What is Art on Trial?
Many Americans assume that artistic expression receives absolute protection under the United States Constitution. Indeed, if a picture is worth a thousand words, why would such speech not be protected by the First Amendment? In reality, however, American courts have interpreted the First Amendment to allow many restrictions both on what artists can say and what the public can see.
To increase public awareness of such restrictions, Art on Trial: The Arts, the First Amendment, and the Courts will be a virtual exhibit of artworks that were once at the center of actual courtroom battles. Each of the works displayed will represent a legal action in which an argument was made (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) that the artistic expression at issue could be censored or restricted in a manner that did not violate the First Amendment. Accompanying each piece in the exhibit will be a summary of the court case involving the artwork and the legal issues surrounding it. In addition to the well-known controversies involving nudity in the arts, Art on Trial will also address such diverse topics as religious freedom and artistic expression, counterfeiting, public safety, harm to minors, satire, and much more. The ultimate goal of Art on Trial is to expose visitors to litigated works of art and challenge them to assess whether the outcome of each case is consistent with their own views as to what should be protected under the First Amendment.
What will this project achieve?
An earlier, limited version of Art on Trial was created over 10 years ago by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression--a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization engaged in advocacy, education, and litigation on behalf of the First Amendment rights of free speech and free press. The Center seeks funding to redesign, update, and most importantly, research and substantially expand the number of works displayed in Art on Trial.
What are the perks of donating?
$5.00 or more: Your name will be placed on the donor recognition page of Art on Trial.
$20.00 or more: Since 1992, the Thomas Jefferson Center has censured the censors by giving out the Jefferson Muzzle Awards to those who in the past year committed some of the more egregious and ridiculous affronts to free expression. For a $20 donation, you will receive two Jefferson Muzzle stickers (4”x4”), plus your name on the donor recognition page of Art on Trial.
$30.00 or more: A 5"x7" card featuring a chalk drawing by Pete O'Shea of Eugene Delacroix’s 1830 painting, Liberty Leading the People, signed by O'Shea. The chalk drawing was created by Pete O’Shea on the Thomas Jefferson Center’s Community Chalkboard and Podium: A Monument to the First Amendment, located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Also includes two Jefferson Muzzle Stickers and your name on the donor recognition page.
Liberty Leading the People
$50 or more: An official Jefferson Muzzle T-shirt, plus all previous perks. Multiple colors available!
$100 or more: A copy of My Extraordinary Ordinary Life signed by actress Sissy Spacek.
$100 or more: A copy of One Nation Under Sex signed by publisher Larry Flynt.
$150 or more: A personalized inscription by actress Sissy Spacek inside a copy of her book My Extraordinary Ordinary Life.
$150 or more: A personalized inscription by publisher Larry Flynt inside a copy of his book One Nation Under Sex.
$150 or more: A personalized inscription by author John Grisham inside your choice of five books: The Summons, The Rainmaker, The Broker, The Runaway Jury, or The Chamber.
What is the Thomas Jefferson Center?
"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." In the earliest days of America's founding, the First Amendment's protection for free expression carried the promise of a new republic -- that no man would be punished for the beliefs he held or the comments he shared. Centuries later, these protections have remained the cornerstone of free society in the modern world.
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression is a non-profit advocacy and litigation organization operating to defend the protections of the First Amendment. We achieve this goal through three mechanisms: advocacy, litigation, and education. All three of these activities are crucial to the Center's goal of defending free expression in all its forms.
Other Ways You Can Help
Share this page! Any assistance you can provide in helping us achieve our goal is greatly appreciate. However, we also understand that financial assistance is not possible for everyone. To that end, we simply ask that you spread the word of our campaign to your friends and family -- and perhaps reflect on the fact that without the First Amendment, you wouldn't be able to do just that!
Check out our existing website: www.tjcenter.org
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tjcenterorg
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thomas-Jefferson...
Team on This Campaign:
Thomas Jefferson Center