About Compassion Arts Festival

We Animals

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals

Compassion Arts Festival 2023 welcomes its eighth year this fall, with an event line-up that includes a virtual exhibition, film screenings, and original multi-arts presentations. All programs this year will help advance the development of the Center for Compassion Arts, an online museum and virtual arts center launching in 2024. Details about festival programs and registration will be available in October.

Coming Nov 9th-12th

The Animal Diaspora, a Virtual Exhibition

Curated by Jane O’Hara & Janell O’Rourke

Animal Story ‘Radio’ Hour

Presented with In Defense of Animals and Public Eye: Artists for Animals

Animals and War, Multi-Arts Performance Vigil

Presented by the Center for Compassion Arts, Original Projects

Documentary Film Screening TBA

Bird in Hand

Linnea Ryshke, Her Imprint on my Hand Lingers

What We Do

Compassion Arts Festival is an all-volunteer project that is made possible by the generous sharing of time, services, and artistry by the volunteer collective of artist advocates who present their work for the programs that are featured each year, and the time and talent of all involved who help put everything together.

A virtual project since 2020, our live festivals from 2015-2019 presented programs in MA and NY, at Worcester Art Museum (MA), Leonard Nimoy Theater at Symphony Space (NYC), Amazing Things Arts Center (MA), Kendall Square Cinema ( MA), PACE University (NY), Catskill Animal Sanctuary(NY), Woodstock Sanctuary(NY), Boston Veg Fest, New England Veg Fest, Earthlands, and Unity of Central MA. We have also partnered with organizations such as Culture & Animals Foundation, In Defense of Animals, CompassionFest, and others.

Past presentations are listed on our ARCHIVES page and include exhibits such as The Fifth Trust, Forget Me Not, and Beasts of Burden; award winning films like The Last Pig, Invisible Vegan, and A Prayer for Compassion; and a wide spectrum of groundbreaking artists and advocates including Jo-Anne McArthur, Martin Rowe, Jane O’Hara, Janell O’Rourke, Michael Harren, Joanne Kong, Donald Vincent, Isa Leshko, Allison Argo, Gretchen Primack, John Yunker, and many more.

Artists for Ahimsa Award

The Last Pig

(2018)

The Last Picture

(2019)

Mejia's Magic

(2020)

A Better World

(2021)

Each year, Compassion Arts Festival selects an artist for its annual ARTISTS FOR AHIMSA AWARD, to honor and highlight an individual, using creativity to inspire compassion for animals, as well as using their artistry to help animals directly and providing a platform for others to work from in animal advocacy. Past honorees include animal advocate and acclaimed Emmy award-winning filmmaker, director, writer and producer Allison Argo (2018); animal advocate, award-winning photojournalist and We Animals Media founder Jo-Anne McArthur (2019); artist, animal advocate, Best Friends Animal Society co-founder and Raven’s Heart Gallery owner Cyrus Mejia (2020); and animal advocate, artist, author and Center for Contemporary Sciences founder Dr. Aysha Akhtar (2021). A program to announce the Artist for Ahimsa honorees for both 2022 & 2023 will be posted in October.

The Artists for Ahimsa Award that honorees receive from the Festival is an original painting by Jane O’Hara, created specifically for each individual honoree, about their work . The Ahimsa Award paintings shown here are (from Top Left to Bottom Right): “The Last Pig” (for Allison Argo 2018), “The Last Picture” ( for Jo-Anne McArthur 2019), “Mejia’s Magic” (for Cyrus Mejia 2020), “ A Better World” ( for Dr. Aysha Akhtar 2021).