Art for Freedom

Three years ago, on the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, President Obama symbolically passed the intent of that document forward with the creation of Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, an observance meant to increase awareness of worldwide injustices and give recognition to agencies battling them. “Around the world, millions of men, women, and children are bought, sold, beaten, and abused, locked in compelled service and hidden in darkness,” reads Obama’s proclamation. “They toil in factories and fields; in brothels and sweatshops; at sea, abroad and at home. They are the victims of human trafficking — a crime that amounts to modern-day slavery.”

To bring that fight home, Denver photographer Keri Mills invited local and national artists to become modern-day abolitionists by creating pictures to go with those words. The resulting show, Arise! And Stop the Traffic! went on display January 1 in the fifth-floor Gates Reading Room Gallery at the Denver Central Library, and will remain on view through February 28.

The plight of human-trafficking victims will be further brought to light at an artist reception tonight at the library, with more words — these from spoken-word poets Suzi Q. Smith and Michael R. Bloczynski, who will perform at the event. The free reception runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway; half the proceeds from the sale of any artwork in the show will benefit Isaiah’s House, a national network of child-sex-trafficking safe homes. Visit for details.
Jan. 1-Feb. 28; Tue., Jan. 28, 6-7:30 p.m., 2014