HISTORY OF THE PROJECT: The paintings were inaugurated at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington D.C., April 2002. President John J. Sweeney of the AFL-CIO, Dr. William Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA and Sowore Omoyele, a former prisoner of conscience, all spoke at the event. In addition, both Senator Paul Wellstone and Chinese democracy activist Wei JingSheng wrote letters of support that were included in the catalogue for the project.
Press coverage to date includes interviews on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation;" WMFD TV, Mansfield, Ohio; Galway Bay FM (Ireland) 95.8 and on ArtScape, Channel 10, Frederick MD. In addition, there have been features on the project by Utne Magazine, Copley News Service, Baltimore Sun (MD), Gazette Newspapers (MD), Takoma Voice (MD), Style Weekly (Richmond, VA), Cumberland Times-Union (Cumberland, MD), Winston-Salem Journal (NC), Greensboro News and Record (NC), High Point Enterprise (NC), Lancaster Sunday News (PA), Galway Advertiser (Galway, Ireland) and Sojourners Magazine, as well as being chosen as "Pick of the Week" by the Washington Times, Washington Post, Style Weekly (Richmond, VA), Maryland Life Magazine, Maryland Public Television and the Chicago Reader. The Takoma Park City Council (MD) passed a resolution in support of the project on April 8, 2002, while the Frederick County Commission (MD) passed a resolution of support on September 8, 2005. The Human Rights Painting Project has also received a Puffin Foundation grant, a monetary award from the Nelson Talbott Foundation and numerous private donations to fund various aspects of the project.
In addition to the inaugural show in Washington D.C., paintings from the Human Rights Painting Project have been exhibited at the A.R.C. Gallery, Chicago, the Ratner Museum, Bethesda, MD, the Pearl Conard Gallery, Ohio State University, OH, the Eckles Gallery, George Washington University, Washington D.C., Olin Fine Arts Center, Washington College, Washington, PA, the Phillips Museum, Franklin and Marshall University, Lancaster, PA, ArtSpace, Richmond, VA, Tessera Gallery, Winston-Salem, NC, Saville Gallery, Cumberland, MD, Beneficial-Hodson Library, Hood College, Frederick, MD, Marlboro Gallery, Prince George's Community College, Largo, MD Howard County Arts Center, Ellicott City, MD and the Project 06 Arts Festival, Galway, Ireland.
Lastly, Mr. Block has given talks on the project to students from Vassar College, American University, George Washington University, Franklin and Marshall College, Hood College, Prince George's Community College, Ohio State University, as well as in conjunction with the Irish Centre for Human Rights, UNESCO Center for Peace, at the International Peace Research Association Biennial Conference, Peace and Justice Studies Conference and the Southeast College Art Conference.