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PRESERVING CULTURES

Our vision is to help cultures maintain their natural essence and identity in the face of globalization. We connect with programs that assist communities to preserve its unique cultural and spiritual values and celebrate their craft and creativity, while ensuring the communities’ sustainability.

 

DISCOVER HAITI

HAITI ARTISAN PROJECT

URBAN ZEN IS ON A MISSION:
to help develop, market and present the work of Haiti artisans to the western world. As an ambassador to the preservation of Haiti’s artistry and expression, Donna Karan and a community of supporters have been traveling to Haiti at every opportunity, working one-on-one with the artists and manufacturers. “The artistry and skill is breathtaking,” Donna says. “I am so inspired by what I am seeing and the people with whom I’m working with. I couldn’t be more excited.”
discover haiti london web Preservation of Culture






DISCOVER HAITI IN LONDON

The 2012 Summer Olympics are, in part, a celebration of countries coming together and striving for excellence. For Urban Zen, it’s been no different. London and the Olympics has been the setting for the latest journey of the “Discover Haiti” exhibition at Maison d’Haiti in the William Road Gallery. Curated by Urban Zen and Nomad Two Worlds, Discover Haiti is a collaboration, spearheaded by Donna Karan and Russell James, of designers, artists and filmmakers to present the potential of Haiti’s creativity to a wide consumer base and design base. It is a project that is very close to Donna Karan’s heart.

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CAMPAIGNS AND COLLABORATIONS

 Preservation of Culture

 

HOPE HELP & REBUILD HAITI (HHRH)

HOPE, HELP & REBUILD HAITI (HHRH) is the next evolution of the work that was started by Donna Karan and her Urban Zen Foundation immediately following the January 2010 earthquake with music executive Andre Harrell, the Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, and Andre Balazs and The Standard as an initiative of Urban Zen aimed at galvanizing a community in response to Haiti’s immediate need to rebuild. HHRH’s mission is to create a conscious community of leaders in music, fashion, film, finance and art to become agents of change for the renewal of Haiti.

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HOW IT STARTED
In an immediate response to the devastating earthquake of 2010, Urban Zen Center become a gathering place for like-minded individuals and organizations to create a plan of relief.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Through connecting and collaborating, Urban Zen hosted a concert event with Mary J. Blige to raise over $1 million in funding for HOPE HELP & RELIEF HAITI.
EVOLUTION
As the dust began to settle, efforts shifted from immediate relief to rebuilding sustainability in Haiti with the UZ campaign, HOPE HELP & REBUILD HAITI.
CURRENT CAMPAIGN
The Haiti Artisan Project is dedicated to creating a sustainable model of commerce, supporting the artisan community of Haiti and preserving the rich culture of the island.


nomad 2world event collage Preservation of Culture

NOMAD TWO WORLDS

Nomad Two Worlds, which was exhibited at Urban Zen in January 2009, involved years of groundwork, including travel to remote regions of North Western Australia. In the spirit of reconciliation senior Indigenous custodians provided access to sites of great cultural significance to the aboriginal people. Burial grounds, gorges, stunning coast lines desert locations-often restricted and secret-were allowed to be photographed and filmed by Mr. James. The photographs were then reproduced to become oversized canvases for indigenous artists such as Clifton Bieundurry who then painted ‘story’ into the images; legends and concepts that relate directly to the image on the photographic canvas.

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hope event collage Preservation of Culture

HOPE EVENT

In 2006, Donna Karan and Sonja Nuttall hosted HOPE, an event of love and hope for their honored guest, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, to raise funds for the Norbulingka Institute, a center in Dharamsala, India, dedicated to preserving the richness and luminosity of the art, history and culture of Tibet. The event included a yoga day sponsored by Rodney Yee, conversations with Professor Robert Thurman and a host of dignitaries and special guests.

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CREATING A COMMUNITY OF CHANGE WITH

Amnesty International Cine Institute Feed Foundation FFAWN
Habitat For Humanity J/P HRO Nomad Two Worlds Norbulingka Institute
Partners in Health Sager Family Foundation Shelter Box Stillerstrong
Wayuu Taya We Advance Women For Women International Yele Haiti
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