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The InterRelations Collaborative, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) research and education organization. Since it was established with a start-up 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 across 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 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 knowledge and 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 cultures. In Yi’s words: “We created a bridge of time and place.”
Following the 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. 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."
The Peace Book authors sent their message of hope and healing out across New York City. The Peace Book now resides in the collections of 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 commissioned Faith Ringgold to design a Peace Story Quilt inspired by the Peace Book created in collaboration with NYC students, ages 8-19. During a series of master classes across New York City, 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 peace-building programs to educational venues throughout New York City and the 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 the City to transform their disastrous and divisive experiences on September 11 into a healing and inspiring project for peace.
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 QuiltMaking Model is currently being replicated at schools, colleges and universities serving multicultural student populations. Our Peace QuiltMaking Workshops are also conducted for pre- and in-service teachers and human service professionals (undergraduate/graduate levels) serving ethnically diverse populations within educational and community-based settings. These Peace Quilt Workshops using the power of the visual arts are conducted in collaboration with Arts Professional, Patricia Maunder, MA, who teaches at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and also affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology.
IRC's Marathon Peace SongWriting Workshops use the power of the musical arts and are conducted in collaboration with award-winning Composer/Conductor, Jim Papoulis, MA, who inspires school/university students to compose both lyrics and score for their own Peace Songs. Their Peace Songs are professionally produced in a state-of-the art music studio and recorded to CD/mp3. They are also performed "Live!" and in-concert at celebratory peace-building events.
We are also replicating the Peace Book Model at IRC's Peace StoryTelling Workshops where students create their own collaborative narratives speaking powerfully out of their lives. Student-authored narratives are compiled and published for public viewing in AV PowerPoint format and performed "Live" as Choral Readings for classes, conferences and celebratory events.
IRC's PeaceMaking Initiative's arts-driven educational programs promote cross-cultural knowledge, mutual understanding and inter-community exchange. The InterRelations Collaborative's peace-building programs are specially 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
9/11 Peace Pie
9/11 PeaceMakers from various boroughs across New York City designed their 9/11 Peace Pie to send their healing peace-building message from coast to coast. They described the creative process saying: "We decided to create a flower to symbolize and celebrate the growth of the 9/11 Peace Project. Our contributions are represented by the little thumbprints that are blossoming from the center. The project budded from a small collaborative workshop between different youth groups to address the 9/11 tragedy -- to a book, a quilt, and an inspirational model for peace, unity, and solidarity. We are fortunate to have the 9/11 Peace Project radiantly spanning outwards to schools, universities, museums and hopefully one day throughout the world." They created their 9/11 Peace Pie using project memorabilia such as photographic proofs from the first printing of the Peace Book, and flyers and programs from Peace Quilt exhibits documenting the Peace Quilt's journey from hard copy to canvas. 9/11 Peace PieMakers, C. Ayala, C. Colbert and J. Liu, who helped author and illustrate their original Peace Book in 2001, are now graduates of Adelphi University, Manhattanville College and The State University of New York at Stony Brook. The 9/11 Peace Pie was displayed at the invitation of Bay Area artist, Flo Oy Wong, at her NEA-funded exhibit, The Whole Pie, in San Francisco to "promote inclusion and respect" and "reduce intergroup tensions."
9/11 Peace Story Quilt Exhibit
At the 10-year commemoration of September 11, 2001,
the 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 the generous support of The United Way of New York City, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Lutheran Disaster Response of New York, The FAR Fund.
IRC Board of Directors: M.D. Taracido, Esq., Founding Chair; Setsuko M. Nishi, PhD, Founding President; Angela Anselmo, PhD; Marva Jenkins, MSW, MDiv; Grace Yun, PhD
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