Young artists express their commitment to dignity and justice

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:19

Students invited to create work for exhibit celebrating Dec. 10 at Human Rights Day Goshen — High school juniors and seniors in Orange County are invited to submit original artwork in recognition of Dec. 10 as Human Rights Day. “Many great artists, including Goya, Picasso, and Chagall, have been champions of human rights and expressed their commitment to this important issue through their creativity,” said Fred Cook of the Orange County Human Rights Commission, who is co-charing the project with Kathleen Francese. “I hope art teachers will encourage students to take part so that they too may use their creativity to spread the message of dignity and respect for all.” The work should depict any one of the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The commission will display the work in an exhibit titled “An Artist’s Response to Human Rights” at Orange Hall Gallery on the SUNY Orange campus in Middletown, and the Great Room in Kaplan Hall on SUNY Orange's Newburgh campus from Dec. 9 through 18. An opening reception will be held at the Newburgh campus on Dec. 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. and at the Middletown campus on Dec. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. The goal of the exhibit is to make students more aware of the importance of human rights. “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is focused on promoting human dignity, non-discrimination, equality, and fairness and applying those values to everyone, everywhere,” said Francese. “We encourage teachers to use the art exhibit as an opportunity to share and explore these values with students and express them in their own way.” All submitted pieces must be original and created in 2011. Any medium will be accepted as long as the piece can be safely exhibited. Submissions must be made to school art teachers no later than December 1. A complete list of exhibit rules and the submission application are available on the Human Rights Commission page of the Orange County website at or by calling 615-3680 or SUNY Orange and the Orange County Arts Council are collaborating on the project. “As a veteran artist and teacher, I was inspired when solicited to take part in the Human Rights Exhibit celebrating Human Rights Day,” said Ward Lamb, an art teacher at Minisink Valley Central School District. “In a time when many rights are obscured and de-personalized it gives educators and students a chance to express and prioritize their concerns. This project teaches them to humanize their perspectives.”