Temporary Park51 Site to Open With Photography Show Promoting Tolerance

Temporary Park51 Site to Open With Photography Show Promoting Tolerance
A rendering of planned permanent building for the Park51 Islamic community center
(Courtesy of Soma Architecture)

With the 9/11 Memorial having finally opened to mark the tenth anniversary of the horrific attacks, the virulently-contested Park51 Islamic community center is also holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony. On September 21, the cultural organization plans to open a newly remodeled temporary site on Park Place with "NYChildren," an exhibition of child portraits by New York photographer Danny Goldfield that are meant to illustrate the city’s ethnic diversity.

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Scheduled to open on the United Nation's International Day of Peace — which happens to be the same day that the Clinton Global Initiative will meet with the UN General Assembly — the space has been upgraded thanks to $70,000 raised through Kickstarter, and will be the center's home until the completion of its planned 13-story building opens two blocks from the former World Trade Center. That proximity has led to some of the ugliest displays of anti-Muslim sentiment to be seen in the United States since 9/11, making the groundbreaking now scheduled to take place later this year something of amiracle.

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As for the temporary space's inaugural show, Goldfield — a photographer who has shot for the New York Times and Life magazine — hopes to create an environment of tolerance. "'NYChildren' photography was inspired by the idea that the better we know our neighbors, the moreopen and healthy our lives become,” he said in a statement. "My goal isto photograph one child from every country on earth and find them all living in New York City."