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Rob Shetterly to Unveil New Portrait of Visionary Educator Zoe Weil

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On Saturday, October 27 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm at the Blue Hill Library, artist Robert Shetterly will unveil a new portrait in his Americans Who Tell The Truth series, of Surry-based education visionary and president of the Institute for Humane Education, Zoe Weil. The event is free and open to the public. Weil will speak about education in the U.S. and the need to embrace a larger purpose for schooling and Shetterly will discuss a number of educational changemakers whose portraits he has painted who are working to transform education in innovative ways.

Weil is a well-known author and spokesperson for education change who envisions a redefinition of the very purpose of education. Like all the portraits in his series, a quote of the portrait’s subject is etched into the painting. Weil’s quote reads: “Education is the root system underlying all other systems. Given the grave and potentially catastrophic problems we face, it is critical that we provide young people with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to address our pressing challenges in order to transform unsustainable and unjust systems into ones that are humane, healthy, and peaceful.”

Weil says of the portrait, “This is the greatest honor I’ve ever received, and one that I hope to live up to. Rob’s inclusion of me in the series will help bring attention to the idea that education is the root of systemic change. Rob’s whole portrait series itself serves as a model for humane education.”

Weil co-founded the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) in 1996. Located on 28 acres on Patten Bay in Surry, it houses space for workshops and a summer residency, as well as the organization’s office, her residence, and a guest house for students. IHE is a non-profit educational organization that offers accredited graduate degree programs, online courses, workshops, summer institutes and an award-winning online resource center. Humane education approaches human rights, environmental preservation and animal protection as interconnected global issues. Through IHE programs, people gain the knowledge, tools, and motivation to become conscientious choicemakers and engaged changemakers for a healthy, peaceful, and sustainable world for all people, all species and the planet.

Brooksville artist Robert Shetterly has been painting the Americans Who Tell the Truth portrait series since 2001. The paintings have been traveling since 2003 and are being used in classrooms around the country to provide students with the opportunity to better understand their heritage, embrace their roles as citizens in a democracy, and, ultimately, inspire their futures. The portrait subjects are people Shetterly believes are exemplary American citizens, living and deceased, and include such Americans as Abraham Lincoln, Harriett Tubman, Rachel Carson, Terry Tempest Williams, and Martin Luther King Jr. all of whom have inspired courage to act for the common good.