Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)

Robert Shetterly, “Americans Who Tell the Truth” painter visits Gould

Robert Shetterly, the painter of the acclaimed and provocative portrait series Americans Who Tell the Truth paid a visit to Gould this week. Robert joined classes to examine the significance of his subjects, and explore his process with art students.
Robert began the portrait series twenty years ago following 9/11 with the goal of painting 50 subjects. 260 portraits later, Robert is still discovering truth-tellers to immortalize and the list of future subjects is long. He addressed Gould faculty to talk about why he began painting these American portraits.

“It began as a protest in defiance of the Iraq War...I had to respond for my own self-respect and also to feel less alienated from this country I had to show clearly to myself and other people where I stood,” he explained. “I could only do that in the company of people that I thought had fought in this country to make our ideals real for everybody.”

In the afternoon, the whole school screened the film Truth Tellers, a documentary about his project, followed by a rich discussion about citizenship, activism, and the power of youth. Robert encouraged students not to overlook that power and fielded questions on topics ranging from where he draws inspiration and how he chooses his subjects to how to respond to rugged individualism.

Robert praised the student audience for their thoughtful and substantive questions.

“Having the ability to go out to schools and communities and present these people as models of citizenship and tell this history has become really important to me. It makes it all worthwhile. I love doing it. I love telling these stories. I never get tired of it.”
Private High School for Boys and Girls | Grades 9-12, Postgraduate and Winter Term for Grades 7-8 | Boarding School in the Mountains of Maine

Gould Academy guides students to be creative, courageous and resilient and to lead lives of fulfillment and purpose.