In 2004 Ellen founded Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation (EFIAF), a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. This global initiative is dedicated to the transformative power of the visual arts to build a global culture of understanding. EFIAF has succeeded in its efforts toward this goal through its flagship initiative, Cities of Peace Illuminated, which has worked with artists, students and scholars from more than 25 countries to create a collection of monumental gold-leaf paintings that honor the history and culture of world cities that have suffered trauma. The eleven paintings in the Collection to date include Bagdad, Beijing, Hiroshima, Jerusalem, Kabul, Lhasa, Monrovia, New York, Pristina, Sarajevo and Yerevan.
Cities of Peace began from single line ad on Craigslist from which young people from 17 countries came to her tiny studio, sleeping on floors and couches, to create magnificent art transforming anguish into beauty. The gold-illuminated paintings refuse to show the horrors of war, blood and destruction. Instead the art celebrates the best of the human spirit. The work now has global impact, reaching from the EU to the Balkans and Caucuses. Among the first non-profit organizations to combine social justice with the visual arts, Dr. Frank’s work challenges the perception of war-ravaged cities to recognition of the historical greatness of these cities, rebuilding dignity where the social fabric has been torn apart.In 2018 Ellen was awarded the title of Fulbright Specialist in Peacebuilding and Reconciliation by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. Cities of Peace received an Award for Excellence by NATO/KFOR for its work in Kosovo. In 2015 she received an honorary doctorate for Cities of Peace from the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University, Armenia.