Robert Shetterly's Americans Who Tell The Truth

portraits and narratives highlight citizens who courageously address issues of social, environmental, and economic fairness.

By combining art and other media, AWTT offers resources to inspire a new generation of engaged Americans who will act for the common good, our communities, and the Earth.

Mary Ellen Tracy
I teach at one of the schools which Samantha Smith attended. Because of this, when I heard about thisSamantha Smith Challenge (click to sign up your students)I was excited to learn more.
David Hilton
I know my time with my students will have been worthwhile if, at the end of our class, each child has grown as a citizen. I want my students to learn to be aware, empathetic, and active. The Samantha Smith Challengefits right into this approach.
Adele Drake
Robert Shetterly's portraits cut to the chase in a compelling way. Students could access the profound sentiments that these portraits represent.
Dr. Elisa Díaz-Martínez
Robert’s Americans Who Tell the Truth has become a distinctive and profound way of teaching American History and American Thought...His work will help us advance towards common understanding and tolerance.
Karyn Field
During the 2013/2014 school year, teachers Karyn Field and Sharyn Hastings used the AWTT portraits and resources to help students analyze "themes related to scapegoating, intolerance and social strife." Students wrote poems, orchestrated press conference
Laurie Solchenberger
I am a special and regular educator in Madison, WI. My students used your images to discuss how some people choose to do amazing things with their lives: some in big ways, some in small ways, but always by finding something they believe in.
Kristen Zoeller
Finally, I was shown people of all backgrounds who had made a difference; finally, I found people who were so normal, who I could relate to, and yet were so profound. Suddenly, there was no more excuse.

Portrait Contest

Professional and student artists: Submit one or more hero portraits. Deadline is December 1, 2022. Learn more here

The Samantha Smith Challenge

Open to middle school and high school students. View 2020-2021 Guidelines. Stay tuned for '21-'22 news.

Speaking Truth to Youth

We are excited to announce the launch of our short-video series Speaking Truth to Youth.

Support a doc on Rob Shetterly

Award-winning filmmaker, Richard Kane, has made a documentary about Robert Shetterly and Americans Who Tell the Truth. To learn more, go to:

Most Recent Portraits

Our full gallery now include more than 250 portraits of American truth-tellers. You can browse the full gallery. Or just begin your exploration by linking to a few of the most recent additions to the series here. 

Also, check out our newest collection of videos: Speaking Truth to Youth.  Some of our inspiring living portrait subjects share their insights on activism.  


  • Americans Who Tell the Truth Celebration

    Peterborough, NH
    Hosted by Mariposa Museum

    What: Americans Who Tell the Truth Celebration Where: Peterborough, New Hampshire (Depot Park and Mariposa Museum) When: October 17, 2021, 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. Join us in celebrating the achievements of these American truth-tellers in a special indoor-outdoor event! The current AWTTexhibit at Mariposa Museum and World Cultural Centerfeatures paintings by Maine artist Robert She

  • AWTT Portraits in Binghamton and Ithaca, New York


    An exhibit of seventeen AWTT portrait opens at the Broome County Public Library in Binghamton, NY on October 1, 2021. 

  • WERU interview with artist Robert Shetterly

    Blue Hill, ME
    Hosted by WERU

    WERU host Amy Browne will interview AWTT artist Robert Shetterly and filmmaker Richard Kane on Tuesday, October 5, at 4 pm.

  • Truth Tellers to Premier at Camden International Film Festival

    The Camden International Film Festival will premiere Truth Tellers, a documentary film featuring artist Robert Shetterly's work on September 19.

  • AWTT Portraits on Exhibit in Peterborough, NH

    Peterborough, NH
    Hosted by Mariposa Museum & World Culture Center

    This exhibit of thirty-nine Americans Who Tell the Truth portraits and narratives honors citizens who have courageously worked for social, environmental, and economic fairness, moving America closer to its stated ideals.

  • Joanna Macy: Climate Crisis as a Spiritual Path

    Old Dog Documentaries has posted on Vimeothis twenty-minute interview with Joanna Macy. Quoting from Rilke, Macy talks about living life in "the widening circles that reach out across the world." Macy's wisdom about how to approach life - and the impending climate crisis that threatens all life - continues to widen and deepen. Well worth watching - at least once.

  • Remembering Hinmatóowyalahtqit (Chief Joseph)

    On this date in 1877, Hinmatóowyalahtqit (Chief Joseph) surrendered to the United States Cavalry. "I have asked some of the great white chiefs where they get their authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place, while he sees white men going where they please.

  • Stories to Tell

    New books by Tarana Burke and Dave Zirin; Leah Penniman featured in new anthology.

  • Publishing anniversary of Silent Spring

    Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book Silent Spring was published on this date in 1962. “If the Bill of Rights contains no guarantee that a citizen shall be secure against lethal poisons distributed either by private individuals or by public officials, it is surely only because our forefathers, despite their considerable wisdom and foresight, could conceive of no such problem,” Ca

  • Portraits of Racial Justice Launch!

    Camden, Maine

    New Village Press releases artist Robert Shetterly's book Portraits of Racial Justice on September 19, 2021.