NCAC’s Arts Advocacy Program, launched in 2000, is the only national project dedicated to working directly with individual artists and curators involved in censorship disputes. Its main goal is to protect artists’ rights to participate in the democratic dialogue by defending public access to their work and supporting their ability to freely express views that might be unpopular or controversial.
The project aims to resolve controversies through education and advocacy–avoiding, whenever possible, the need for legal action. Our work within the framework of a larger anti-censorship organization capitalizes on the fact that controversial issues are not confined to one medium of expression or one social sphere. We work with different constituencies with the goal of mobilizing a wide base of support in cases that would normally only engage a single interest group.
While interventions in individual cases are the most important and unique part of our work, they are inseparable from systematic efforts to analyze censorship trends, prepare artists to become their own advocates, and develop strategies to counter censorship in all its ever-changing forms. To that end we produce policy documents and educational materials, as well as organize educational programs.
Censorship has been around for as long as there has been creative expression; no doubt, censorship attempts will be part of our future. However, the degree of public support for free speech has always made a difference – the difference between silent repression and a lively debate.