Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and American Museum of Natural History President Ellen V. Futter today unveiled artwork created by children who lost family members in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993, and September 11, 2001. "Art for Heart", a therapeutic art project sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), allows children, through art therapy sessions, to express their feelings of loss and grief, and their memories and hopes centered on their mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, or cousins. Each child painted a one-foot-square canvas, which are on display for three months in the School Reception Area at the museum. The framed paintings will then travel to schools, art centers, and museums nationwide. LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe and board member Christy Ferer, School of the Arts of the 92nd Street Y Director Robert Gilson, and Ali Millard, 16-year-old, creator of "Art for Heart" joined the Mayor at the event held at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in the American Museum of Natural History
"Nearly 200 youngsters, from toddlers to teenagers, have been involved in this project, which has created invaluable opportunities for youngsters who lost family on September 11th and the attack on the World Trade Center in February 1993 to connect with one another," said Mayor Bloomberg. "With the help of volunteer art professionals, the program has given them the chance to show on these canvases what words can't express. Sometimes, in the face of sorrow, words really do fail us but visual expression does not. We saw it during the design competition for the memorial at the World Trade Center site, when more than 5,200 submissions, many of them quite moving, came in from around the globe. "Art for Heart" will always be a reminder, not only of a terrible tragedy, but also of hope. They're our future, and the feeling and care they have put into 'Art for Heart' demonstrates their sensitivity and their resilience. Our future is in good hands."
"We are honored to display these poignant works of art created by children who have been so deeply affected by the attacks on the World Trade Center," said Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History. "It is particularly appropriate that these art-works will be displayed at this Museum that is visited by millions of children and families from throughout the world and that is dedicated to public education and to the study of world cultures. The work of these young artists is a contemporary example of the enduring power of art to heal and inspire."
"The 'Art for Heart' program has given children and families a positive opportunity to personally contribute to a lasting memorial to their loved ones," said LMDC President Kevin Rampe. "The exhibition will allow visitors to share these children's expressions that pay tribute to and remember the heroism of our friends, family and neighbors."
"I thought of Georgia O'Keefe's quote in creating this project: 'I found that I could say things with colors and shapes that I couldn't say any other way. Things I had no words for,'" said Ali Millard. "I spent a lot of time after September 11th in my school's art studio and it helped. I wanted to share that with the other children effected by September 11th."
"Art for Heart" is a communal art program for children who lost a parent in the February 26, 1993 or September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The program offers the children an opportunity to paint their artistic expressions on canvas, and participate in an emotionally healing process. Ali Millard, who lost her stepfather Neil Levin on September 11, 2001, conceived the program, which is coordinated by the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. "Art for Heart's" inaugural session was held on Saturday, June 1, 2003, when more than 115 children participated. The canvases completed during that first session were displayed for the troops in the Middle East and during the second anniversary commemoration event held at the World Trade Center site. During the announcement, the Mayor expressed his gratitude to White & Case LLP, and Toys "R" Us for their generous support of the program.