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An Artist's Response to Human Rights

December 10 marks the 69th anniversary of a statement to the world by the General Assembly of the United Nations: the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. One member of the drafting committee of the UN Commission on Human Rights was Hernán Santa Cruz of Chile who wrote, “I perceived clearly that I was participating in a truly significant historic event in which a consensus had been reached as to the supreme value of the human person, a value that did not originate in the decision of a worldly power, but rather in the fact of existing—which gave rise to the inalienable right to live free from want and oppression and to fully develop one’s personality.”

The Orange County Human Rights Commission (OCHRC) wanted to bring this important document to the public eye and in so doing use the Declaration as a teaching tool to youth who were about to enter the adult world. Consequently, in 2012, under the leadership of its chairman, Fred Cook, it launched its first art show of works created by juniors and seniors of Orange County high schools. Within a couple of years, the exhibit broadened its perspective to include the literary arts. 

Now in 2017, Chairman Cook represents the OCHRC in stating, “This year’s exhibit, An Artist’s Response to Human Rights, again reflects the understanding and commitment of many of our Orange County high school students to the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Orange County Human Rights Commission takes much pleasure in the collaborative efforts of the Commission with SUNY Orange and the Orange County Arts Council for providing a platform for students to enhance their appreciation of human rights.” 

The exhibit has two venues at which artworks, poems, and essays related to the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be viewed, Orange Hall Gallery, SUNY Orange Middletown campus and the Mindy Ross Gallery, SUNY Orange Newburgh campus with receptions scheduled on Sunday, Dec. 3 from 1 to 3 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m., respectively. The exhibits and receptions are free and open to the public. Gallery hours during the Dec. 1 through 14 timeframe of the exhibit are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday in Orange Hall Gallery and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday-Thursday; and 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday in the Mindy Ross Gallery, Kaplan Hall. 

Questions may be directed to and (845) 341-4891/9386. You may also visit the Cultural Affairs website at

Event date, time and location.

Dorothy Szefc
Cultural Affairs