Robert Shetterly will speak at the Jesup Memorial Library on Feb. 11. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBERT SHETTERLY

Shetterly to talk about civil rights



BAR HARBOR — A talk by Artist Robert Shetterly entitled “How Invisible People Become Visible: The Struggle for Civil Rights in the U.S.” originally scheduled to take place at the Jesup Memorial Library on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m., has been postponed till Saturday, Feb. 18.

Shetterly will tell the stories of important figures in the Civil Rights Movement whom most people know nothing about, the importance of their actions and how they have become the necessary models for creating a just society today.

Shetterly was born in 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated in 1969 from Harvard College with a degree in English literature. At Harvard, he took some courses in drawing that changed the direction of his creative life from the written word to the image. Also, during this time, he was active in civil rights and in the anti-Vietnam War movement. After moving to Maine in 1970, he taught himself drawing, printmaking and painting. For 12 years, he did the editorial page drawings for The Maine Times newspaper and illustrated National Audubon’s children’s newspaper Audubon Adventures and approximately 30 books.

Robert Shetterly stands with his “Americans Who Tell the Truth” portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.
ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

For more than 10 years, he has been painting the series of portraits “Americans Who Tell the Truth.” The exhibit has been traveling around the country since 2003. 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. To date, the exhibits have visited 26 states. In 2005, Dutton published a book of the portraits by the same name. In 2006, the book won the top award of the International Reading Association for intermediate nonfiction. The portraits have given Shetterly an opportunity to speak with children and adults all over the country about the necessity of dissent in a democracy, the obligations of citizenship, sustainability, U.S. history and how democracy cannot function if politicians don’t tell the truth, if the media don’t report it, and if the people don’t demand it.

Shetterly has engaged in a wide variety of political and humanitarian work with many of the people whose portraits he has painted.

Since 1990, he has been the president of the Union of Maine Visual Artists and a producer of the union’s Maine Masters Project, an ongoing series of video documentaries about Maine artists.

Three of Shetterly’s pieces will be on display at the Jesup Memorial Library during the month of January. Contact the Jesup at 288-4245 or [email protected].

Updated on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at 8:07 a.m.

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