Freedom of artistic expression is a fundamental human right and an indicator of a healthy and free society. But artistic freedom is under assault: autocratic regimes fear artists because they express cultural identity, advance new ideas, promote dialogue, and bear witness to inhumanity.
Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) safeguards the right to artistic freedom of expression and ensures that artists and cultural professionals everywhere can live and work without fear. Our ultimate goal is to address the needs of artists at risk and the organizations that serve them.
ARC primarily achieves this by:
— ASSISTING persecuted artists by connecting them to our growing global network of resources
— FACILITATING cooperation among human rights and art organizations
— AMPLIFYING the stories and work of at-risk artists as well as raising visibility of the field of artistic freedom
Who we help
ARC serves artists of all disciplines as well as cultural professionals. Our definition of “artist” is inclusive, encompassing those who work across any creative field or medium, including visual artists, musicians, cartoonists, filmmakers, performance artists, dancers, writers, etc. If you are an artist in need of urgent assistance, please visit our Find Help page or contact us.
What we do
Since its inception in 2017, ARC has assisted more than 181 individual artists and cultural professionals from over 53 countries by connecting them to a wide range of services, most frequently including emergency funds, legal assistance, temporary relocation programs and fellowships. Thanks to a core network of over 70 partners, over 50% of them have already received direct support. If you are an organization seeking to join ARC’s database, please visit our Join ARC page.
Who we are
ARC is a project of PEN America. Standing at the intersection of literature and human rights, PEN America has been championing freedom of expression since 1922. It is the largest of more than 140 chapters of PEN International.
Shahidul Alam, Photographer and Curator, Drik Gallery (Bangladesh)
Laura Battistin, ProtectDefenders.eu (Belgium)
Khaled Barakeh, Visual artist, CoCulture (Germany)
Tania Bruguera, Cuban installation and performance artist
Pierre Claver Mabiala, Arterial Network (Ivory Cost)
Cathy McCann, PEN International (UK)
Helena Nassif, Al Mawred Al Thaqafy (Lebanon)
Helge Lunde, International Cities of Refuge Network (Norway)
Natalia Koliada, Belarus Free Theatre (Belarus)
Nik Kowsar, Cartoonist, Cartoonists Rights Network International (USA)
Srirak Plipat, Freemuse (Denmark)
Henry Reese, City of Asylum (USA)
Alison Russo, Artist Protection Fund (USA)
Mary Ann De Vlieg, International Arts and Rights Advisors (Italy)
Julie Trébault, Director
Julie is the director of the Artists at Risk Connection. Prior to joining PEN America, she served as director of public programs at the Museum of the City of New York and the Center for Architecture. Before moving to New York, she worked at the National Museum of Ethnology in The Netherlands where she built a network of 116 museums. From 2004 until 2007, she was Head of Higher Education and Academic Events at the Musée du quai Branly (Paris). Trébault holds a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from the Sorbonne University and a Master’s Degree in Archeology from the University of Strasbourg.
Gabriel Fine, Assistant
Gabriel Fine is an assistant of the Artists at Risk Connection. Prior to PEN America, he worked at the Dia Art Foundation and the Whitney Museum of American Art. A writer, his nonfiction appears in outlets including The Los Angeles Review of Books, Spin, and Denver Westword, and his poetry is featured in Image and Nashville Review. He graduated from Colorado College in 2018 with a BA in English Literature.
Jessica Sun, Assistant
Jessica Sun is a program assistant for the Artists at Risk Connection. Previously, she was a research assistant for Dr. Ellen Chesler at the Roosevelt Institute, a communications intern for ARC, and an intern for American Ballet Theatre. She was a 2018 Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) JSI Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. She holds a BA in Political Science and a certificate in Public Policy focusing on international development and human rights from Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College.
Alessandro Zagato, Latin America Representative
Alessandro Zagato is the Latin America regional representative for the Artists at Risk Connection. Prior to PEN America, he worked as a researcher for a European Research Council project. He founded the “Research Group in Arts and Politics” (Grupo de Investigación en Arte y Politica - GIAP) and the associated “Casa Giap,” a residency center for international artists and researchers. He holds a PhD in Sociology from Maynooth University, Ireland and is the author of “After the Pink Tide. Corporate State Formation and New Egalitarianisms in Latin America” (Berghahn Books 2020) and “The Event of Charlie Hebdo: Imaginaries of Freedom and Control” (Berghahn Books 2015), among several other publications. He lives in San Cristóbal de Las Casas (Chiapas, Mexico).