About Compassion Arts Festival

“Animals are our teachers and healers. In their innocence and wisdom, in their connection to the earth and its most ancient rhythms, they offer us a way back to a home that they have never left.”
(Susan Chernak McElroy from “Animals as Teachers and Healers” )

Blue Sky

Blue Sky by Cyrus Mejia
CAF 2020 Artist for Ahimsa

Compassion Arts Festival is an annual event of Compassion Arts, a grassroots collective and peaceful initiative for holistic nonviolence, now in its sixth year. The festival was created as a platform for celebrating animals and the earth we share, as well as to reflect honestly and deeply on the duality of our relationship with other animals (non-human and human) and nature, for the purpose of exploring our connection with all life and expanding our circle of compassion.

It is the mission of Compassion Arts Festival to serve as an instrument of love for all beings, through the bridge of creativity, and to awaken an awareness that animals are here with us, not for us.

The Compassion Arts Festival offers a wide range of programs such as exhibits, music, performing arts, poetry, film screenings, creative workshops, speakers, and partnered projects with animal sanctuaries, humane education events and highlighting the work of other organizations.

Some of our past presentations have included Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary, Martin Rowe of Lantern Books, photographer Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals Media and The Unbound Project, Jane O’Hara of the Beasts of Burden exhibit, Isa Leshko of Allowed to Grow Old, Michael Harren of The Animal Show, Donald Vincent (Mr. Hip) of Vegan Paradise, Gretchen Primack of Kind, Culture & Animals Foundation, Allison Argo and The Last Pig film, Victoria Moran and A Prayer for Compassion film, The Rattle & the Thunder performance lab, TMI Project True Storytelling workshop, True Story Playback Theater, 49 Million Turkeys Community Art Project, musical artist Joy Askew and many others.

Compassion Arts Festival is free and does not accept donations or require membership. All of our programs are online this year, due to the current pandemic. Presentations shared on this website are mostly in the form of videos, writings, slide shows and resource listings, but there are also a few workshops on scheduled dates, including a virtual sanctuary tour, and guest roundtables during November 15th – 25th that require advance sign up. For a list of programs please see the Welcome page.

CAF 2020 is made possible by the support of kindred community, the help of volunteers, and the work of our wonderful festival presenters and participants who contribute their programs and artistry each year.

“The bud stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing”
(from Saint Francis and The Sow by Galway Kinnell)

Compassion Arts Festival 2020: A Summary and Selection of Works and Song

Tulip Tree

Tulip Tree