The International Free Expression Project is an independent NGO dedicated to building public support for free-expression rights at a time they are under grave threat around the world. IFEP seeks to leverage the work of other free-expression organizations in new high-profile ways that move people to action, especially young people. It comprises:
An iconic symbol of free expression: The project will sponsor an international design competition to build the world’s first signature work of public art representing a free press and free expression. It will rise above one of the most recognizable locations in America – the confluence of three rivers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – at the redeveloped site of one of America’s most historic newspapers – the 232-year-old Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Marketplace of Ideas: The block-long, 40-foot-high PG pressroom – visible through 30-foot arched windows – is envisioned as a Marketplace of Ideas featuring rebuilt presses, artworks, food stands, coffee carts, musicians and the like – an explosion of expression. Among its singular elements: a rail system that weaves throughout the floor and I-beams above that can carry 50-ton loads – such as art installations – in and out of the building. The project has purchased 90 tons of press artifacts to reintroduce into the building and has sponsored the creation of hundreds of artworks and photographs. One goal is to support artists while making the Marketplace financially self-sustaining, with revenues from retail sales, event rentals, performances, beverage and food sales, and other sources.
Education and Engagement: Sprinkled throughout the Marketplace will be interactive displays, e-games and robots that entertain while driving home the elemental importance of free expression. These will constitute the International Center for Free Expression. The center’s newly invented educational tools will be road-tested in the Marketplace and then made available online for the use of teachers and free-expression advocacy organizations around the world. Some already are under development at the Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab.
Supporters: Advisory board members so far include actor Michael Keaton, Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich, Washington Post editor Marty Baron, historian David McCullough, Omar Rabago Vital of the International Free Expression Exchange and Vietnamese singer/activist and Havel Prize laureate Mai Khoi. Local supporters include the mayor of Pittsburgh, Allegheny Conference for Community Development, Carnegie Museum of Art, Andy Warhol Museum, the Pittsburgh Office of Public Art and The Pittsburgh Foundation.
Greg Victor, executive director / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1-412-576-1253
Sara Longo, co-director / Carnegie Mellon CREATE Lab, 1-412-965-9301