Human Rights Art Festival
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     Silver Spring, Maryland, April 23-25, 2010
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About the Festival

The first ever Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival will be held in Silver Spring, MD (just outside of Washington D.C.) from April 23-25, 2010. This multi-venue, multi-media event will bring together artists, local businesses and politicians to use socially transformative art to raise awareness of human rights and justice issues, as well as the important work of Amnesty International.

The festival will run from 4 pm to late night Friday, and then 10 am to late night Saturday and Sunday. Amnesty International will have a presence at all of the events, and the art festival will be a manner in which to raise awareness of the important work that Amnesty undertakes, as well as the quintessentially American values that they espouse.

Each day will include a variety of events including visual art shows, new media events, performance art, spoken word, theater, book readings, panel discussions, film, music, hands-on workshops, art walks from exhibit to exhibit, participatory parades, international foods etc. throughout the Arts and Entertainment District of Silver Spring, all centered on raising awareness of human rights issues. Venues will include local restaurants, art spaces, theaters and community spaces.

Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Amnesty International has more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions. They coordinate this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.


Norman Lear joins the festival...

Norman Lear (American television writer and producer, who produced such sitcoms as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times and Maude, as well as founding People For the American Way) became the Executive Producer of the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival over the weekend. In officially joining the endeavor, he sent along a note to Art Festival Producer Tom Block that said: "I couldn't admire more your idea and plan for the Human Rights Arts Festival."

Lear's first act as a member of the Executive Committee was to commission spoken word artist Steven Connell to create a work based on Amnesty International's postcard actions. The piece will be premiered at the Art Festival in April. Connell's work has been featured on ABC World News, Good Morning America (ABC), Hardball (MSNBC), Def Poetry (HBO), Crossover (Showtime), the World AIDS Festival (MTV), Lyric Café (B.E.T.), as well as Oprah Winfrey’s celebration of Maya Angelou’s 75th birthday. He has also performed at private events for Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama.


Kick-off of the Festival to be Simulcast on County Cable
Friday, April 23, 5:30-7pm on Ellsworth Ave...

The grand opening of the first ever Amnesty International Human Rights Art will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery.

Featured artists at the grand opening are: MEM Music (New York), Sarah Rice (MTV star), Tara Bracco of Poetic People Power (New York) and Steve Connell (L.A.), performing the world premiere of his spoken word piece commissioned by Norman Lear and created especially for the Art Festival.

Other speakers and local leaders will join them onstage. Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett, State Senator Jamie Raskin and County Councilman Marc Elrich will represent the local and national political leaders who have leant their name to the project. Folabi Olagbaju, Director of the Amnesty International Mid-Atlantic Regional Office, Festival Participant Angie Rose (Founder of PAVE, and Art Festival creator and producer Tom Block will round out the program.


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