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Art and the Struggle for Social Justice: Notre Dame of Maryland Hosts Artist and Activist Robert Shetterly on April 16th

April 9, 2012

Notre Dame of Maryland University is welcoming Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and internationally renowned painter, illustrator and activist Robert Shetterly for a discussion on politics, truth telling and the use of art to effect social change.

The event, which is free and open to the public, takes place on Monday, April 16, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Notre Dame's Knott Auditorium. For additional information call Theresa Peddicord at 410-532-5524 or tpeddicord@ndm.edu.

Since 2002, Shetterly has been creating a series of paintings called “Americans Who Tell the Truth.” The project features more than 175 Americans ranging from historical icons such as Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to contemporary figures like Bill Moyers, Michael Pollan and Alice Waters. The portraits, which portray individuals who have struggled for social, economic, and environmental justice throughout our history, communicate the necessity of committed, courageous citizenship to maintain democracy and are meant to provide role models. A collection of the first 50 portraits was published as an award winning book in 2005."

“One lesson that can be learned from all of these Americans is that the greatness of our country frequently depends not on the letter of the law, but the insistence of a single person that we adhere to the spirit of the law,” said Shetterly in an artist’s statement about the series. Originally intended as fifty portraits, the collection continues to grow. Shetterly explained: “The more I've learned about American history — past and present — the more people I've discovered whom I want to honor in this way.”

In his role as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Scholar, Shetterly will spend the week of April 16-20 on the Notre Dame campus, attending classes, interacting with students, and participating in an expert panel discussion on mountaintop removal on April 18th.

Robert Shetterly
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Robert Shetterly graduated from Harvard College in 1969 with a degree in English Literature. Moving to Maine in 1970, he taught himself drawing, printmaking and illustration. For twelve years he created editorial page drawings for the Maine Times newspaper and illustrated National Audubon's children's newspaper Audubon Adventures, as well as approximately 30 books.

Today, Shetterly’s works are featured in collections all over the U.S. and Europe. A collection of his drawings & etchings, “Speaking Fire at Stones”, was published in 1993. He is well known for his series of 70 painted etchings based on William Blake's Proverbs of Hell, and for another series of 50 painted etchings reflecting on the metaphor of the Annunciation. His painting tends toward the narrative and the surreal, and, until embarking on the Americans series, he not been a portrait painter. More information can be found online at www.americanswhotellthetruth.org

Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Program
The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program is dedicated to encouraging the flow of ideas between the academic and non-academic sectors of society, by bringing thoughtful and successful practitioners to colleges for a week of classes and informal discussions with students and faculty. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has developed and conducted programs in higher education since 1945. More than 200 colleges have participated in the Visiting Fellows program since 1973. For more information, visit http://www.cic.edu/projects_services/visitingfellows.asp

Notre Dame of Maryland University
Notre Dame of Maryland University, founded as a Catholic liberal arts college in 1895 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, educates nearly 3,000 women and men enrolled in degree and certificate programs at its main campus in north Baltimore and at satellite centers in Maryland. The University encompasses a distinguished Women’s College, the first Catholic institution of its kind in America; a College of Adult Undergraduate Studies; a College of Graduate Studies, and an English language Institute, and includes Schools of Arts and Sciences, Education, Nursing and Pharmacy. Rich in tradition, Notre Dame provides students with opportunities in research, study abroad and service to the global community. Visit www.ndm.edu.