Founded in September 2013, Art For Freedom is the result of a partnership between global superstar Madonna and VICE Media. The completely digital organization aims to increase awareness of human rights violations around the world through artwork.
Each month, artists are invited to submit their original creations in response to the question, “What does freedom mean to you?” The organization then chooses a winning entry, whose creator is offered a $10,000 donation to the charity of their choice.
In addition to naming monthly winners, Art For Freedom also posts daily winners on its website. The inspirational submissions are displayed on the organization’s home page and can be accessed at any time through its interactive calendar.
Recently, Madonna named illusionist David Blaine as a guest curator for the organization’s December contest. Blaine’s duties will consist of reviewing entries and choosing which pieces will be displayed on the organization’s website.
Past celebrity curators included notables such as Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. For the month of November, Madonna herself hosted a live exhibit on Tumblr to showcase submissions.
Despite its recent start, the organization has quickly gained a following. Notable submissions for the December 2013 contest have included videos and photographs referencing numerous social problems including bullying, transgender issues, religious intolerance, racial intolerance, and other forms of prejudice.
The organization’s website currently features entries from around the world. The last two weeks have seen submissions from France, Bulgaria, Australia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, New Jersey, California, and New Hampshire.
Entries can be from a variety of mediums including film, music, photography, and poetry. Those interested in the organization’s monthly contest may upload original creations on the Art For Freedom website or by uploading the works to social media with the tag #artforfreedom.
– Jasmine D. Smith