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The arts are not a frill. The arts are a response to our individuality and our nature, and help to shape our identity. What is there that can transcend deep difference and stubborn divisions? The arts. They have a wonderful universality. Art has the potential to unify. It can speak in many languages without a translator. The arts do not discriminate. The arts can lift us up.

~Former U.S. Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan

Welcome to the Charter for Compassion page for Partners in the Arts sector. Here’s what you will find on this page:

  • What role do the Arts play in supporting the global movement for compassion?
  • How does an Arts organization or institution become a Partner of the Charter for Compassion?
  • What groups or organizations are already Partners in the Arts sector?
  • What role do the Arts play in supporting the global movement for compassion?

Art as Witness

Art marks the comings and goings of ages past and imagines those to come. Humankind has expressed itself in the arts--from the prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux, the eighteenth century BC poem Epic of Gilgamesh, and the many forms of pottery and jewelry found in the remains of ancient cultures throughout the world, to the myriad of art forms in the 21st century that encompass motion pictures, digital photography, computer art, and experimental novels. Art is an enduring cultural phenomenon.

Art can, with words or wordlessly, through sound or in silence, shout a message, break a heart, invoke a laugh, evoke a tear, motivate, agitate, and elevate. And art can simply exist—a witness to joy and suffering, to hardship and hope, to what it is to be human in a given time and place.

artsbirdiestherezaRoweArt Communicates and Connects

At the Charter for Compassion, we celebrate the arts as expressions of our humanity, and we are interested in how the arts can become a language that can reach across cultures to connect us. The work of artists encourages us to see different realities, to understand, and to empathize with one another. Art—in clay, in paint, in textiles, in film, in words, in photography, in music—invites us to respond from our inner core and sometimes to act on that response.

The creators of art and those who experience the arts in seeing, hearing, thinking, and doing, participate in a collaboration that can connect us to other human beings at a profound level. We learn of the pain, the dreams, the regrets, and the perceptions of people who have lived before us, people who live in distant parts of the globe, and people who have their own unique languages, customs, religious beliefs, and social values. That knowledge ignites understanding, empathy, and a realization of the common humanity we share. It is that image of our interconnection with all beings who share our beautiful planet that can also move us to compassionate action.

How does an organization or institution become a Partner of the Charter for Compassion?

Imagine and Act with Us

Many artists and art organizations bring the depths and heights of the human spirit to us in a myriad of art forms. Art has always had the power to connect us to one another. Now, however, more than any other time in history, we have both greater urgency and greater opportunity to connect people, to work together to imagine and to build a global compassionate world.

We invite you to join us—to weave your compassion with the same heartfelt impulse of both friends and strangers throughout the Earth, and to bring compassion and compassionate action to a worldwide audience that is yearning for a more compassionate and peaceful world. Read about how to become a partner, and raise your voice for compassion with other Partners and members of the CCI community.

The "Arts Communication and Contacts" illustration is by Theresa Rowe, a London based illustrator and graphic designer. 

The Arts Sector lead is Barbara Kaufmann. To contact the Arts Sector lead, send us an email.

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