Since 2014, World Citizen Artists has attracted artists, musicians and fans globally from a diverse range of backgrounds. Our community recognises that despite our differences, we all share the same world. Therefore, the World Citizen Artists team and our members work actively to unite those who believe that through creativity we can inspire positive change in our society.
Creating the Community
On the 20th of June 2014 (World Refugee Day), World Citizen Artists created its website and Facebook page to raise awareness through creativity. Artists contributed their ‘Voices’ to different issues inspired by the United Nations’ World Days.
On September 21st, 2014 (the International Day of Peace), World Citizen Artists launched its first worldwide competition entitled - ‘COMPETE FOR PEACE - NOT WAR’, in partnership with the Playing For Change Foundation, Belgravia Gallery and Issuu. The competition went on to attract over 3,000 applicants.
‘COMPETE FOR PEACE - NOT WAR’ was a key opportunity for both emerging and established artists and our award recipients and finalists were given a free premium membership from Issuu. The visual arts award recipient was also given the opportunity to exhibit their work in the prestigious Belgravia Gallery, whilst the musical award recipient had their name featured on the website and social media channels of the renowned Playing for Change Foundation.
Yosvany Terry, the Cuban saxophonist/percussionist/composer and 2015 Grammy Nominee joined the World Citizen Artists jury for this competition. The results of the competition were presented by Nomfusi, the South African celebrity singer and actress who portrayed the character of Miriam Makeba in the Golden Globe-winning film about Mandela - Long Walk To Freedom.
Sponsored by Bataclan Cafe and supported by the Playing for Change Foundation and RFI radio, World Citizen Artists celebrated its first anniversary with an event held on World Music Day (the 21st of June) in 2015. The WCA fans and partners around the world who were unable to attend the event sent their virtual support through various videos.
Making an Impact
In October 2015, World Citizen Artists launched its Awards Channel and started to grant non-competitive awards. The German nonprofit organisation Be Japy and the Sudanese hip hop celebrity Emmanuel Jal were the first to be awarded. The channel went on to feature the previous ‘COMPETE FOR PEACE - NOT WAR’ award recipients and continues to award celebrities and creative humanitarian projects around the world, selected by WCA and our fans. Click here to learn more about our Awards Channel.
On our second Anniversary, World Citizen Artists launched its next worldwide Awards initiative: ‘ONE FOR ALL’ on the theme ‘Hope’, and in partnership with the NGOs GUA Africa and Safe Passage, as well as the prominent musicians Emmanuel Jal and Marta Gomez.
Gua Africa works to promote education in Africa through sponsoring refugees academically, providing school resources and helping with teachers' salaries. Safe Passage works in Guatemala with the Garbage dump community to provide residents with education and work opportunities. As a result of our partnership, ‘ONE FOR ALL’ participants helped to sponsor:
235 weeks worth of bus travel to University for Gua Africa students.
254 full days of work on garbage dump for those Safe Passage is helping in Guatemala.
In 2017, World Citizen Artists awarded both the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura and Landfill Harmonic as part of our Awards Channel. A Paraguayan group composed of children playing instruments made entirely from garbage, The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura was recognised for its impressive musical achievements. The Recycled Orchestra is now touring the world, alongside famous bands such as Megadeth. Landfill Harmonic, a movie made to document and support the Recycled Orchestra, was awarded for its important work in raising worldwide awareness for the cause.
In September 2017, WCA celebrated its third anniversary and launched its third worldwide World Citizen Artists Awards initiative, again entitled - ‘COMPETE FOR PEACE - NOT WAR’, this time calling for works which promoted ‘Peace'. For this initiative, we worked with the Bob Marley Foundation, The Gandhi Foundation, the band Fat Freddy’s Drop and photography celebrities Tim Page and Lisa Kristine. The World Citizen Artists partners Nomfusi, Belgravia Gallery, Emmanuel Jal and Playing for Change also took part. The award recipients were announced at the Bob Marley Birthday Celebration on February 6th, 2018.
Our Changing World
In 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided to launch our fourth worldwide World Citizen Artists Awards initiative entitled ‘Solidarity For All’. Watching the devastating impacts of Covid-19 in our communities, and globally, we felt artists and musicians could come together to inspire people once more. This message became even more important as other worldwide issues began to loom including protests, climate change, and economic difficulties resulting from lockdowns.
Our partners for this initiative include the Belgravia Gallery, the Gandhi Foundation, PeaceDay365, the Bristol Students Union, Emmanuel Jal, Marta Gomez, and the mental health charity - This Is My Brave. The competition is set to close on the 26th of June.