Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation, Inc. (EFIAF), a 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 2004, is dedicated to building a global culture of understanding, peacebuilding, human rights education, and cultural diplomacy through the transformative power of collaborative art-making with artists, students, scholars and institutions from more than 52 countries. EFIAF teaches through a process of participatory artistic engagement, interdisciplinary research, creative discovery, and expression in order to promote leadership, global citizenship, outreach, and engagement in world affairs.
The core values that guide the organization include the belief 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.
EFIAF strengthens societies and advances the possibility of peace through international cooperation, programs and activities. We:
EFIAF projects include:
Cities of Peace Illuminated® is the flagship initiative of the Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation, a U.S. based organization founded in 2004. Created with participation by artists, students, scholars and institutions from more than 52 countries, Cities of Peace Illuminated includes a collection of monumental gold-illuminated paintings honoring the history and culture of world cities that have experienced devastating conflict and trauma.
Neither violent nor polemic, the works celebrate the best of the human spirit, emphasizing understanding as a prerequisite to peace.
The paintings draw upon artistic traditions unique to each city honored, traditions as diverse as illuminated manuscripts, icons, tapestries, embroidery, architectural mosaics, woodcarvings and metalwork. Crimson leaf, the color of our blood, is tucked into each painting to honor the dead.
The Cities of Peace Illuminated® Treasure Suite is an intimate, limited edition of hand-illuminated giclée prints honoring the history and culture of world cities that have experienced major conflict and trauma, including Baghdad, Beijing, Hiroshima, Jerusalem, Kabul, Lhasa, Monrovia, New York, Sarajevo, Yerevan, Pristina and Auschwitz. The Cities of Peace Treasure Suite transforms anguish into beauty, emphasizing understanding as prerequisite to peace and celebrating the best of the human spirit. Elegantly boxed with Asahi silk and 24 karat gold lettering by Vogel Bindery, each piece measures 13” x 13” and is based on one of the twelve monumental Cities of Peace paintings. To honor the dead, crimson leaf — the color of our blood — is placed in each piece. The Cities of PeaceTM Project is a commemorative body of work conceived by New York artist Ellen Frank and produced at her Illumination Atelier with trained interns and scholars from the United States, China, Colombia, Estonia, Poland, and elsewhere. Cities of Peace Treasure Suite is accompanied by printed texts for audiences of all ages and Persuasions. The Cities of Peace Treasure Suite, produced in a limited edition of 20, may be purchased as a suite of nine, each hand-illuminated with 22-karat gold, red, moon or white gold, palladium and crimson leaf.
The Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to building a culture of understanding and peace through the transformative power of collaborative art-making with artists, students, scholars, and institutions to foster inclusivity, equity, and societal change.
Through its unique Illumination Atelier, EFIAF brings together an international cadre of interns, artists, curators, media experts, universities, municipalities and cultural organizations to work on its projects. This positive intercultural dialogue, bridging gaps in religion, ethnicity and aesthetic ideas, testifies to the transformative power of the collaborative artistic enterprise to bring forth social change.
The work of Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation insists upon the centrality of aesthetic activity in human experience and its transformative impact on humanity. In all cultures art has realized universal yearnings for beauty, awe and creative expression. The mystery of how this impulse is sustained against the odds imposed by humanity’s destructive impulse is insoluble, but clearly art is the mainstay of civilized tendencies.
The Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation revives and gives life to an artistic form that might otherwise be lost or fall into disuse. In so doing, it renews and celebrates a tradition of vibrant aesthetic and inspirational power.
For those interested in supporting our work or learning more about our activities, please contact:
73 Squaw Road
East Hampton, NY 11937
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.
Artist, scholar, and writer, Ellen Frank 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.