Art and Humane Education

Image copyright David Revoy.
The arts are a powerful way to educate. In a previous post, I wrote about educating through drama and comedy. Today I want to say a few words about the visual arts.

IHE board member, Robert Shetterly, is perhaps the best contemporary example of an artist educating through this paintings. His Americans Who Tell the Truth portrait series  offers stunning portraits of historic and current Americans who have worked to make a difference, right wrongs, and “tell the truth.”

Rob travels the U.S. bringing his paintings to schools and teaching about changemakers through their stories and through a quote from the subject that he etches into each portrait. These stories and the power of these portraits offer profound opportunities to learn about pressing issues and how to create positive change.

Donna Simons, a painter in New York, has recently been showing her powerful art that calls upon us to consider what we are consuming when we eat animals. Sue Coe’s work also explores our relationship with animals, compelling viewers to consider how we treat nonhuman animals through disturbing and thought-provoking images.

I recently came across this work by French illustrator David Revoy, bringing a social justice message home to the viewer in a way far more powerfully and quickly than an essay on inequality.

There are so many ways to utilize art in the service of changemaking, and so many ways for art educators to become humane educators, inviting their students to create such art as well.

~ Zoe

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDxConejo talk: "Solutionaries"
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach"


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