“Become ArtRageous”

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ArtRage, PO Box 6865, Syracuse, New York, 13217

Self Portrait – Robert Shetterly 2019

November 2022

Dear Friends of ArtRage,

We live in a time of political and environmental urgency. We are besieged by a cacophony of propaganda, spin, and special interest voices. Most of those voices are purposeful, cheap distractions from the important issues and from the activist work we should be doing.

ArtRage calls us back to essential values, and provides us with models of vision, courage, compassion and citizenship.

Authentic art always strives to tell the truth. Otherwise, what would be the point? And authentic art—whether poetry, music, dance, or visual—always strives to communicate with the spirit. But in a commercial world, that necessary art, the art that makes possible the revitalization, the reinvigoration, the re-consecration of our relationship with nature and people is not the art often displayed and marketed.

This art does not insist that you agree with everything it says; it wants you, though, to look it in the eye, to know that what you see is an honest encounter, is attempting to close the gap between what we say about the common good and what we do. ArtRage has built a community of trust, a gallery exhibiting work dedicated to discovering justice, and discovering that holy connection with all life.

ArtRage embraces the dignity of that ambition. And that burden.

“Our most modern sin is that we do not love the world enough. We have exiled the holy from this realm so we can turn its mountains into money.”
These are the words of Erik Reece, environmental journalist, teacher, poet, and activist against Mountaintop Removal coal mining in Kentucky and West Virginia. A number of years ago, so that I might paint their portraits, I traveled around coal country meeting people courageously resisting the power and destruction of the predatory companies. I wanted to honor their work and help extend their message. I think most of us would agree that the only shortcoming of Erik’s statement is that it is not broad enough. The holy has been exiled so that the water may be turned into money. The land. The forests. Our fellow creatures and species. Our health. Our children. The future. And, in fact, our spirituality itself has been bartered for expanding corporate profit.

Either we reclaim that spiritual connection or go the way of evolution’s failures. How do we do that? There is no single way: we follow the teachings of indigenous people who embody that connection; we insist on sustainability in all our institutions; we stop making war; we implement an economic system in harmony with nature. We listen to our artists.

That’s why supporting the mission of ArtRage is crucial. They curate that spiritual connection—between species, between peoples.

I’ve now, over twelve years, been invited to show my Americans Who Tell the Truth portraits at ArtRage three times and each exhibit has led to surprising connections in Syracuse and around this country. People are moved by the exhibits at 505 Hawley Avenue. They understand their importance. They want them in other communities. They understand that the mission of ArtRage is one place where fine art and human survival meet.

Please Support ArtRage.

Robert Shetterly, Artist
Americans Who Tell the Truth
Brooksville, Maine