Cities of Peace Illuminated


Changing lives, one city at a time

CITIES OF PEACE ILLUMINATED honors the history and culture of war-torn cities. Transforming anguish into beauty, it includes monumental gold-illuminated paintings created with participation by international students, artists and scholars; peacebuilding and human rights education; and cultural diplomacy.

CITIES OF PEACE ILLUMINATED is the flagship initiative of the Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation, Inc. a 501 (c) (3) global organization founded in 2004 dedicated to building a culture of understanding and peace through the transformative power of collaborative art-making with artists, students, scholars and institutions from more than 25 countries. Cities honored to date include Baghdad, Beijing, Hiroshima, Jerusalem, Kabul, Lhasa, Monrovia, New York, Pristina, Sarajevo and Yerevan.

CORE VALUES guiding Cities of Peace Illuminated include a belief in the critical role of cities in sustaining what is creative and hopeful in civilization: that art and culture matter in preventing the destruction of civilization, protecting cities and rekindling the human spirit — that cultural diplomacy, peacebuilding and leadership training are essential to our future.

THE PAINTINGS evoke artistic traditions as diverse as illuminated manuscripts, icons, tapestries, embroidery, architectural mosaics, woodcarvings and metalwork. Mica, bronze powders and many types of gold leaf create multilayered imagery that shimmers and resolves itself into successive scenes of time, place, and humankind.

The works of art are the vehicle, the context, for understanding suffering in war-torn cities around the world and appreciating the resilience of artists and communities to preserve and celebrate, to honor, the spirit of their cities and the value of cultural diplomacy as a force for peacebuilding.

““Through understanding the history and beauty of these great cities that have suffered strife, we can participate in the beauty of recovery and peace”,” said Ellen Frank.