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Blue Hill Public Library in Blue Hill Maine

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Artist Talk: Americans Who Tell the Truth by Rob Shetterly

Event Type: Library-sponsored Adult Event
Date: 3/17/2017
Start Time: 7:00 PM
End Time: 8:30 PM
 Local artist Robert Shetterly will give talk about his new portraits on display in the library's Britton Gallery and Howard Room, part of the Americans Who Tell the Truth project. Rob will discuss who these new portraits are, why he painted them, whom he will be painting next and the educational work he are doing. He will also discuss the effort to re-story America and how to engage current issues.

Shetterly's portraits will be on exhibit through the month of March. The portraits have all been done in the last year or so and include civil rights activist Bayard Rustin; the woman who climbed the flagpole at the state capitol in South Carolina to take down the Confederate flag, Bree Newsome; Indigenous rights activist Sherri Mitchell; and founder of the Bread and Puppet Theater, Peter Schumann.

According to Shetterly, the Americans Who Tell the Truth project sprang out of his reactions to 9/11 and the “manipulative use of the attack as a basis for the Iraq war.” “I began painting this series of portraits --- finding great Americans who spoke the truth and combining their images with their words --- as a way to channel my anger and grief. In the process my respect and love for these people and their courage helped to transform that anger into hope and pride and allowed me to draw strength from this community of truth tellers, finding in them the courage, honesty, tolerance, generosity, wisdom and compassion that have made our country strong."

His paintings from the series have been traveling around the country since 2003, and they now number over 220. Venues have included everything from university museums and grade school libraries to sandwich shops, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City, and the Superior Court in San Francisco.

The portraits have also become the basis of the state-wide educational initiative offered by the Maine Association for Middle Level Education, the Samantha Smith Challenge. It is named for a little girl from Maine who initiated a peace making venture to build bridges between the American and Russian peoples and was later killed in a plane crash.
   Click here for directions
Location: Howard Room
Contact: Hannah Cyrus
Contact Number: 374-5515
Presenter: Rob Shetterly