The Romantics believed that artists are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. If so, then those of us in the animal rights movement would do well to give greater support to artists who uphold a vision of liberation for non-human animals. At Our Hen House, the Art of the Animal series highlights vegan artists who use their art to speak up for animals – but where visual art is concerned, you have to see the pieces in person to really feel their impact. Luckily, the good folks over at Metropolitan Community Church of New York – whose conversation on veganism was a great success in February, and who have since hosted a Meatout event with Farm Sanctuary – are planning an art show for this fall that will solely feature vegan artists (as well as vegan musicians and vegan refreshments on its opening night), providing a venue for those vegan Picassos and Monets that we all know are out there.
The church, which acts as “a spiritual home for NYC’s LGBTQ community” and is committed to social justice, hosts several art shows a year at its Jackson Hall Art Gallery. Organizer Casey Easterling saw this as an opportunity to showcase the fact that going vegan doesn’t mean giving up what you love, in this case good art. As Casey explained to me, “events like these are really important because people have the impression that going vegan means changing everything and never having your favorite foods again, or not being able to do the things you always enjoyed, but that isn’t really the case.” We know that veganism and animal rights is more than what we eat and what we wear; it is, or should be, a total way of life. Events like these are necessary to bring this fact to those outside our vegan bubble. After all, without artists, a social movement isn’t a social movement; it’s just a dry argument.
So if you’re a vegan artist in the New York area, why not submit your work to Metropolitan Community Church’s upcoming art show? 25% of the proceeds go to MCCNY; the rest go directly to the artist. The deadline is April 29, and everyone who wishes to participate should send samples of their work to Casey at cde0901[at]gmail.com. Works of art will be hung from September through October 2011 at the Jackson Hall Art Gallery, with an opening night party taking place on Wednesday, September 21. Submitted art does not necessarily have to be animal rights-themed, but all artists must be vegan.
If you’re not an artist in the NYC area, why let New Yorkers have all the fun? Organize your own art show featuring vegan artists at a local venue, perhaps donating some of the proceeds to a socially progressive or animal-friendly institution or organization (we would, of course, not object if you kept in mind that Our Hen House is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is always in need of funding to broaden its outreach!).
After all, artists may be the legislators of the world, but how will they ever get together to legislate without a good event-planner to organize them?
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