“The power of culture as a prerequisite for peace, as source for intellectual, emotional and spiritual well-being and as a resource for socio-economic development and environmental sustainability is more important than ever.”

Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation, Inc. (EFIAF), a 501 (c) (3) global organization founded in 2004, is dedicated to building a global culture of understanding and peace through the transformative power of collaborative art-making with artists, students, scholars and institutions from more than 25 countries.

EFIAF strengthens through international cooperation and activities:

  • Creativity – the creation and exhibition of original visual art
  • Participation and collaboration with artists, youth, scholars and experts
  • Peacebuilding and social justice education
  • Arts training and mentorship
  • Cultural Diplomacy

EFIAF programs and projects include:

  • Cities of Peace Illuminated
  • The Book of Judith
  • Hanukkah Illuminated: A Book of Days
  • The Illuminated Morte D’Arthur (King Arthur)

The Book of Judith is a contemporary illuminated manuscript that tells the ancient, inspiring story of Judith, a woman of valor, who single handedly saves her small town from Assyrian military take-over and religious oppression. It chronicles the historic struggle for religious freedom in a contemporary voice while echoing the great illuminated manuscripts that flourished in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. This project is a product of collaboration with eminent Hebrew scholar Everett Fox, ideas from rabbis and spiritual teachers and the work of a team of brilliant and committed international intern artists representing all faiths and ethnicities, including Cuban-Haitian and Vietnamese-American. Countries of origin include Canada, Israel, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, and the U.S.

Interns who worked on the project are: Hillary Broder, Laura Byrne, Natasha Camhi, Jazmine Catasus, Emily Deutchman, Derek Elmore, Rachel Fowler, Nehama Grenimann-Bauch, Illana Hester, David Huettner, Patricia Johnston, Valeria Koutmina, Ajda Mladenovic, Clara Nguyen, Juri Puc, Rebecca White, Eugene Yeap, and Masa Zmitec.

HANUKKAH ILLUMINATED: A Book of Days is the first modern illuminated and handwritten story of Hanukkah. A devotional work of art that combines illuminated paintings with unique texts, Hanukkah Illuminated speaks in a contemporary voice while echoing the great illuminated paintings which flourished in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

This work presents in English the vibrant tradition of Hebrew illumination for an audience of all ages and all faiths. The story by Everett Fox (author of The Schocken Bible and Special Consultant to The Prince of Egypt) and the illuminated art progress from darkness to light as Hanukkah Illuminated celebrates the richness of the holiday and its symbols. An ancient story of the search for redemption, Hanukkah Illuminated unites historic Israel’s experience of natural and cultural worlds in its search for redemption. Hanukkah Illuminated culminates in a vision of harmony and peace, in which the world is infused with transcendent light.

Upon completion, Hanukkah Illuminated: A Book of Days will include thirty-eight 17 x 23-inch original individual gold-illuminated paintings on classic manuscript vellum with Master Calligraphy by Karen Gorst. The text for each of Hanukkah’s eight nights will present biblical verse about light as it expresses in art and calligraphy the dual realms of nature and culture.

The Hanukkah Illuminated project is a project in three phases: the current and first phase is the creation of the original illuminated manuscript, Hanukkah Illuminated: A Book of Days; second is the publication of a facsimile edition of Hanukkah Illuminated for collectors and institutions worldwide; third, is an international traveling exhibition entitled “Illuminating Hanukkah: Museum as Temple,” accompanied by a catalogue, guest lectures and workshops. For more information on the museum concept, please contact EFIAF’s Artistic Director at 631.329.0530 or info@efiaf.org.

Hanukkah Illuminated: A Book of Days is a work in progress with opportunities for participation. Individuals interested in supporting the completion of this project should contact us.

The Cities of Peace Treasure Suite

We are delighted to announce the publication and availability of the CITIES OF PEACE ILLUMINATED TREASURE SUITE, an intimate, limited edition [20] of hand-illuminated prints elegantly boxed with Asahi silk and 24 karat gold lettering by Vogel Bindery. Each 13″ x 13″ piece is based on one of the nine monumental CITIES OF PEACE paintings.

The TREASURE SUITE prints may be purchased individually or as a suite of nine, each hand-illuminated with 22 k. gold, red, moon or white gold, palladium and crimson leaf.

The boxed collection may also be purchased as a gift to your favorite library, university, museum, or other institution. (This type of gift to a public institution would qualify for a tax deduction.)

The Illuminated Morte D’ Arthur (King Arthur)

The King Arthur Suite is a limited edition of mixed-media illuminated giclees with hand-applied 22-karat gold and white gold leaf, is inspired by a story that has captivated audiences for more than four and a half centuries.

The prints were created from a series of paintings that celebrate and grace the well-known tale of love, gallantry, mystery, and heartbreak. Based on the recently discovered manuscript at the Library of Winchester College in England, the work conveys the high consciousness of the Near and Far East during the Crusades, and captures a spirit woven into so many aspects of the Arthurian legend. The suite includes:

  • King Arthur: Hunt for the Red Hart
  • Guinevere and the White Hart
  • King Arthur and His Glorious Knights

The King Arthur Suite is produced by Timothy Dickson of Eclipse Workshop of Canoga Park, California, and is published in a limited edition of thirty.

The King Arthur Suite may be purchased as a set or individually.


Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation, Inc. is a 501 (C) (3) public benefit organization whose purpose is to enable the revitalization of the art of illumination and creation of new works of art in this genre.

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



Ellen Frank founded the Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation, Inc. (EFIAF) in 2004 as a non-profit global organization dedicated to the transformative power of art to build a culture of understanding and peace. She also conceived its flagship initiative, CITIES OF PEACE ILLUMINATED, including its peacebuilding, educational, mentorship and arts training programs.

As Artistic Director, Ellen has directed the creation of eleven CITIES OF PEACE ILLUMINATED paintings, the CITIES OF PEACE TREASURE SUITE and additional EFIAF projects and initiatives, with participation by artist interns and scholars from more than 25 countries. She has received invitations to create and exhibit new paintings for, among others, the 70th Commemoration of the Liberation of Auschwitz in Auschwitz, the 100th Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan, and the 10th Anniversary of Kosovo Independence in Pristina. She has presented CITIES OF PEACE ILLUMINATED in conferences worldwide.

Ellen–an artist, writer, scholar and teacher–has received awards in painting, book design, scholarship and as an innovative global peacebuilder. These awards include Fulbright Specialist for Peacebuilding and Reconciliation (2018), US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and World Learning; Award for Excellence, KFOR/NATO for Cities of Peace; 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.

Ellen studied art history and connoisseurship at Yale University, the Courtauld and Warburg Institutes, 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. She co-founded the interdisciplinary department of Literature and the Visual Arts at the University of California, Berkeley; she designed and taught interdisciplinary studies at Barnard College, Rutgers University, and School of Visual Arts. Her book, Literary Architecture: Essays Toward a Tradition (University of California Press), received numerous awards, including 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.


“The gold-illuminated paintings we create together emphasize understanding as prerequisite to peace and celebrate the best of the human spirit.”

~ Founder and Artistic Director Ellen Frank, PhD