Abigail Klein Leichman
July 6, 2011, Updated February 6, 2013

A paint can design competition is generating funds for innovative projects to prepare at-risk teens for careers in the graphic arts.

Paint can art

More than 300 entries from young artists and designers across Israel were submitted for the paint can competition.

A can of paint ordinarily signifies the start of a project. But in a creative competition cooked up by the Israeli non-profit organization Latzet Mehakufsa (Out of the Box), paint cans – gorgeous, collector-item quality — were the end result.

“We are a group that loves art and design, and we believe that designing should be part of daily life,” says Danielle Heiblum, director of the contest.

“Our vision is to promote young Israeli designers and to provide their works’ accessibility to the wide public. We are doing it while encouraging social and educational goals and donating our income to support those goals.”

The non-profit was officially registered in August last year by Liron Hershkovitz, a design student at the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Academic College. But even before it was official, in early 2009 Heiblum and others involved in the early stages came up with the idea of inviting students and graduates of Israeli art schools to design the exterior of cans or boxes in a tribute to Tel Aviv’s centennial.

Ten winning entries were produced in limited edition and sold to benefit Kav Hazinuk (Starting Line), which trains and mentors young potential leaders from underprivileged backgrounds.

The following year, the contest theme revolved around the 80th anniversary of the Jewish Agency for Israel. The can-boxes were sold in Israel and abroad, with profits donated to Knafaim (Wings), which helps lone immigrant soldiers integrate to Israeli society after their military service.

Having raised about $300,000, the concept was clearly a winner.

Future designers, out of a paint can

This year’s competition, which ended in April, celebrated 75 years of Israeli paint manufacturer Tambour. Some 20,000 reproductions of the 10 winning designs are being sold at exhibits, street fairs and small design shops to finance Latzet Mehakufsa’s new Future Designers program intended to open doors for talented youth at risk to careers in professional design.

Proceeds from the sales of the (empty) decorated cans will go toward a design studio the organization has set up at Tel Aviv’s Max Fine vocational school, offering disadvantaged Jewish and Arab students another option for making a living with their hands. Taught by art and design students from the Kibbutzim College of Education, this is a pilot that could be instituted at additional locations throughout the country.

Mentoring future designers

Another Latzet Mehakufsa project is a business skills course for young designers, held at the Design Museum in Holon in cooperation with Keren Shemesh (Sunshine Fund), an organization that gives guidance and loans to budding Israeli entrepreneurs ages 20 to 35.

“A lot of designers applied for the course, but we could take only 30,” Heiblum tells ISRAEL21c. She has a degree from the Hebrew University in art and business.

Apparently, Israel has plenty of young talent. More than 300 paint can entries were submitted to a panel of seven judges, including Latzet Mehakufsa co-founder Michal Naim, Holon Design Museum chief curator Galit Gaon, Israel Prize-winning graphic designer Dan Reisinger, Binyan VeDiyur design magazine editor Hedva Almog, Israel Association of Illustrators chairwoman Noga Schimmel, the managers of 3bears Design Studio and Tambour design manager Niva Yehiav.

Winners were Dan Allon, Elad Ben David, Adi Hershkovici, Hagit Hashimshony, Doron Sohari, Hili Ziv, Yinon Zinger, Yaara Man, Shay Katz and Eitay Riechert.

The kickoff marketing event for the reproductions took place in early April during the biggest art fair in Israel, Tzeva Tari (Fresh Paint) in Tel Aviv. The winning designs were also exhibited, along with 40 runners-up, at Tambour headquarters in Bnai Brak.

Heiblum says the organization hopes to raise enough money to expand its reach. “We really want to get bigger and grow and develop new projects.”

More on Life

Fighting for Israel's truth

We cover what makes life in Israel so special — it's people. A non-profit organization, ISRAEL21c's team of journalists are committed to telling stories that humanize Israelis and show their positive impact on our world. You can bring these stories to life by making a donation of $6/month. 

Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

Read more: