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Americans Who Tell the Truth :: Natasha Mayers

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Robert Shetterly's portrait of Natasha Mayers
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“We need artists to help explain what is happening in this country, to tell the truth and reveal the lies, to be willing to say the emperor has no clothes, to create moral indignation, to envision alternatives, to reinvent language.
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Natasha Mayers
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59 of 100
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Artist, Educator, Activist, (1946—  )

“We need artists to help us come together and share our voices and build community around powerful issues concerning our roles in the world and our planet's survival. Compassion must be translated into action.”

Natasha Mayers's work marries art and community. She had studied sculpture but expected to teach high school social studies when she graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1967. After serving in the Peace Corps in Nigeria, she took a teaching job in Maine and began to study painting. A small sampling of her dozens of projects across 40 years shows why she has been called the state's most committed activist-artist:

In the late 1970s, Mayers worked with patients and Maine artists to paint murals and poetry in tunnels connecting buildings at the Augusta Mental Health Institute.

During the 1994-95 school year, she helped her town's fourth and fifth graders paint its history on utility poles, cultivating a sense of place and intergenerational appreciation.

She organized “Warflowers: From Swords to Plowshares,” a 2005–06 traveling exhibit by 44 Maine artists, launching discussion about how to convert our defense-based economy.

Since 1975 Mayers has supervised painting of over 500 murals as a touring artist with the Maine Commission for the Arts. She is an artist-in-residence for Peace Action Maine and was a National Endowment for the Arts Millennium Artist in Portsmouth, Ohio. In 2005 Mayers received the Arthur Hall Award “for an artist whose work, community service and commitment to their craft inspires others around them to reach to their highest potential.” She has encouraged creativity in students from nursery school to college and in diverse populations: immigrants, refugees, prisoners, the homeless, and the “psychiatrically labeled.”

In her own painting, Mayers often explores themes of peace and social justice. By placing images of war on Maine's landscape in her recent “State of War” series, she effectively asks, How would we feel if it happened here? “An empathetic response,” says Mayers, “requires imagination.”

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See the full set of Robert Shetterly's portraits at www.americanswhotellthetruth.org.

Tools for Teaching: see the acompanying curriculum materials with suggestions on how to use the portraits and biographies of these American truth-tellers in your classroom.
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BUY THE BOOK AND GREETING CARDS FROM THE YES! STORE:
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Americans Who Tell the Truth ::

Robert Shetterly's series highlights Americans past and present whose dignity, courage, and honesty have shaped this country.

This beautiful coffee-table book is an eloquent collection of portraits and stirring words of these brave citizens from all walks of life.
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Card Sets ::

A special YES! selection of Greeting Cards from the series in sets of 8 (with envelopes).

Sets feature high quality prints of the portraits, complete with quotes and biographies.

Posters also available from the artist.
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