Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Institute 
of Prophetic Activist Art
                 at Dixon Place

Tom Block (r) with President John Sweeney (AFL-CIO) and Executive Director Bill Schulz (Amnesty International) at the inaugural exhibition of the Human Rights Painting Project  (Washington DC, 2001). The project has been exhibited more than 40 times and raised tens of thousands of dollars for Amnesty International.


The application period for the The Institute of Prophetic Activist Art at Dixon Place (NY) is now open.  Applications will be accepted until January 15, 2016.  The Institute offers an intensive workshop to build individual art-activist projects over the semester-long seminar.  Classes include an introduction to the specific aspects of the Prophetic Activist Art model (developed by Tom Block out of his own work), and then an exploration about how these ideas can be applied to each artist and their endeavor.

The Institute will consist of 12 activist artists who would like to build their projects during the semester-long seminar, basing their work on Tom Block’s manifesto/handbook of art activism: Prophetic Activist Art: Handbook for a Spiritual Revolution  (Centre for Human Ecology, Scotland, 2014).  Mr. Block ( will be running the seminar.

Building out from the belief that it is – and always has been – the artist’s obligation to raise the human gaze to their highest spiritual possibility, this model utilizes art to infiltrate and co-opt political, business and social structures to inspire specific and quantifiable social change.  Prophetic Activism is based on the idea that true social transformation must come from within societal pillars, and the best manner of implementing change is to influence these power centers.

The eight session seminar will introduce artists to the specific ideas of the model, including co-opting political, business and social energy; partnering with non-profit groups; making liaisons with other artists; utilizing unusual exhibition and outreach methods; “Machiavellian” activism; how to build a project from inception through completion; how to imagine and successfully attain quantifiable activist goals and other specific aspects of a Prophetic Activist Art intervention.  We will explore the minutiae of writing cover letters, approaching political and social leaders for their support, finding non-traditional manners of reaching audiences, raising awareness through press releases, media outreach, advertising and manner of aspects of the theory.

Tuition will be $115, paid in advance, for the full 8-week program and will include a copy of Prophetic Activist Art: Handbook for a Spiritual Revolution, which will be the “textbook” for the work.


Handbook for the class.  Major  General Charles Tucker
(USAF-retired) said of the work: "Tom Block is a visionary
at the intersection of art and conscience."   Lewis Elbinger, career State Department worker and one-time political director at Central High Command (FL) noted: "Prophecy and art flowing together into contemporary mysticism and mysticism flowing into activism."

Dates: We will meet on the following dates (all Mondays from 2-5 pm): February 8, 22, March 7, 21, April 4, 18, May 2, 9.  We will meet at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie Street, NYC).  

To apply:  please send a coverletter outlining the germ of your activist idea, plus any activist art experience you have had; a link to a website or portfolio of images and a resume to:   Deadline for applications January 15, 2016.                                                                              

Tom Block: Tom Block is an artist, writer and activist best known for the development and implementation his activist art theory, Prophetic Activist Art.  His activist work includes the Human Rights Painting Project in conjunction with Amnesty International; Shalom/Salaam Project, including abstract and portrait paintings, as well as the seminal academic study: Shalom/Salaam: Story of a Mystical Fraternity, which he has presented at conferences, universities and galleries around the United States, Canada, Europe, Turkey and the Middle East; Response to Machiavelli Project, represented by published book (Machiavelli in America) and two series of paintings and Cousins Public Art Project, publicly installed  in Tempe, AZ and Silver Spring, MD.  He was the founding producer of the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival, an international event that took place April 2010 near Washington DC, and the Iraq History Art Project, DePaul University 2010.

Mr. Block has published five books and has exhibited his artwork in galleries and museums more than 200 times throughout the United States and Europe.  His plays have been produced and read over the last three years in numerous venues in New York and Washington DC.  His work has been covered in press such as National Public Radio, Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, American Theatre MagazineManhattan Magazine, Aktuel (Turkey), ABC (Spain), La Nazione (Italy), Al-Ahram (Egypt), Alrai (Jordan) and many other press outlets around the United States and world.

Past members of the Institute have included
Mashuq Deen, a playwright and activist who is creating a project to gently confront immigrant communities in Jackson Heights, Chinatown and Crown Heights Brooklyn) with other sexually-oriented members of their community, by inserting these "others" into their day-to-day lives at bus stops, subway stations, markets and throughout the communtiy
Erin Cherry, an actress, who is creating a project called “Stay Woke: A Call to Action” which will provide a safe-space for community stakeholders in Harlem to discuss issues of concern to African Americans such as police brutality, media bias, staying positive in the face of a hostile world and other aspects of being African American in the United States today.
Nate Speare, an actor and writer, who is creating in the new field of “Astro-Dramas,” which make explicit the astrological forces which surround us.  His works unpack the individual, positive forces that may lay latent in our actions and beings.
Eva Peskin and Justine Williams, who are creating a community space for LGBTQ members, modeled on the Boy Scouts, but subverting that model by reconsidering “correct action”.  This work is also being developed at the Queer Mentorship Program.
Pamela Enz, a performance artist, who is working an a prison-based project, and planning on taking her work into youth prisons. 
Olivia Corbett, a fashion designer, rapper and dancer who is creating a clothing line with sayings on them which will exhort, question and subvert the status quo, as well as highlight positive aspects of the human character.  Her website is already online at:
Loren Halman (Lolo Haha), a performance artist, who is devising a project to engage non-profit groups to use creative means to fight for housing justice.
Mirjam Linschooten: an international researcher and artist who is exploring how the manner in which museums exhibit their works denatures them of their original meanings, and creating novel manners of exhibiting ethnographic and artistic works which will allow them to be experienced, instead of just "seen" behind vitrines and pasted onto walls.
Charlie Munn: an actor and playwright, is working on a theatrical piece which explores the language used by white men on the wrong side of history. The piece uses sourced documents from slaveholders, segregationists, and senators to confront its audience with words we want to pretend never existed.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fashion designer, rapper and dancer Olivia Jade Corbett presented her Prophetic Activist Art Project this week, entitled: "Conjoint" (  Her presentation included a talk about her work, her motivations, an exploration of her products and activist intentions and then a brief rap, all for the edification of Institute participants.
Olivia says of her work:

I Believe in Breaking Free from Limitation 

Hi, I’m Olivia Jade Corvett and CONJoint is a brand for waking spirits. I am an activist artist that believes in empowering young minds through street-wear and pop-culture, combining subtle design with a bold message. As a fashion designer based in New York City with over a decade's experience in the industry, I aim to make it today's currency to choose ethically-evolved apparel, lifestyle and attitudes. I feel that looking fresh also means feeling fresh, while being informed and uplifting those around us. I create apparel for the artistic, expressive and urban soul that choose their own choices and entertain the possibility that anything is possible. Our locally made t-shirts are manufactured in Brooklyn, NY with 100% organic cotton jersey and USA made materials. Adventurous in nature, these original, quality vinyl-printed tees are emotive, intelligent and wearable statements..


Why Did I Start CONJoint?


I have a vision for CONJoint to be a brand that represents artists of all mediums, entrepreneurship and collaboration. The name CONJoint means oneness, or togetherness. On this journey there have been moments when I exclaimed to strangers, "Own your Pussy Power!" or "We're all born Creators!", so it felt fitting for us to wear these empowering states of being as statement tees. CONJoint is integral to my Brand of Being™ in that I question the materials I source, the products I consume and the systems that I follow. And I challenge everybody to tap into this higher state of consciousness that simply asks for a moment of observance and a contemplation for change. We need evolved souls in every field inventing and lighting the way toward a savvy and sound future for all. This plea for sanity and secularity is reflective of CONJoint's company philosophy to raise humanity's consciousness. And it is my own personal mission to ensure the welfare of others, by striving for basic human, animal and environmental rights, socioeconomic equality and female empowerment.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Institute Artists in the News!

Class artists are not just studying at the Institute of Prophetic Activist Art, they are also actively pursuing their craft.  Here are some upcoming events by Institute artists:

The Animals perform at Dixon Place
Eva Peskin: is part of the performance group "The Animals" performance group which is presenting work at Dixon Place (161 Chrystie Street, New York), as part of DP's commissioned pieces. Chase: What Matters Most Six revolves around low-level employees of an anonymous bank, all of whom are named Chase, refuse to take the apocalypse seriously. Each of them on their own metaphysical journey, they intersect to share their findings. Studying nightmares, foreign wars, corporate personhood, climate change, epidemics, environmental catastrophes, loneliness, the singularity & other harbingers of doom, the six Chases try and fail to behold the world’s terrible face, unmasked. FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS, OCTOBER 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31 AT 7:30PM:

Nate will perform at Theater Row

Nate Speare: will perform at the United Solo Theatre Festival at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street. At the festival, he'll be sharing the nostalgic, melancholic and funny Screame, his latest original work. Screame is a NYC coming-of-age odyssey in which the storyteller re-lives the story of working at an Upper West Side gelato shop and questions the need to build a thicker skin in a world melting with vulnerability.  For tickets and more information: BUY TICKETS!

"Finance Minister" is one of 21
works on view at Dixon Place

Tom Block: The Institute's founder has an art exhibit of 21 paintings from his "Response to Machiavelli" project on view at Dixon Place through early November.  The opening is Monday, October 19, 6:30-8:30 pm.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Meet Mashuq Deen, playwright, activist and member of the Institute of Prophetic Activist Art:
Deen is a political writer. In addition to the work he is planning for the Institute, he has a project in the pipeline that's about the 1984 anti-Sikh massacres in India. Some other projects that he'll be beginning shortly: a piece about the "incarceration" of patients suffering from mental illness, and the rare but alternative model of open-unit hospitals where the patient-staff community members are responsible to each other; an absurdist piece about women and guns and class.
For the Institute, Deen is planning on using a gentle manner of making public the existence of LGBTQ members of immigrant communities in Jackson Heights, Chinatown and in Brooklyn, as well as raising awareness of them through media and other outreach mechanisms.  Can't say much more about it here -- you'll have to wait until Deen has begun implementing the project!  Genteel, subversive and most definitely challenging.
Deen also just began a seven-year residency with New Dramatists.

Here is a link to Deen's work as a playwright: 
Here are some of Deen's performances, videos and other multi-media work:!writings-and-recordings/cm0i
And here is an article about his play, Draw the Circle, and other press coverage: