Cities of Peace Illuminated
Ellen Frank

Cities of Peace Illuminated is the flagship project of The Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation. This show features 7 of the 12 monumental gold-illuminated paintings, honoring the history and culture of cities that have experienced major conflict and trauma: Baghdad, Hiroshima, Lhasa, Monrovia, New York, Pristina, and Yerevan. Neither violent nor polemic, the works celebrate the best of the human spirit. The Cities of Peace collection emphasizes understanding as a prerequisite to peace.

Cities of Peace Illuminated is at once: The flagship initiative of the Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation, Inc. a 501 (c)(3) global organization founded in 2004 dedicated to building a culture of understanding and peace through the transformative power of collaborative art-making with artists, students, scholars and institutions from more than 52 countries; Peace building and human rights education through the visual arts and cohesive critical thinking and interdisciplinary inquiry; Cultural Diplomacy. The core values that guide Cities of Peace Illuminated include a belief in the critical role of cities in sustaining what is creative and hopeful in civilization; that art and culture matter in preventing the destruction of civilization, protecting cities and rekindling the human spirit; that cultural diplomacy, peacebuilding and leadership training are essential to our future.

Since 2015, Cities of Peace Illuminated has created models for its international engagement, the best examples of which are its work in Pristina, Kosovo and in Krakow, Poland. The creation of the works in these cities provided participants with opportunities to establish teamwork with former enemies, inclusion of otherwise marginalized youth while restoring dignity, building pride and leadership, active citizenship, engagement with organizations and institutions with which participants were previously unfamiliar. Most of all, it built a loving, mutually supportive community among former strangers, even enemies. It provided a living example affirming American democratic values of equality, respect for the rights of the individual, civic engagement, and optimism. In both cities, Dr. Frank and Cities of Peace Illuminated US built consortia with local, national and international organizations and institutions, governmental agencies and private foundations.

The more than 300 direct participants included such individuals as: His Eminence The President of Kosovo, the US Ambassador, leaders from the ministries of Culture, Education, Foreign Affairs, Director of UNDP, international guests visiting the museum, NATO soldiers, members of Rotary International, diplomats and residents of Kosovo – families from toddlers to great grandmothers.

About the Artist

Artist, scholar, and writer, Ellen Frank, PhD (1946-2021) has received many awards in painting, book design, and scholarship including a Fulbright Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, Ford Foundation Fellowship, Pollock Krasner Award in Painting, New York State Council on the Arts, and a New York Foundation for the Arts grant. In 2018, Dr. Frank was named Fulbright Specialist in Peacebuilding and Reconciliation, U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and World Learning, and received an Award for Excellence for Cities of Peace from KFOR / NATO.

Dr. Frank studied art history and connoisseurship at Yale University, the Courtauld and Warburg Institutes in London, and holds an interdisciplinary doctorate in English Literature and the Visual Arts from Stanford University. In 2015, she received an Honorary Doctorate for Cities of Peace from the Russian Armenian (Slavonic) University. Dr. Frank was Assistant Professor of English Literature at UC Berkeley where she co-designed and created the first interdisciplinary major “Literature and the Visual Arts.” Her first book, Literary Architecture: Essays Toward a Tradition (University of California Press), was awarded the New York Institute for Graphic Arts 50 Best Books; Ronce & Coffin Club Design Award; and “Best Book in 50 Years” by University of California Press.

In 2004, Dr. Frank founded Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation, Inc., a non-profit global organization dedicated to the transformative power of art to build a culture of understanding and peace. CITIES OF PEACE ILLUMINATED® is its primary initiative. As artistic director, Dr. Frank has trained artist-interns from more than 52 countries, and unites scholars and experts to work on its joint creations.

For more information on Ellen Frank and Cities of Peace Illuminated collection, visit website.

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