Work of Juniors and Seniors in Local High Schools to be Featured in Exhibit of Art Inspired by Human Rights

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. –In recognition of Dec. 10 as Human Rights Day, the Orange County Human Rights Commission will be hosting a Celebration of Human Rights art exhibit displaying the work of high school juniors and seniors. Pieces will be on display in Orange Hall Gallery on the College's Middletown campus from Dec. 9-18.

“An Artist’s Response to Human Rights” invites 11th and 12th grade students from Orange County high schools to submit an original work of art depicting any one of the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The goal of the art exhibit, which is being co-chaired by Human Rights Commissioners Kathleen Francese and Fred Cook, is to raise awareness among high school students 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 Commissioner 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.”

“Our young people are our future,” said County Executive Edward A. Diana. “The lessons they learn today lay a critical foundation for tomorrow. That’s why it’s so important that they understand the importance of human rights and dignity and respect for others. Through their art they can share that message with others and make a meaningful difference in their lives,” continued Diana.

“An Artist’s Response to Human Rights” is open to any high school junior or senior attending school in Orange County. 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 Dec. 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 www.orangecountygov.com or by contacting 615-3680 or humanrights@orangecountygov.com.

“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,” commented Commissioner Cook. “I hope art teachers will encourage students to take part in this ‘artist’s response to human rights’ so that they too may use their creativity to spread the message of dignity and respect for all.”

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.”

An opening reception will be held on Dec. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m.

“An Artist’s Response to Human Rights” is presented by the Orange County Human Rights Commission in collaboration with SUNY Orange and the Orange County Arts Council.

The Orange County Human Rights Commission was established in 1970 to foster mutual respect and understanding among all racial, religious, and nationality groups in the County. For more information about the exhibit or the Human Rights Commission, visit the Commission’s pages on the Orange County Government website or call 615-3680.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940