"Made in NY” Women’s Film, TV & Theater Fund Award

The Hart Island Project is pleased to announce that Director Melinda Hunt is one of 63 recipients for inaugural round of NYC Women’s Fund for Film & Theater for her web series: Loneliness in a Beautiful Place: AIDS Burials on Hart Island. The award was announced by NYFA and MOME on February 28, 2019. read more

Inspired by stories of people who lost a loved one due to AIDS related illnesses and discovered them listed in the Traveling Cloud Museum, the web series will be completed in 2020. As part of The Hart Island Project AIDS Initiative, we hope the series will help to reconcile the deaths of New Yorkers buried on Hart Island during the AIDS epidemic. We encourage the community to search and identify victims with an AIDS ribbon and or contribute a story to Traveling Cloud Museum. 

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Womens fund winners hero
credit: Antoine Braxton

The Law of the Dead and the Rights of the Living: New York Needs Reform


Justice intersects with the dead on Hart Island, the potters’ field of New York City where over a million unclaimed bodies lie. Perhaps their inhabitants lost contact with anyone who knew them, due to rejection or mental illness or outliving their loved ones. Some families may be too poor to bury their dead, or end-of-life plans could have been lost as a dying person was shuttled between nursing homes and hospitals.

Hart Island gives rise to several concerns of fairness and justice.

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Infant mass grave ©2018 The Hart Island Project

Oscars Flashback: The tragic life and death of former Disney star Bobby Driscoll


Paperback mysteries usually end this way, not Disney fairy tales. In March of 1968, a pair of children playing in an abandoned, Greenwich Village tenement in New York City discovered a young man dead on a cot, surrounded by beer bottles and religious handouts. There were no obvious signs of foul play. He had no identification. The body was unknown and went unclaimed. 

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Everett Collection

An Urban System of Death


Today, as space for interment within the five boroughs becomes ever more limited and expensive, and as concerns about environmental and spatial sustainability come to the fore, designers and cemetery stewards are beginning to envision new urban systems of death. When every inch is contested, how can space for contemplation and remembrance be preserved, even if space for “traditional” burial is not?

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Adult mass grave april 2018
©2018 The Hart Island Project

He died in New York in 1989. Now Ferg Griffin is coming home


Fergus Griffin is no longer missing. His Hart Island clock stopped ticking after 28 years, 241 days, 38 minutes and 15 seconds, when family members posted loving tributes to him on, following his positive identification via DNA testing.

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Ferg griffin
Fergus Griffin in 1983
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Collective Grief: The Design, Politics and Future of Memorials


While grief is a personal feeling, memorials are a key way in which our society collectively mourns. This panel discussion will consider the different forms that such public tributes can take and the politics of who gets to be commemorated. What new memorials are being created to fill out the landscape of a death-denying country dotted with Confederate statues? What future ones do we need? The four panelists, Anthony Goicolea, Melinda Hunt, Karla Rothstein, and Elizabeth Velazquez, have all experimented with what a memorial can be, bringing their creative energies to bear on an old practice. They will speak about their work and then engage in a conversation about who, what, and how we collectively remember. Moderated by Jillian Steinhauer.

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In the Presence of Absence - Exhibition Closing and Publication Launch


Closing of the exhibition In the Presence of Abensce and launch event for the accompanying publication.

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After the Fire and Before AIDS: Sonia ©2017 Melinda Hunt/The Hart Island Project

Past events

Interfaith Peace & Health Breakfast


The Hart Island Project will have an information table at the Interfaith Peace & Health Breakfast. Please stop by and say hello.

More information: INTERFAITHINYOURCITY@GMAIL.COM | 718-790-9120 / 917-374-7917

See pdf announcement

4th interfaith bkfast 3.28.19 draft

Curatorial Walk-Through & Reception - In the Presence of Absence - Exhibition curated by Jillian Steinhauer


EFA Project Space is pleased to present In the Presence of Absence, an exhibition about the nature of grief. The show explores the creative possibilities of mourning, looking at how people transmute suffering over the loss of loved ones into ways to live.

Participating Artists: Edgar Heap of Birds, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, M. Carmen Lane, Eeigh Eleanor Davis, Melinda Hunt, Nene Humphrey, Inbal Abergil, Emily Carris, Valery Jung Estabrook. 

See pdf announcement
See press announcement

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Loneliness in a Beautiful Place video still - ©2018 Melinda Hunt/The Hart Island Project

Getting Over Film - Screening + Q&A with Director Jason Charnick


Ray Charnick suffered from addiction for his entire adult life. In 1997, he died of AIDS related illnesses. His brother chose to have him interred on Hart Island. This film directed by Ray's son, Jason, explores dad's life and death. 

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Getting over film announcement



The Hart Island Project would love to catch up with you and talk about our mission. Please stop by our table from 11 AM - 12:30 PM.

Speak up 25 letterbox 2019 copy

One Million American Dreams followed by a Q&A with Director, Brendan Byrne


One million american dreams letterbox
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The Hart Island Project © 2019
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