Photo of Tom Block at the 2017 IHRAF by Elisa Guiterrez

Photo of Tom Block at the 2017 IHRAF by Elisa Guiterrez

Celebration of Black Men

March 5, 2018

Tom Block, founding producer of the International Human Rights Art Festival joins Bob Lee for a preview of the event designed to celebrate poetry, nature, beauty, and black men., which took place on March 12 at the off-Broadway Davenport Theater in NYC’s Theater District.

Celebration of Women

in honor of Eleanor Roosevelt

and the 70th anniversary of the United Nation Declaration of human rights

December 10, 2017

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 SageDancing Georgina ProjectMarni Rice and Xiomara Evans.


October 15, 2017 at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church, Brooklyn, NY

Banned by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan from performing as planned at St. Mary's Catholic Church

Press from after the banning:

New York Times: Festival Moves Event After Church Objects to Gay-Themed Content

"I think it’s absolutely, completely wrong," Ms. Kathleen Turner said. Deciding who should be heard and who silenced, she said, "is very much against the teaching of Christianity."

Crain's NY Business: Arts festival scrambling for space after archdiocese nixes LGBT performances

"The New York City arts community does not take kindly to censorship, especially now under the current political situation," Producer Tom Block said.

Broadway World: Catholic Church Refuses to Host International Human Rights Art Festival Event Featuring Kathleen Turner

The International Human Rights Art Festival is based in inclusion, honesty and sincerity - and brings together artists who will stand proudly before an audience and open their hearts, exposing their struggle in whatever arena they feel most challenged. "The idea that some of us would go forward while others were rejected is antithetical to our mission, our belief and frankly, our faith - respect does not stop at the doorway to one or another segment of the population," said Producer Tom Block

Gay City News: Catholic Church Anti-LGBTQ Guns Still Firing on All Cylinders

Father Bernárd Lynch, an out gay Catholic priest persecuted by the Archdiocese of New York for his gay rights and AIDS work in the 1970s and ‘80s, wrote in an email from Ireland: "The news regarding Cardinal Dolan’s rejection of this most recent event with Kathleen Turner and others over LGBTQ content is no different. They still hate us. They hate who we are and how we love. Living or dying, my Church simply cannot accept us as co-equals in God’s image. What a disgrace. Thirty years later, we have marriage both here, in the land of my birth, and in New York, the land of my spiritual birth. The Church institutionally still spells death to us. What kind of God do they believe in?"

Episcopal Cafe: Arts festival too hot for Catholics moves to Episcopal church

PlaybillUpdate: Festival Finds New Venue After Catholic Church Dropped Support Over LGBTQ Content

“I feel fortunate in that I am not beholden to a spiritual structure that tells me who is worthy of a voice and protection, and who is not,” the producer commented. “We believe that all people share this right—we will not pick and choose among our acts or our issues, allowing some while rejecting others.“

NewNowNextHuman Rights Performance Forced To Move After Catholic Church Complains About Gay Content

PatheosLGBTQ-Friendly Festival Changes Venues After Catholic Church Objects to Content

Broadway WorldPhoto Flash: Kathleen Turner Headlines International Human Rights Art Festival

Pink News, U.K.Catholic Church banishes human rights festival over LGBT performance

Christian PostNY Church Nixes Human Rights Art Festival Over LGBT Content


Press from before the banning:

Broadway World: Kathleen Turner Headlines 2017 International Human Rights Art Festival at Culture Project; Lineup Announced!                                                                                                                                 
Broadway WorldKathleen Turner to Headline International Human Rights Art Festival This Fall Kathleen Turner Will Headline Culture Project's International Human Rights Art Festival

PlaybillKathleen Turner to Headline October 15 Arts Festival for International Human Rights in NYC

NBC Live! Catching Up with Kathleen Turner


Inaugural INTERNATIONAL Human Rights Art Festival

March 3-5, 2017 at Dixon Place, NY

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.

brooklyn rail

"'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

am new york

"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 new york observer

"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

Hollywood Soapbox

“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 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-Arts: Top Five
The Stage News International Round Up: Highlighted Listing
Untapped Cities: Your Weekend Untapped Top Ten Events
The Villager: Highlighted Listing


Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival

40 venues in Silver Spring, MD, April 23-25, 2010

Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery CountyAHCMC Montgomery Traditions at the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival

Gazette NewspapersActivist art: Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival takes over downtown Silver Spring

Ethio Sun: The first Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival in Silver Spring, MD, April 23-25, 2010


TCG Circle: In the Trenches: Playwright Catherine Filloux

UNESCO Center for PeaceAmnesty International Human Rights Festival - The Artists 

WPFW 89.3 FMGloria Minott Interviews three Anti-Violence Against Women Participants of the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival


Coffee House TV interview with Tom Block, Event Organizer of the First Ever Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival.