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.
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 Change: Festivity in the Darkness
Broadway World: Bessie Award-Winning Choreographer Joya Powell on the IHRAF
Broadway World: Celebrating Advocacy through the Arts with the International Human Rights Art Festival
Huffington Post: Chinese 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's inaugural International Human Rights Art Festival brought together 150 artists for 50 events across one weekend.
The participating organizations and individuals included:
Al Sutton Jazz Trio
Tom Block, Human Rights Painting Project; Duck
Jessica Chen, J CHEN Project
Mx. JP Anne Giera
Scott Langley, Death Penalty Documentary Photography Project
James Leonard, Tent of Casually Observed Phenologies
Julia Levine, The UPROOT Series
Jessica Litwak, FEAR Project
Catherine Mueller, Institute for Collaborative Play
Joya Powell, Movement of the People Dance Company
Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Senior Advisor in NYC's Community Affairs Unit
Unity Productions Foundation
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:
Presidential Medal of the Arts winner Norman Lear
Founder of Poetic People Power Tara Bracco
Senator Charles E. Schumer (view his welcome here)
Mx. JP Anne Giera
Chinese human rights defender Wei JingSheng
America's first openly gay pop star Ari Gold
Playwright Catherine Filloux
Nigerian human rights activist Sowore Omoyele