THE ILLUMINATION ATELIER, an on-going project in the arts, seeks individuals interested in learning the fine art of illumination. Uniquely, the ILLUMINATION ATELIER will provide an introduction to the history and special characteristics of manuscript illumination and illuminated painting; illumination and gilding skills including use of 22 karat gold leaf, silver leaf and copper leaf; preparation of linen, paper, papyrus and vellum for leafing; the use of egg tempera; and the interdisciplinary relationship of illumination to text and lettering design. Apprentices will work on and complete the actual illuminated paintings, utilizing knowledge gained in the Atelier setting and the specific characteristics of illumination pertinent to the current project.

We accept 2 live-in interns per internship period; non live-in interns are welcome at all times during the year, depending upon available openings. Interns are provided with free housing and a modest food stiped during their internship residency. This will be discussed during the interview process following the initial application.

Since May, 2005, our interns have included students from more than 13 countries around the world, including South Korea, Japan, Colombia, Estonia, Poland, Hong Kong, and Canada, as well as many states in the U.S.

An art or design background is preferred but is not required. Individuals with fine manual dexterity need not have had art experience. Following a review of their resume, individual applicants are interviewed by the Artistic Director of the Foundation to determine whether they are appropriate candidates for training.

Illumination Atelier Project will offer open and equal access in communities where wealth and privilege tend to skew participatory opportunities in the arts. Applicants who need to apply for a rental scholarship are encouraged to state their need clearly in their application. It will also offer apprentices on the job training for work which can be expected to have public viewing and public acclaim. Work will be documented and placed within its proper historical context. The Foundation's Atelier work will also demonstrate effective use of space and offer individuals otherwise without such exposure actual experience in a professional setting.

Interested parties may use our Online Application Form.

The Making of Cities of Peace from Ellen Frank on Vimeo. (16 min.)



"Cities of Peace project is of the ultimate importance nowadays: it's a reflection of our thoughts, feelings and desires. This is not just a canvas for us, it's a place where we not only design a visible picture but we also transfer our inner world, love to all humanity, connecting people all over the world, bringing the understanding of the importance of togetherness, equality and mutual understanding."
 –Anna Avakyan, Armenia

"First of all I would like to thank Prof. Armen Darbinyan, and Ms. Dalia Lane for inviting an amazing artist Ellen Frank to Yerevan and initiating this charitable art program creating the 10th painting in the collection "Cities of Peace" and dedicating it to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. This is a huge contribution to the art and history of our country!"
 –Magi Shahbazyan, Armenia

"Culture is a way of life for people and it helps to construct the foundation for people's values, believes, and choices in life. Culture makes societies unique. Cities of Peace is the culture of humanity, creativity and friendship. It's a message to the world. I'm happy, that the 10-th piece of Ellen Frank collection is dedicated to Armenia, and its people, it encourages us to be stronger in this complicated world."
 –Maya Aleksanyan, Armenia

"Being far away from home, among the new people, you unwillingly start to drift away from your origin, habits, in short: you begins to adapt to the new society. And the things that once you have enjoyed seem to become a part of the past "ME". Since 7 years I have not been painting, considering this occupation as childish and completely unnecessary for the serious adult life. But being in this project, I realised myself in a new way understanding myself in the past. I revealed that, which was unjustly deprived of my attention. Ellen Frank has really made a miracle! She has managed to find the key to my soul. She was able to find, understand and tune the talent that I’ve lost, she pampered it as a gardener pampers the rose bushes . She managed to get to my wavelength and tune the harmony in me, as the master tunes the vintage piano. I am amazed at her understanding of each of us, her understanding of the human nature, peace and humanity. I am struck by her emotions and her energy! By her love for an alien culture. It is beyond words! I think all of us will miss those sunny moments and that special Art - atmosphere that reigned at the studio during this short time."
 –Arthur Fältskog, Armenia

"While creating the painting I realized the importance of art in general and our painting in particular from the global viewpoint and scale. I learned how to read a painting in symbols and how to create it with the help of them. I truly realised what it means to transform suffering into hope."
 –Ani Manana Matevossian, Armenia

"I am deeply inspired by the nature of this project, its peaceful aura and aims. The process of the creation of the "Cities of Peace Yerevan" painting itself was a peace spreading magical ritual, with our talented artistic director Ellen Frank. I believe that this painting includes in it not only the face of Yerevan, but also the spirit of Armenian culture. Painting's transforming power has a lot to say and show to the world."
 –Ani Tarjumanyan, Armenia

"When I ponder upon my apprenticeship experience with Ellen Frank and the Cities of Peace exhibit, the following concept comes to mind: ‘He who looks at the bottom of a well can only see a portion of the sky.’ African Proverb"
    –Adrian Perez, Honduras

"Working at the studio encompassed a range of skills: from mastering the technical skill involved in illumination to researching the histories of the cities we worked on and discussing the projects with scholars and academics, special- izing in Islamic art and Liberian arts and crafts. The work we produced is testament to the collaborative nature of the project and the talented individuals with whom I lived and worked, and with whom I had the most fun, even in the most pressured of times leading up to exhibition. EFIAF is an extraordinary enterprise, of which I intend to remain an active part, for as long as the Cities of Peace project endeavors to create dialogue between art and social issues."
    –Debbie Duru, Nigeria and England

"As an undergraduate student of art and literature, exploring other disciplines, I could never have envi- sioned the kind of marriage among history, architecture, peace studies and visual arts that Ellen has created. After my internship, I returned to school, studied art in Italy, and won highest honors for my painting thesis. Upon graduating, I moved to Istanbul to teach English, and am now working in New York in graphic design while pursuing my personal art and design projects. My internship at the Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Atelier remains one of the lasting experiences of my life, a guiding force in the way I view art and the capacity of this timeless art form to make an imprint on our lives, and a mark of beauty on this earth."
    –Madeline Reidy, United States

"When I first learned about the internship opportunity at EFIAF, I was amazed that there was a formal organization offering young people the chance to embark on research and creative work that unites art, history, and peace studies, offering a holistic model of education outside of the compartmentalized university system. The atelier model provid- ed the guidance of a teacher with the closeness of a friend, an inspiration to merge one’s life and work. I learned the important historical practice (gold- and sliver-leaf illumination) while expanding my historical and compassionate appreciation of other cities and individuals who have experienced great trauma through war. Interns are respected for their individual talents, strengths, and important contributions, from planning compositions to applying paint and gold leaf. I found my internship empowering, and I know I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t been part of this."
    –Mollie Cashwell, United States

Meet some of our Illumination Atelier Interns!

Interns Becca White from Bowling Green University and Asha Mathew from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Intern Hillary Broder, a recent graduate from Rhode Island School of Design, working on a page from Hanukkah Illuminated: A Book of Days

Applying gold leaf to a page from Hanukkah Illuminated: A Book of Days




Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation, Inc.

Welcome to the Illumination Atelier