Gould Celebrates MLK Day With Artist Robert Shetterly and Members of Maine-Wabanaki REACH

January 14, 2014
Robert Shetterly

Robert Shetterly (americanswhotellthetruth.org)


Maine artist Robert Shetterly, known for his portrait series Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT), will join Esther Attean and Arla Patch of Maine-Wabanaki REACH for a special program to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 20 at Gould Academy.


“Each year we observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a community by exploring issues of human rights and dignity in our nation and around the world,” said Associate Head of School Pat Donovan. “We are honored to have Robert and Esther and Arla of Maine-Wabanaki Reach join us this year. Their work embodies the spirit of this year’s theme of “Speaking the Truth and Taking Action.”


Using a combination of art and history, Shetterly’s portraits are of citizens who engage issues of social, environmental and economic fairness and inspire and empower action for the common good. The series includes portraits of Martin Luther King Jr, Susan B. Anthony, and Eleanor Roosevelt among many others.


"Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it."

“Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.”


An exhibit of 20 portraits from his collection is currently on display in Gould’s Owen Art Gallery and open to the public from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. A reception with the artist will be held Monday, January 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.


Esther Attean

Esther Attean (mainewabanakireach.org)

Included in the series is Esther Attean, co-director of Maine-Wabanaki REACH who was recently added to Shetterly’s prestigious collection, along with her colleague and friend, Denise Altvater, the organization’s youth outreach and education coordinator. Their portraits were unveiled this past December at the Maine State Capital building in Augusta.


Attean is a Passamaquoddy Tribal citizen and co-director of Maine Wabanaki REACH (Reconciliation, Engagement, Advocacy, Change, and Healing). She and Altvater, also Passamaquoddy, were essential in the creation of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission process.


The Commission, which was officially mandated by the five Wabanaki Chiefs and Maine Governor Paul LePage in June 2012, represents a historic agreement to uncover and acknowledge the truth of what happened to Wabanaki children and families in the Maine child welfare system, create opportunities to heal and learn from the truth, and collaborate to improve the child welfare system for Wabanaki children and families.


Throughout the day, Attean, Maine Wabanaki REACH Community Engagement Coordinator Arla Patch, and Shetterly will address the Gould community, exploring the theme of “Speaking the Truth and Taking Action” from their perspectives. Breakout sessions, music and activities will follow throughout the day.

Arla Patch (mainewabanakireach.org)

Arla Patch (mainewabanakireach.org)


Leading up to the MLK Jr. Day, Gould history students will choose one of Shetterly’s portraits and write reflective essays. Several of the best reflections will be chosen and read by students during the program that day.


“MLK day is challenging Gould history students to think of the meaning of truth and reconciliation in American history,” said History Department Chair Dr. Brad Clarke. “Both the morning and afternoon programs will help students see much deeper into the country’s history, past the names and the dates, and into the values and meaning at the core of American identity.”


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