2018 ATLAS  T3  International  Conference 

Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania 

June 3-7, 2018

Prof. Lily Yeh


Lily Yeh is an internationally celebrated artist whose work has taken her to communities throughout the world. As founder and executive director of the Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia from 1968 to 2004, she helped create a national model in creative place-making and community building through the arts. In 2002, Yeh pursued her work internationally, founding Barefoot Artists, Inc., to bring the transformative power of art to impoverished communities around the globe through participatory, multifaceted projects that foster community empowerment, improve the physical environment, promote economic development and preserve indigenous art and culture. In addition to the United States, she has carried out projects in multiple countries including Kenya, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Rwanda, China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Syria, Republic of Georgia, Haiti, and Palestine. (www.barefootartists.org) 

In 2004 she launched a decade long Rwanda Healing Project which aimed to address the lingering grief of the 1994 genocide. As part of this project, she transformed a rough mass grave into a beautiful memorial park in Rugerero. It became the official  genocide memorial for the region. In addition, she launched multiple programs in healing, education, and job opportunities to transform the survivors and the Twa villages in Rugerero from destitution and grief into vibrant and joyful self-sustaining communities. Using art as a medium for social change, Yeh has positively influenced many impoverished communities worldwide.

“When I see brokenness, poverty, and crime in inner cities, I also see the enormous potential and readiness for transformation and rebirth. We are creating an art form that comes from the heart that reflects the pain and sorrow of people’s lives. It also expresses joy, beauty, and love. This process lays the foundation of building a genuine community in which people are reconnected with their families, sustained by meaningful work, nurtured by the care of each other and will together raise and educate their children. Then we witness social change in action.”        - Lily Yeh