International Arts Forum

What is the International Arts Forum (IAF)?

The IAF gathers artists, art critics, scholars, and participants for an annual conference that examines the relationship between art and the human condition. The conference includes lectures by expert speakers, small group discussions, musical performances, art exhibits and presentations by the participating artists related to an annual theme.

Why is the IAF important?

The World Youth Alliance affirms the transformative power of art, which encourages the individual to move beyond oneself, to connect with a greater community, and to contribute to society and culture. Art provides a window into the complexity, integrity, and beauty of human nature and the natural world. Art is an expression of human dignity and is an important part of the individual’s desire for self-expression in the world. Artists play a crucial role in understanding human life. In art and its transcendent journey, we experience the depth of our human freedom.

What can you learn from the IAF?

The IAF simultaneously exhibits the diverse work of international artists from around the globe and also examines philosophical questions about art’s relationship to the human condition. Artwork selected for exhibition at this event has ranged from sculpture, to painting, to jewelry-making, to coffee bean mosaics. Participants not only have the opportunity to view this artwork, but to hear the artist’s share their story about what shaped their work.

Guest lectures and small group discussions have encouraged past participants to examine questions including:

  • What is the relationship between art and the human person?
  • What is the relationship between art and beauty?
  • How can art be a gift of self and how is art transcendent and free?
  • What vital aspect of being human does art communicate to us?

Following the success of the International Arts Forum held for three years in New York City, the World Youth Alliance will hold the first European Arts Forum (EAF). The EAF will gather artists, art critics, scholars, European decision-makers and participants from across Europe for a conference that examines the relationship between art and the human condition.

European Arts Forum will take place from the 28th of November to the 3rd of December 2015 in Brussels. The EAF will simultaneously exhibit the diverse work of young artists from across Europe and examine the relationship between art and beauty.

To know more about this event, please click here.

IAF Through the Years:

IAF 2014

The International Arts Forum partnered with World Youth Alliance North America to present a three-day conference entitled, “Mad Men, Modern FamilyExamining the Role of Men in Social Development“. Students and young professionals in the performing and visual arts were invited to apply for an opportunity to showcase work relating to the following themes:

  • The depth of authentic human relationships
  • The importance of connection between persons
  • The role of family and community in mitigating alienation and loneliness
  • Factors which shape our sense of self and society

Arts professionals, were joined by sociology and religious studies who presented ideas and research affirming the role of men and the importance of the family. Artists were encouraged to join this dialogue to share their unique perspective and role in shaping cultural norms.

IAF 2013: Art and Beauty
Outcome document: Declaration on Art and Beauty
Speaker Profiles  |  Photos  |  Article

The topic of WYA’s 2013 International Arts Forum was Art and Beauty; What is beauty? What is the role of beauty in art? Should art always be beautiful? 11 artists presented their work at this international event, representing countries including Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Canada, Philippines, and the United States. These artists collaborated to write a statement on the relationship between art and beauty.

To view photos from the event, click here.

WYA thanks James Panero, Dino Marcantonio, and Wayne Adams, guest speakers at the 2013 International Arts Forum.


IAF 2012: Art and the Human Person
Outcome document: Declaration on Art and the Human Person
Speaker Profiles  |  Video  |  Photos  |  Article