BROOKSVILLE — American historian, playwright and social activist Howard Zinn has suggested that it is the job of artists “to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare to say things that no one else will say.”
Brooksville artist Robert Shetterly strives to do just that with his portrait series “Americans Who Tell the Truth.” Selected paintings from the series will be exhibited at the Reversing Falls Sanctuary in Brooksville from Nov. 5 through Dec. 1. An opening reception will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5, at which Shetterly will talk about the series and respond to questions from the audience.
The portraits spark conversation about political ethics, the necessity of courageous citizenship, the maintenance of democracy and the obligation of artists in society.
The first portrait in the series was painted in January 2002 as a means for Shetterly to protest how the United States was being propagandized into the war against Iraq. The series now numbers more than 220 portraits. They portray Americans of the past and present who have persistently struggled for social, economic and environmental justice.
Selected works from the series have traveled to schools, colleges, churches and museums all over the nation and have been exhibited in over 30 states. Some of the portraits currently are on view at colleges in New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
“Americans Who Tell the Truth,” collaborating with the Maine Association for Middle Level Education launched a statewide educational project — the Samantha Smith Challenge — here in Maine three years ago. The program encourages middle school students to become involved in crucial issues of their lives. Learn more at www.americanswhotellthetruth.org.
The Reversing Falls Sanctuary is located at 818 Bagaduce Road in Brooksville.