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The InterRelations Collaborative, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) research and education organization. Since it was established with a grant from the United Way of New York City in 1991, the Collaborative has been dedicated to building intergroup relations among rapidly diversifying student populations in New York City. The IRC uses the power of art to build cross-cultural knowledge and understanding among increasingly multicultural student populations in educational and community-based settings in New York and the Tri-State Area.
The IRC has conducted nationwide research documenting inter-community-building models in major US "gateway cities" (New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco). IRC's cooperative research models included a cross-cultural arts model which used the power of art and narrative to build cross-cultural understanding. Faith Ringgold, Distinguished Professor of Art at the University of California, San Diego, and Lisa Yi, New York City visual artist, collaborated on a “story quilt" - genre of art originated by Ms. Ringgold. The Ringgold-Yi cross-cultural story quilt celebrated aspects of their respective cultural experiences. In Yi’s words: “We created a bridge of time and place.”
Following tragic events on September 11, 2001, the InterRelations Collaborative brought together students, ages 11-19, from across New York City to document their experiences on 9/11. In their own words and images, they authored and illustrated an inspiring book titled, What Will You Do For Peace? Impact of 9/11 on New York City Youth. Their powerful artwork caught the eye of acclaimed Harlem artist, Faith Ringgold, and they were honored to publish their book in association with her.
In her introduction to the "Peace Book," Ms. Ringgold writes: "When I was shown the layout for a new book titled What Will You Do For Peace? my heart filled with joy. What a beautiful collaboration, a perfect response from New York City's young people, aged 11 to 19. This gracefully poetic account of that frightening day in their young lives is a gift of sensitivity and love. I was amazed at their generosity of spirit. I found the paintings and expressive verse in the book deeply inspiring."
Our Peace Book authors got their voices out sending their message of hope and healing across the city. The Peace Book now resides in more than 100 branches of the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Borough Public Library. The Peace Book is also available at Amazon.com
Peace Story Quilt in the Grossman Gallery at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The InterRelations Collaborative also commissioned Faith Ringgold to design a Peace Story Quilt inspired by the Peace Book constructed in collaboration with NYC students, ages 8-19. During a series of master classes, Ms. Ringgold mentored 50 Peace QuiltMakers on transferring their 9/11 peace images from hardcopy to canvas. The Peace Story Quilt, composed of three panels, each measuring 72”x 50,” was completed for the 5th anniversary of 9/11. The Peace Story Quilt was first exhibited at ACA Galleries in Lower Manhattan and launched on its journey to spread young New Yorkers’ call to peace and understanding across their “global city.” The Peace Story Quilt continues to travel and bring its healing message and peace-building programs to educational venues throughout New York City and Tri-State Area. The Peace Story Quilt's itinerary is posted below. What has captured the public imagination about IRC's 9/11 Peace Story Quilt is how young New Yorkers came together from different cultures and religions across New York City and transformed their disastrous and divisive experiences on September 11, 2001 into a healing, uplifting and inspiring project for peace.
IRC’s Peace QuiltMaking Model is currently being replicated at schools, colleges and museums serving multicultural student populations. Our Peace Quilt Workshops are also conducted for pre- and in-service teachers and human service professionals serving ethnically diverse populations at undergraduate, graduate and professional levels. IRC's Peace Quilt Workshops using the power of the visual arts are conducted in collaboration with Patricia Maunder, Director of Stories Through Art.
The Peace Book has also been adapted to visual format to capture the attention of young audiences and set a tone for empowering cross-cultural dialogues. The Peace Video was produced in collaboration with media artist, Rafaela Capellan, Director of Areyto Productions. The soaring youth anthem, Can You Hear, featured on the audio-track was composed by Jim Papoulis of Sounds of A Better World, and was performed by The Young People's Chorus of New York City.
IRC's Peace SongWriting Workshops use the power of the musical arts and are conducted in collaboration with award-winning composer, Jim Papoulis, who inspires pre-college and university students to compose both lyrics and score of their own Peace Songs. The Peace Songs are professionally produced in a state-of-the art music studio and recorded to CD. They are also performed "live" and in-concert at celebratory peace-building events.
IRC's Peace ChoreoDrama/Dance Workshops currently being introduced in collaboration with celebrated performance artist, Dr. Kathleen S. Turner, use the power of the performance arts (e.g. movement, spoken word) in dynamic interactive workshops at schools and universities in New York City and the Tri-State Area.
IRC's PeaceMaking Initiative's arts-driven educational programs employ New Yorkers' shared public history to promote cross-cultural knowledge, mutual understanding, and interactive exchange. The InterRelations Collaborative's peace-building programs are designed to carve out creative space where diverse student populations can come together, interact, and discover the common ground that they share.
Peace Quilt at Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College, City University of New York
The Peace Quilt's Itinerary
AAAS Conference: Multicultural Encounters
9/11 Peace Story Quilt'Exhibit
At the 10-year commemoration of September 11, 2001,
the healing 9/11 Peace Story Quilt was displayed
at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's
Uris Education Center
9/11 Peace Story Quilt at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
9/11 Peace Art at The Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education
Faith Ringgold & Peace Quilt Artists at Opening Reception
9/11 Peace Quilt Artists Celebrate Peace
9/11 Peace Story Quilt (Panel 1)
9/11 Peace Story Quilt (Panel 2)
9/11 Peace Story Quilt (Panel 3)
9/11 Peace Story Quilt by Faith Ringgold, Grace Matthews, and 9/11 PeaceMakers
If your school, university, gallery or museum is interested in displaying IRC's Peace Story Quilt for educational purposes, Contact Us
The InterRelations Collaborative, Inc. gratefully acknowledges generous support by United Way of New York City, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Lutheran Disaster Response of New York, The FAR Fund.
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