Ribbons of Hope: Barnard students reach out through community-created art project on 10th anniversary of 9/11

Ribbons of Hope Project, image retrieved from their Facebook page

By Olivia Goldman

For the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Prepare New York, a coalition of different NGOs based throughout the city, executed a project called Ribbons of Hope. The project called on passersby in the Garden of Remembrance in Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan (a 15 minute walk away from Ground Zero) to write a prayer and messages of hope on a piece of ribbon and tie it to a mesh panel. After volunteers set-up the panels at 8am on September 9th, the panels quickly filled with a potpourri of sizes, colors and types of ribbon that waved excitedly in the breeze which drifted through the park from the Upper Bay.

The twelve nine-foot tall panels were designed to represent September, the ninth month, and the day that the healing in the aftermath of the tragedy began, the 12th. The interior mesh design of the panels gave homage to the fences outside of St. Vincent’s hospital, the Trinity Church and other institutes that became forums upon which people gave their support. Ribbons were collected by mail all over the country and the world to contribute to the community-created art project. Participants were also encouraged online to bring their own ribbons to Battery Park. As a result, the panels were adorned with a variety of unique ribbons in addition to the ones passed out at the site—including a large rainbow embroidered cloth from Colorado and a hand-crocheted ribbon from red yarn.

While the final destination of the panels has yet to be confirmed, they will most likely end up spread through museums, churches and synagogues, and possibly the United Nations.

Crystal Quallo (BC ’14), a volunteer coordinator for Prepare New York, contacted Barnard’s NYC Civic Engagement Program to reach out to the Barnard student body to ask for volunteers for the project. Natasha Antony (BC ’14), a First-Year Focus RA for the third floor of Sulzberger in the Quad, in turn prompted her residents to volunteer as a hall and support the memorial event. Alexandra (BC ’15) one of the residents of the 3rd floor of Sulzberger Hall said of the project that, “It was great, I was so happy to be out there helping with instead of in the dorms on such an important day for our country… [and] it was beautiful. It’s amazing that something so seemingly simple could be so meaningful.”

Although the 11th is almost over, the project will still be up until 10pm on the 11th and from 8am-12pm on the 12th. Additionally, for those that can’t make it to Battery Park, the project gives the option to create a virtual ribbon, which will be matched with an actual ribbon attached to the tapestry in Battery Park.

Natasha Antony (BC ’14) and residents of the third floor of Sulzberger hall (BC ’15)


Crystal Quallo (BC ’14) and a Volunteer Coordinator of Prepare New York

UPDATE: To see the places the Ribbons of Hope panels have been, look at their map.


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