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Renowned artist and activist Robert Shetterly will conduct classes at Transylvania Jan. 28-Feb. 1, give public lecture Jan. 30

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Renowned artist and activist Robert Shetterly, a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow with the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), will conduct classes and deliver a public lecture during an intensive week-long visit to Transylvania University, January 28-February 1. Shetterly’s lecture, “Truth, Courage, and the Spirit of Democracy,” is on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in Coleman Recital Hall in the Mitchell Fine Arts Center. It is free and open to the public.

Shetterly taught himself drawing, printmaking and painting after attending Harvard University. For 12 years he illustrated the editorial page drawings for the Maine Times, the National Audubon Society’s children’s newspaper Audubon Adventures and more than 30 books. Now, his paintings and prints are in collections all over the U.S. and Europe.

His painting tended toward the narrative and the surreal until 2002 when he began painting the series of portraits, numbering now over 120, called “Americans Who Tell the Truth.” The show has been exhibited in venues across more than 20 states, including university museums, grade school libraries, sandwich shops and the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. A book of portraits by the same name was published in 2005 and in 2006 won the top award of the International Reading Association for Intermediate Non-fiction. The portraits have given Shetterly an opportunity to speak with children and adults all over this country about sustainability, U.S. history, the necessity of dissent in a democracy and the obligations of citizenship.

In 2007, he worked in a village of survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Much of his current work focuses on honoring and working with the activists trying to bring an end to the practice of mountaintop removal by coal companies in Appalachia. Since 1990, he has been president of the Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA) and producer of UMVA’s Maine Masters Project, an on-going series of video documentaries about Maine artists. The “Americans Who Tell the Truth” portraits and Shetterly’s essays about his work can be seen at

The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program, which is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges in Washington, D.C., brings prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders and other professionals to campuses across the U.S. for a week-long residential program of classes, seminars, workshops, lectures and informal discussions. For 35 years, the Visiting Fellows have introduced students and faculty members at liberal arts colleges to a wide range of perspectives on life, society, community and achievement. The Visiting Fellows program is available to all four-year colleges and universities. For more information, visit CIC’s website at