Our Mission

Led by immigration and human rights attorneys, Artistic Freedom Initiative (AFI) facilitates pro bono immigration representation and resettlement assistance for international artists at risk.

Dedicated to safeguarding the right to artistic freedom, AFI was founded on the notion that artists are uniquely situated to positively and powerfully effect change, provided their voices can be heard. As artists are increasingly censored, imprisoned, restricted from moving freely across borders, tortured, or even killed, it is more critical than ever that we safeguard the right to artistic freedom and zealously champion the courageous artists who exercise it. 

To this end, AFI directly assists artists who have experienced persecution, censorship, or other restrictions on their freedom of expression, and supports artists who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing progressive social change and fundamental human rights 

We work with immigrant artists to champion art produced in exile, advance creative cultural exchange, improve conditions for artists in their home countries, and safeguard their ability to express themselves creatively through the arts. 


Since our inception in 2017, Artistic Freedom Initiative has:

And more…

  • AFI has successfully filed merit-based O and EB-1 visas, performance-based P visas, applications for permanent residence and naturalization, and petitions for asylum. Additionally, our legal partners have obtained work authorizations for every artist supported by our Resettlement Assistance program.
  • Since inception, our events have served to promote the works of over 100 AFI artists to an estimated 50k+ people around the world.
  • We have published a definitive guide to the history, ethics, and best practices of artist safety hosting in New York City and elsewhere.
  • AFI has been invited to share expertise on artistic freedom at international human rights and arts conferences worldwide, including the World Music Expo in Finland, the International Safe Havens Conference in South Africa and Sweden, and the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) Conference in Norway.