Robert Shetterly Portraits at ArtRage Gallery

Staff reports 09/14/10More articles
“What’s wrong with our children? Adults telling children to be honest while lying and cheating. Adults telling children to not be violent while marketing and glorifying violence… I believe that adult hypocrisy is the biggest problem children face in America.” - Marian Wright Edelman, childrens' advocate. Painting by Robert Shetterly, courtesy of ArtRage Gallery.

"AMERICANS WHO TELL THE TRUTH: The paintings of Robert Shetterly" in on view through October 23, 2010 at ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave.
HOURS: W, Th, F 2-7pm & Sat. 12-4 p.m.

This collection of portraits is intended to remind people of the dignity, courage and importance of some of America’s "truth tellers." Each portrait includes a quotation from the subject and is accompanied by a biography. ArtRage chose 28 portraits from the 150 in the artist’s current collection for this show.

Robert Shetterly began this portrait project in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, beginning with his portrait of Walt Whitman. The current exhibition at ArtRage Gallery had its opening reception last Saturday, 9/11, featuring a talk by Shetterly who traveled to Syracuse from his home in Maine. With a background in etching, Shetterly scratches the words of his subject into the surface of the paint after it's dried.

Said gallery director Rose Viviano,"We intend for this exhibit to encourage a dialogue that will help each of us figure out which truths we value most as citizens in a threatened democracy."

Portraits in this exhibition include Molly Ivins, Marion Wright Edelman, Winona La Duke, Sue Coe, Pat Humphries, Sandy O, Emma Goldman, Ida B. Wells, Helen Keller, Ann Wright, Murphy Davis, Joanna Macy, Kathy Kelly, Lateefah Simon, Emma Tenayuca, Howard Zinn, Mark Twain, Noam Chomsky, Pete Seeger, Dr. Paul Farmer, Roy Bourgeois, Muhammad Ali, Harry Hay, James Bell, Edward Said, Eugene Debs, LaAlan Jones and David Korten. Additionally, ArtRage has available a number of Shetterly's potraits as posters and a wide selection as note cards.

The subject of the portrait here is Marian Wright Edelman, childrens' advocate, born in 1939. The youngest of five children, she grew up in Bennettsville, South Carolina, where her father was a Baptist minister. In 1960, she graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta; three years later she had a law degree from Yale. The first Black woman to be admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson.

In 1968, Edelman moved to Washington, D.C. to serve as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign organized by Martin Luther King, Jr. That year she married Peter Edelman, a former assistant to Robert F. Kennedy, whom she had met during her years in Mississippi. She founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and parent body of the Children’s Defense Fund, which she established in 1973. With the CDF, Mrs. Edelman worked to persuade Congress to overhaul foster care, support adoption, improve child-care and protect children who are handicapped, homeless, abused or neglected. As she expresses it, “If you don’t like the way the world is, you have an obligation to change it. Just do it one step at a time.”

Edelman has received the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, a MacArthur Foundation prize Fellowship, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2000) and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings. She is the author of seven books, including “Families in Peril: An agenda for Social Change,” “The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours,” and “I’m Your Child, God: Prayers for Our Children.” She holds 65 honorary degrees, and continues to advocate youth pregnancy prevention, child-care funding, prenatal care, greater parental responsibility in teaching values and curtailing children’s exposure to the barrage of violent images transmitted by mass media.

For more information call 218-5711 or check online at

TAGS: ArtRage Gallery, artists' responses to 9/11, Robert Shetterly, portraiture
EDITION: The Eagle

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