us,” said Shalom Shpilman, chair of the Shpilman Art and Culture Foundation.