Two weeks ago I was invited to the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College by Christy Bencosme, to attend their latest exhibit, "Waging Peace: 100 Years of Action."
"The Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College was founded in 1981, but the Queens College Art Collection reaches as far back as the 1930s, with the founding of the College in 1937 during the Great Depression. The Museum has a distinguished history due to its founders. Ternbach, a noted art restorer who settled in Queens after escape from Nazi persecution in Vienna, attracted eminent donors like Norbert Schimmel, Jack and Belle Linsky, and Charles B. Rogers, who were patrons of the Metropolitan Museum, National Gallery of Art, and Smithsonian Institution; Leon Pomerance, Ernest Erickson and Syril and Walter Frank of the Archeological Institute of America; Hans Arnhold, founder of the American Academy in Berlin; and Elie Borowski, founder of the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem."
Bencosme, a staffer at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum appealed to me to come out to Queens College, in hopes of bringing more awareness to our current politic climate.
My responses to event invitations are always uniformly and unequivocally the same, I'm honored every single time. Even though it feels like lately I can't make all my committments, I'm always immensely grateful that Queenscapes is considered a cultural presence in Queens, and I try my best to make sure I return the favor and oblige each and every request.
With that being said, I was pleasantly surprised at finding this jewel of a Museum tucked inside the confines of Queens College, then amazed by the powerhouse exhibit that is "Waging Peace." Here's some info the Museum provides:
"Waging Peace: 100 Years of Action" is an interactive exhibition organized by the American Friends Service Committee. Using provocative stories told by those who have fought against injustice, this exhibition demonstrates the effectiveness of nonviolence to build justice, overcome oppression, and to prevent violence. Through displays of historic artifacts and interactive media visitors explore the main themes of the exhibition: 1) Building Peace, 2) Ending Discrimination, 3) Addressing Prisons, 4) Just Economies, 5) Immigrant Rights and 6) A Call to Action. The GTM will expand on the exhibition themes by including historical posters, photographs and documents from the museum collection and the QC Civil Rights Archives. These materials offer firsthand accounts of the fight for social justice by Queens College students and faculty.
I attended this exhibit this past Saturday with my two young sons, Roman & Saul, ages 12 & 11 respectively and I am happy that I made the decision to bring them along. "Waging Peace" is an elaborate piece of work, that shows the slow progression of global equality in the world, and along the exhibit, asks it audience to get involved and help find an answer.
I was particularly floored viewing the timeline upstairs, which left my wondering how even with all our advancements in so many faucets of life, we are still dealing with discrimination in our country, on a very real level.
In short, "Waging Peace" is one of the most insightful and educational displayed works I've seen in a really long time, and is a MUST see for audiences of all ages. Christy, thank you immensely for the invite and also for shedding light on an exhibit, and on an institution that I will surely be visiting again.
"Wages of Peace: 100 Years of Action" is up until March 17th and is free and open to the public at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Klapper Hall, inside the campus of Queens College in Flushing, Queens.
words and photo by Adolfo Steve Vazquez