The International Human Rights Art Festival is a growing initiative to connect artists, activists, politicians, social and religious leaders, and community members through events around the world, with the aim of inspiring these stakeholders to create a more positive, caring world.  We produce art-advocacy events throughout the year, culminating in a week-long Festival.  

We highlight artists who base their work in artistic quality, personal sincerity, commitment to beauty and an open-hearted vulnerability: advocacy art based in the mystical/activist "I am" or "I should," as opposed to the political/religious/oppositional "you are" or "you should."  

We do not have angry, oppositional or accusatory work on our stage.


Upcoming Events

April 8, 2:00 pm Health and Illness: Perspectives from Eastern and Western Cultures (Opera America, 330 7th Ave., New York, NY): The afternoon begins with three dance pieces presented by the Aseemkala Initiative, which uses Indian dance to explore how movement -- the way we sit, walk, listen, and carry the burden or joy of our physical and mental realities -- expresses our inner yearning for health. The History and Physical Dance Series is a compilation of patient and physician narratives on illnesses, treatment, and the journey of making one’s way through a new reality. Aseemkala focuses on specific topics and explore the range of experiences patients and physicians undergo through short dance medicine narratives. 

The dancers in this show are M.D. candidate and founder of the project Shilpa Darivemula, Jennifer Chowdhury, Supraja Chittari, and Sophia Salingaros. They will be presenting AddictionBagala’s Words, and Tara’s (Dis)ability.

This will be followed by a panel discussion with with M.D. candidate, traditional Indian dancer and founder of the Aseemkala Initiative Shilpa Darivemula; Cranial Sacral Therapy practitioner Erika Lee Sengstack and meditation and yoga teacher and Master in Social Work candidate Kara Ayn Napolitano.

 Tickets and further information here.

April 30, 7:00 pm: Thank You for Coming Out (The PIT, 123 E. 24th St.): The improv group will interpret the stories of two Transgender artists and friends of IHRAF.  We will also be celebrating the nation's first transgender elected official in last November's election, Danica Roem in Virginia + two more!

June 18. 7:30 pm (Playroom Theater, 151 W 46th St., 8th Floor, New York, NY 10036) Elements - Spirit, Earth, Wind, Air, Water and Fire.  A selection of performances which will explore the elements underlying human and universal experience.

September: Mental Health Awareness. Time/place and performers TBD 

October: We will preview our dance commissions which were created for the Festival in November -- five different new dance pieces by some of NY's most happening choreographers and dancers! Time/place TBD and performers to be revealed later.

November 12-18 (Wild Project, 195 E. 3rd St., New York's East Village): The full festival!  Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to the time!!

This events series is in partnership with arts and advocacy organizations to raise awareness and action around specific local, national, and international human rights issues. More on past IHRAF Series can be found here.

Latest News

March 5, 2018


IHRAF Producer Tom Block talks with Dr. Bob Lee on BronxNet's "Open" program about the Celebration of Black Men, at the Davenport Theater in midtown Manhattan, on March 12.

January 30, 2018

 Norman Lear with Festival friend Kathleen Turner at Norman's 95th birthday party last year.

Norman Lear with Festival friend Kathleen Turner at Norman's 95th birthday party last year.


We are thrilled to announce that Television Producer, National Medal of Arts Winner, founder of the People for the American way and a strong activist for three-quarters of a century Norman Lear and the Lyn and Norman Lear Family Foundation, our strongest supporter to date, has granted us support to underwrite our interim events between now and the full Festival in November, allowing us to concentrate on providing the most passionate, powerful and transformative activist performances that we can muster.  Thank you Norman Lear, Festival Godfather!






January 15, 2018

Dramatist - article.jpeg



The Dramatist Magazine, official periodical of the Dramatists Guild, published an article in their edition on censorship (January/February 2018) about their important role in finding us a home for our banned program back on October 15.  Additionally, they used Festival Producer Tom Block's artwork on the cover of their magazine, as well as in the interior, to illustrate their exploration of censorship.


January 9, 2018


Barbra Streisand has joined the International Human Rights Art Festival as an Honorary Co Sponsor! Additionally, she has donated money to us through her Streisand Foundation. Ms. Streisand is a singular American talent, having won two Academy Awards, ten Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Grammy Legend Award, five Emmy Awards, a Special Tony Award, a Kennedy Center Honors prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and nine Golden Globes! We look forward to sharing more news about Ms. Streisand's involvement with IHRAF in the near future!


January 1, 2018

Documentary from the first International Human Rights Art Festival @ Dixon Place



Award-winning (C-Span Studentcam) high school videographers Dalya Block and Kalina Gibson completed their documentary of the first IHRAF -- check it out here! 





December 11, 2017

Video from a Celebration of Women

NYU Broadcast Journalist student Hannah Foley made a beautiful short reportage about our celebration on the 70th anniversary of the issuing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "A Celebration of Women's Power," in honor of Eleanor Roosevelt, who was chair of the drafting committee for the document.  Featuring Rachael Sage, Dancing Georgina Project, Marni Rice and Xiomara Evans.


 Video still of Senator Schumer from the 2017 IHRAF  Photo by Elisa Guiterrez

Video still of Senator Schumer from the 2017 IHRAF
Photo by Elisa Guiterrez


Find out about our History, Mission, supporters (including Senator Charles E. Schumer), and more.

Learn More →

 Nigerian Human Rights defender Sowore Omoyele at the 2017 IHRAF  Photo by Elisa Guiterrez

Nigerian Human Rights defender Sowore Omoyele at the 2017 IHRAF
Photo by Elisa Guiterrez

Get involved

Want to join in on the upcoming 2018 IHRAF in NYC? Have an event you'd like to cross-promote with us? We want to hear from you!

Find Out How →

Banner Painting: Woman Shedding Burka by Tom Block