Truth Be Told: For Freedoms Panel Discussion


Join us for a panel that includes journalists and artists for a powerful discussion about responses and tactics for engaging civil society in the quest to uphold truth.

When belief supplants truth, what do we do? We are experiencing a transformation of social values and semantic meaning floating away from concrete measure, assessment and valuation of truth. Private gatekeepers and public officials, #fakenews, and journalism under attack will be discussed with a panel of whistleblowers, artists, and journalists.

Artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese (known as LigoranoReese) bring their public art series, “Melted Away,” to the National Mall on Saturday morning, September 22, to create “TRUTH BE TOLD,” a temporary monument (rendered in slowly melting ice) literally spelling out TRUTH. The piece is their latest of a series addressing distressed pillars of 21st century America.

Coinciding with the “Melted Away,” installation, PEN America and Defending Rights & Dissent joins with the Corcoran School of Arts & Design to host this panel discussion as part of the For Freedoms’ 50 State Initiative.

Building off of the existing artistic infrastructure in the United States, For Freedoms has developed a network of artists and institutional partners who will produce nationwide public art installations, exhibitions and local community dialogues in order to inject nuanced, artistic thinking into public discourse. Centered around the vital work of artists, we hope that these exhibitions and related projects will model how arts institutions can become civic forums for action and discussion of values, place, and patriotism.

Speakers Include:

Danielle Brian has been the Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) since 1993. POGO is a nonpartisan government watchdog that exposes waste, corruption, and abuse of power in order to achieve a more effective, ethical, and accountable government that safeguards constitutional principles. Danielle was inducted into the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame, has been ranked three times by Ethisphere magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in business ethics, and received the Smith College Medal. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Smith College, and her Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Chip Gibbons is a journalist whose work has appeared in The Nation, Jacobin, and Truthout. He is also a contributor to The Henry Kissinger Files, forthcoming Verso Books. In addition to his work as a writer, Chip is currently policy and legislative counsel for Defending Rights & Dissent.

Thomas O. Melia is Washington Director for PEN America, an organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide.  He is also a writer and visiting professor at Princeton University.  During the Obama administration, Melia was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for democracy and human rights, and Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency of International Development. 

Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese collaborate together as LigoranoReese. They have exhibited public artworks, internet projects and limited editions throughout the United States, Latin America and Europe. TRUTH BE TOLD is the first temporary monument installed in Washington, D.C.

Other panelists to be announced.

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