by Henry Talbott Bond
This year marks the introduction of The ArtVenture Freedom to Create Prize, a competition to promote human rights. ArtVenture is an organization devoted to the improvement of today’s globalizing community with the goal of fostering self-reliance in individuals. ArtVenture will work alongside Article 19 to create a voice for many of the improvised places in the world. Article 19 is an organization that promotes freedom of expression, and it is devoted to raising individual freedoms and strengthening democracy.
The competition will draw attention to group and individual artists who best demonstrate the freedom to express hope. The artists will be assessed by a panel of judges - including renowned artists, philanthropists and human rights activists - on their ability to express freedom in their art. Because the competition promotes diversity and the range of human expression, categories of acceptable artwork will consist of literature, music, drama and craft. The mission of ArtVenture - “find light in darkness and courage in truth” - acknowledges not only the gravity of worldwide oppression and turmoil, but also the merit of promoting the universal right of individuals to be heard.
The goal of The Freedom to Create Prize is to shed light on areas of the world in which the freedom to express is hampered by government. Also, the competition is designed to raise awareness of many injustices that people turn a blind eye to every day. Dr. Callamard, executive director of Article 19, said, “Artists make societies aware of the existence of abuses. They open our eyes, ears, imagination - all our senses - to the horror of wars, torture, poverty, racism and violence against women.”
The competition opened for submission on June 9, 2008, and will continue to accept submission through October 31, 2008. The competition is divided into three categories. The major prize, $50,000, will go to an individual or group who best represents the mission of ArtVenture. The second prize, a $25,000 scholarship, is offered to artists under age 18. The final prize, $25,000, will go to an imprisoned adult who used their art as a form of protest. According to Thomas Martin, ArtVenture spokesperson, “The ArtVenture Freedom to Create Prize will recognize primarily how the artist has used their work in speaking out against discrimination and oppression.”
Applications for The Freedom to Create Prize are available online at the ArtVenture website.