w h o t e l l t h e
Models of Courageous Citizenship
What Is This Project All About?
A group of local residents is bringing Robert Shetterly’s inspiring project, Americans Who Tell the Truth, Models of Courageous Citizenship, to Ipswich in July 2019. The work is a collection of painted portraits and narratives that highlight the numerous contributions of ordinary and well-known citizens alike, who have affected change in the social, economic and environmental landscape of America over the past 200 years. The portraits and narratives provide a historical framework for understanding the principles of democracy and the actions of individuals necessary to achieve its goals.
The Ipswich project will serve as the foundation for a collaborative effort within the community. Individuals, businesses and cultural organizations are encouraged to create discussion and programs around the ideals of democracy and the role of effective citizens in ensuring informed decision-making.
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Robert Shetterly, a Maine based artist, began this project in 2002 and now has over 230 portraits and accompanying narratives of people who have spoken out to correct social and economic practices inconsistent with democratic principles. Each portrait presents a unique story of individual determination to right an injustice, preserve civil liberties, or to protect the environment, with the intent to inspire continuing citizen participation in the advancement of the American experience.
Any single portrait can be controversial depending on the viewer’s perspective, but collectively the exhibit demonstrates the historical importance of a firm commitment to the bedrock principles of America. More importantly, the exhibit is a catalyst to stimulate future efforts by individuals to meet the ever-changing needs of the country, states and local communities.
The exhibition is intended to bring awareness to deeds, both large and small, which in the past changed the country for the better, with the hope that similar acts and words of engaged citizens will continue to move America forward in the best traditions of democracy.
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The Ipswich exhibit will present a non-partisan representative sample of 25 to 30 portraits selected by community groups and sponsors. The portraits will be displayed at three locations in Ipswich, including Zumi's Espresso, the Ipswich Museum and True North Ale Brewery, throughout the month of July 2019. These locations were chosen to provide a walkable path for visitors and residents to view the work at their leisure. Additional locations will be announced for programming, as it's expected that groups and cultural organizations will develop cirriculum that further the discussion of democratic ideals and encourage community involvement through lectures, music, and performances.
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