Since its founding in 1864, Swarthmore College has given students the knowledge, insight, skills, and experience to become leaders for the common good. Offering a liberal arts and engineering curriculum, the College draws students from around the world and all 50 states. Academic programs in the arts at Swarthmore include studio art, art history, creative writing, dance, film and media, music, and theater. Supported by a 2015 Center grant, Swarthmore presented the North American premiere of Chopin Without Piano, an interpretive theatrical and musical piece that revealed new insights into Fryderyk Chopin as both a historical figure and a masterful composer. In 2017, Swarthmore received Center support for Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary, a socially engaged project that brings together book artists and members of Philadelphia’s Iraqi and Syrian refugee communities to create artists’ books that amplify personal narratives of displacement, immigration, and sanctuary. In 2020, Swarthmore received a Center Project grant for Rosine Association 2.0, an art and archive-based project that will reinterpret the mission of the Rosine Association, co-founded by Quaker activist Mira Sharpless Townsend in 1847 to help women of that era struggling with physical abuse, exploitation, and drug use.
Swarthmore College's Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary will bring together book artists and members of Philadelphia’s Iraqi and Syrian refugee communities to create artists’ books that amplify personal narratives of displacement, immigration, and sanctuary. Working in partnership with the immigrant and refugee service organization Nationalities Service Center, Swarthmore will invite a group of refugees to work with three book artists and participate in multi-day workshops designed to provide access to new creative tools, and to explore various aspects of visual storytelling, artistic expression, and craft. Swarthmore’s library collections—including a large book arts collection and the “Peace Collection,” the largest archive of peace-related material in the US—will be made available to participants, with materials translated into Arabic. Both the workshop participants and the book artists will create books for a culminating exhibition, and an exhibition catalogue will document the project and the artistic work.
Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.