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Our Four Initiatives

The International Free Expression Project leverages its own initiatives and those of allied organizations to encourage people to express themselves freely and defend the right of others to do so. It seeks a world in which all people can be who they are, say what they want, and be heard.

IFEP began in 2016 after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette abandoned this building and scrapped its massive presses. IFEP purchased 90 tons of machinery and artifacts to have them reimagined by artists and returned to a “Marketplace of Ideas” in the pressroom, which you can see through the open windows in this exhibition. Meanwhile, attacks on free expression were escalating around the world.

The International Free Expression Project seeks a world in which all people can be who they are, say what they want, and be heard.

From this grew IFEP’s four initiatives:

1) To erect the world’s first iconic work of public art symbolizing a free press and free expression, one that could be programmed from anywhere to appear as almost anything — from works of art to the stories of people being persecuted for speaking their minds.

2) To support artists, especially those at risk, by commissioning and exhibiting their work.

A darkened, black and white image of the interior of the old Pressroom at 35 Blvd of Allies in Pittsburgh
Photo by Thom Goertel
A photo of an abstract painting of newspapers going through a printing press, colored pink, lime green and grey.
Painting by Jamie Earnest

3) To build a home for free expression, a “Marketplace of Ideas,” in the vast abandoned pressroom of this building. The Marketplace would be full of art, performance, discussion, educational activity, food and beverage — an explosion of expression. It would be ever-changing, with food stalls, art installations — everything — coming and going.

A conceptual rendering of a cafe inside the Marketplace of Ideas. People are working, playing with instruments and 3D printing tools, and looking at artwork. The room is well-lit from floor-to-ceiling windows out to the street.
A conceptual rendering of the Marketplace of Ideas by Max Winters and Christopher Ruane
Surrounded by mechanical artifacts lit up with lights, on a screen is projected an image of the last day the printing presses were in use.
Photo by Christopher Ruane of a 2018 pressroom exhibit of projections, lights and artifacts.

4) To invent high-tech tools — such as interactive displays, e-games and robots — that would immerse visitors in matters of free expression. The first one being developed with the Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab is to program the lab’s interactive EarthTime machine to show attacks on free expression from the global to individual level.

We've already made enormous progress on all four initiatives, which you can read about on our What We Do page. To see what we're working on right now, check out our Exhibitions page, and of course, keep up with us on all our social media accounts linked down in the footer below.

If you'd like to support IFEP's work on these initiatives, head over to our Donate page. Any amount that you can give helps our work to protect your freedom of expression as well as others' around the world.


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