The 2017 International Human Rights Art Festival

The International Human Rights Art Festival inaugurated at Dixon Place (NY) March 3-5, 2017, with the involvement of more than 150 artists presenting 50 art-advocacy events.  In addition to an award-winning collection of artists in various media, it included honorary co-sponsors and speakers such as National Medal of the Arts winner Norman Lear, Senator Charles E. Schumer (NY), Congressman and Civil Rights Hero John Lewis (GA), Nigerian human rights activist and founder of Sahara Reporters Sowore Omoyele, Chinese human rights activist and recipient of the Sakharov Prize, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award and numerous other awards Wei Jingsheng, NYC Commissioner of Human Rights Carmelyn Malalis and many others.
Press from 2017 Fest can be found here

Presidential Medal of Arts Winner Norman Lear, also Godfather of the International Human Rights Art Festival, sent an opening video welcome.

Senator Charles E. Schumer sent a welcome video for the Festival.

Images from the Festival



"'Activist artists are not the center of the American culture, but we’re at the center of the American soul,' Block says. The artists involved echo Block’s passionate belief in activist art as an essential core of both who we are as Americans and what we aspire to become as we continue to build towards an ideal society."
-- Pirronne Yousefzadeh



"Though statement-making works will be seen at the festival, Block stressed that this event will represent the optimism rooted in each social theme."
-- Dana Reszutek



"The non-partisan celebration of life and creativity..."

-- Linda Laban



"The fight for human rights doesn’t end with the festival. Organizers hope people come out of the festivities inspired into activism of their own. Block says, 'If everybody in that room tonight did one more thing, there would be a lot more things happening in terms of fighting or struggling or dreaming of a better, more gentle world.'"
-- Jasmine Ting



“I look at Donald Trump as the representation of a human energy that goes back to the beginning of time. He’s not an individual. He’s a representation of fear. He’s a representation of human tribalism. These kind of ideas go back to the caveman, so I feel very strongly that … positive energy becomes part of the reverse movement.”

-- John Soltes

Artists and Climate ChangeFestivity in the Darkness
Broadway WorldBessie Award-Winning Choreographer Joya Powell on the IHRAF
Broadway WorldCelebrating Advocacy through the Arts with the International Human Rights Art Festival
Huffington PostChinese Dissident Wei JingSheng featured at International Human Rights Art Festival in NYC
Voice of America (Mandarin): The International Human Rights Arts Festival Uses Its Soft Power to Face Anger and Division
Theater in the Now: podcast
WPAT Multicultural Radio 930 AM (interviews with Producer Tom Block): February 18, 2017 & February 24, 2017            NYUNow: New York's First Human Rights Art Festival                                                                                                                                                                                                           

NYC-ArtsTop Five
The Stage News International Round UpHighlighted Listing
Untapped CitiesYour Weekend Untapped Top Ten Events
The VillagerHighlighted Listing


NYC's inaugural International Human Rights Art Festival brought together 150 artists for 50 events across one weekend.                    

The participating organizations and individuals included:

Producer Tom Block, as captured on the Voice of America Mandarin reportage of the Festival.

Producer Tom Block, as captured on the Voice of America Mandarin reportage of the Festival.

Here is the documentary of our first full Festival, held at Dixon Place in New York's Lower East Side. We had 50 events presenting more than 150 artists and performers over the weekend, and including welcome videos from Norman Lear and Senator Charles E. Schumer. Video by Dalya Block and Kalina Gibson

Opening ceremonies

The 2017 IHRAF kicked off by bringing together artists, activists, politicians, and neighbors for an evening of positive art-making and powerful words. The line-up included: