Press Release "Artists in Exile" is sponsored by Common Humanity (, a New York based organization which seeks to build more understanding and respect for the Arab and Muslim worlds. Common Humanity also seeks to raise awareness of the plight of over 4 million Iraqi refugees and displaced person within Iraq. This exhibit of 19 paintings is based upon a show held earlier this spring in Damascus, organized by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees ( Common Humanity is deeply grateful to the UNHC for their help in organizing this exhibit. Mel Lehman, Director of Common Humanity, traveled to Damascus to purchase the paintings from the artists and all proceeds raised will be returned to the refugees. Mr. Lehman said "Visitors to this exhibit will get a rare chance to see something of the heart and soul of several of the 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria who have been largely forgotten by us. This exhibition presents a unique opportunity to see Middle Eastern artists who were influenced both by their study of modern Western art in school and also by the U.S. invasion of their homeland." Second Presbyterian Church ( is a historic New York City congregation, founded 20 years before the U.S. revolution. The congregation is active in the arts, civil rights, peacemaking, and social justice issues as part of its ministry. The Church also owns and operates the Alexander Robertson School, the oldest co-educational elementary school in New York.