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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 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" - a genre of art originated by Ms. Ringgold. The Ringgold-Yi cross-cultural story quilt celebrated aspects of their respective experiences and 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 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."
The 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 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 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 the City and transformed the disastrous and divisive experience on September 11, 2001 into a healing 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. These 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.
Marathon 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.
Intensive ChoreoDrama/Dance Workshops are being introduced in collaboration with celebrated performance artist, Dr. Kathleen S. Turner, who uses the power of the performance arts (e.g. movement, choreography, spoken word) in dynamic workshops at schools and universities in New York City and the Tri-State Area.
We are also replicating IRC's Peace Book Model at our new Peace StoryTelling Workshops where students create their own collaborative narratives speaking powerfully out of their lives "in their own words." Student-authored collective narratives may be published for public viewing in AV PowerPoint format or performed "Live" as a Choral Reading for classes, conferences and celebratory events.
IRC's PeaceMaking Initiative employs young New Yorkers' shared public history in its arts-driven educational programs to promote cross-cultural knowledge, mutual understanding, and inter-community 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
9/11 Peace Pie
Three 9/11 PeaceMakers from boroughs across New York City designed the 9/11 Peace Pie to bring their healing peace-building message coast to coast. They described the creative process: "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 the 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 (2001-2011). 9/11 Peace PieMakers, C Ayala, C Colbert and J Liu, ages 10, 12 and 14 when they helped author and illustrate the Peace Book in 2001, are now undergraduate students and recent 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.
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