The Role of Artists in the Story of 9/11

The watercolor painting “September Skyline” by Todd Stone shows lower Manhattan at night as smoke rises from Ground Zero. The Woolworth Building and other buildings stand to the left.
This watercolor painting, "September Skyline," by Todd Stone was added to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum's Artist Registry in 2008.

At the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, we enjoy some of the most visually compelling public art in the world. Visitors see the massive reflecting pools surrounded by the 2,983 names of those killed in the attacks. They walk through the 9/11 Memorial Glade, which honors all those who are sick and who have died from exposure to hazards and toxins at Ground Zero. They contemplate the strength and resiliency of responders at the Last Column. They remember why they came as they stand in Memorial Hall and read the Vigil quote on the blue wall, “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” The art of 9/11 reveals the extraordinary and inspires us in our lived experience to never forget.

In the years following the attacks, many 9/11 families have donated art created by their loved ones. Some of these items are currently on display in the memorial exhibition and featured here. Each of these artifacts have been accessioned into the collection because they help us see and consider a rich new dimension of the victims’ lives.

Beyond the formal collection artists from around the world responded creatively to 9/11. Many of these men and women have submitted their work to the Artists Registry, an online database that serves as a hub for visual art, poetry and music created in response to the attacks.

Available through, the Artists Registry aims to serve as a resource for the artistic community, scholars, journalists and the interested public. The registry contains a range of works from novices to artistic professionals, with pieces that aim to seek normalcy and express difficult emotions during a tragic time.

If you create something connected to our site, both the tragic events that occurred here as well as our ongoing mission to inspire hope, please consider submitting your work to the registry. Your work will live in perpetuity as a source of inspiration and hope.

By Timothy McGuirk, Communications Manager, 9/11 Memorial & Museum

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