International Human Rights Art Festival Pairs Art and Advocacy

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by Dana Reszutek
AM-New York/February 15, 2017

International Human Rights Art Festival pairs art and advocacy

No matter how you look at it, art is political, and the New York City creative scene has recently been embracing its activist side even more.

Whether it was Shia LaBeouf's unexpectedly short-lived "He Will Not Divide Us" interactive livestream outside Queens' Museum of the Moving Image or the Museum of Modern Art hanging up works made by artists from the seven countries affected by President Donald Trump's travel ban, the NYC art world has been less-than-silent in recent months regarding today's political climate.

Enter the city's first International Human Rights Art Festival,celebrating the intersection between art and advocacy. Taking place from March 3 to 5, the festival will host a range of performers, works of art and free events, all meant to help the public to learn about a variety of social justice issues.

International Human Rights Art Festival producer Tom Block curated the event, consisting of 50 events and more than 150 artists.

"The goal is basically to bring together strong, passionate, sincere, activist artists to present their positions, their ideas on a lot of social concerns, and certainly recent political social events that seem more pressing," Block said.

The festival, which will be held at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St. in Manhattan, will feature theater performances, presentations and workshops in a lounge area, as well as a free daily happy hour during which attendees can meet and speak with fellow guests and performers.

Presentations include "Muslim Women Speak," on March 4, which will explore the perspective of current political issues from a panel of Muslim females. Performers including Delirious Dances, Poetic People Power and many more will take the stage.

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

"I try to stay away from angry art," Block explained. "I really curated the whole festival to be positive, based on a strong aesthetic of beauty."

Block also encouraged attendees to bring their children to the "KidsFest" workshops, taking place on March 4 and 5 from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

"That is really a chance to introduce children to hands-on advocacy art, and using their creative [side] to inspire social change," he said.

Tickets are now available for both day passes and individual performances, ranging from $10 to $20. For more information,