The MY HERO Project and Americans Who Tell the Truth partnership

The Shetterly Prize to be awarded to the most heroic portrait submitted


Portrait Contest for Students 2024
Credit: MY HERO
•  Student Artists- you are welcome to submit one or more hero portraits!


• Works of art submitted will be judged by Robert Shetterly, artist founder of Americans Who Tell the Truth and the MY HERO Gallery staff!


• Each work of art can represent someone you admire who has done something significant - for you, for your community, or for our planet.

• Each work of art can illustrate a heroic act that has impacted your world or our society as a whole.


• Each entry needs to include a sentence or more about the hero or heroic act which will be taken into consideration during judging.


•  Please make sure to include a contact email so we can contact you about your entry. For those students under the age of 13, please ask your parent or teacher if you could include their email as we do not collect emails of minors.

All winning entries will also be shared with students around the world online on

Submission Deadline is May 15, 2024

More Information

When submitting a work of art, please consider the following:


• Is the portrait an authentic representation of your hero? Does it tell the hero's story through visual elements?  


• Is there text included describing the hero or heroic act?


• Does the artwork illustrate his or her heroic traits and characteristics?


• Does it inspire the viewer with its carefully conceived elements of beauty, clarity, creativity, expressionism, and/or    accuracy?


•  Can teachers and students use this portrait as a part of a lesson to illustrate heroes and heroic acts?


•  Does the work of art create an emotional response or a feeling of appreciation for the hero's accomplishments?

Use the Create Program to Upload Art Tutorial
Credit: MY HERO

Past Student Winning Portraits 

My brother

By: Esme Tran from the United States

Overall Portrait Contest Winner 2022

Knitting With Grandma

By: Annie Chen from Canada

Overall Portrait Contest Winner 2023


By: Elouise Derdar from the United Kingdom

College Student Winner


By: Jane Rodriguez from the United States

High School Student Winner

The Legacy of Shinzo Abe

By: Annie Chen from Canada

High School Student Winner

My Papayos

By: Karla Rivas from the United States

High School Student Winner

Yu Gwan Sun

By: Hyunsuh Kang from the United States

High School Student Winner


By: MingRui Deng from Canada

High School Student Winner

Grandma Merk

By: Mary Meyer from the United States

High School Student Winner


By: HYOLYNN YANG from the United States

Middle School Student Winner

Mother - the greatest HERO

By: Deepshikha De from India

Middle School Student Winner

The Brave Lady

By: Deepshikha De from India

Middle School Student Winner

My Grandmother

By: D. Aron Raj from India

Upper Elementary Student Winner

Mahatma Gandhiji

By: D. Aron Raj from India

Upper Elementary Student Winner

My Papa & Mama

By: Loic Tim from Hong Kong

Early Elementary Student Winner

My Hero Tia

By: Mary Frances Goldstein from the United States

Early Elementary Student Winner

Superman: Zelenskyy

By: Hei Ching Iu from Hong Kong

Early Elementary Student Winner

My Dad I Love Him so Much

By: Gianna Yurisak from the United States

Pre-K Student Winner

Watch this film about Robert Shetterly produced by MY HERO

Robert Shetterly

Produced by:The MY HERO Project
Artist, Robert Shetterly discusses his series, americans who tell the truth

Click the banner below to view some of Robert Shetterly's beautiful portraits.

Credit: MY HERO

About Robert Shetterly

Robert Shetterly was born in 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated in 1969 from Harvard College with a degree in English Literature. At Harvard he took some courses in drawing which changed the direction of his creative life -- from the written word to the image. Also, during this time, he was active in Civil Rights and in the Anti-Vietnam War movement.

After college and moving to Maine in 1970, he taught himself drawing, printmaking, and painting. While trying to become proficient in printmaking and painting, he illustrated widely. For twelve years he did the editorial page drawings for The Maine Times newspaper, illustrated National Audubon's children's newspaper Audubon Adventures , and approximately 30 books.

Robert's paintings and prints are in collections all over the U.S. and Europe. A collection of his drawings & etchings, Speaking Fire at Stones, was published in 1993. He is well known for his series of 70 painted etchings based on William Blake's "Proverbs of Hell," and for another series of 50 painted etchings reflecting on the metaphor of the Annunciation.

His painting has tended toward the narrative and the surreal,however, for more than ten years he has been painting the series of portraits Americans Who Tell the Truth . The exhibit has been traveling around the country since 2003. Venues have included everything from university museums and grade school libraries to sandwich shops, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City, and the Superior Court in San Francisco. To date, the exhibits have visited 26 states. In 2005, Dutton published a book of the portraits by the same name. In 2006, the book won the top award of the International Reading Association for Intermediate non-fiction.

The portraits have given Shetterly an opportunity to speak with children and adults all over this country about the necessity of dissent in a democracy, the obligations of citizenship, sustainability, US history, and how democracy cannot function if politicians don't tell the truth, if the media don't report it, and if the people don't demand it.

Shetterly has engaged in a wide variety of political and humanitarian work with many of the people whose portraits he has painted. In the spring of 2007, he traveled to Rwanda with Lily Yeh and Terry Tempest Williams to work in a village of survivors of the 1994 genocide there. Much of his current work focuses on honoring and working with the activists trying to bring an end to the terrible practice of Mountaintop Removal by coal companies in Appalachia, on climate change, and on the continuation of systemic racism in the US particularly in relation to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Since 1990, he has been the President of the Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA), and a producer of the UMVA's Maine Masters Project, an on-going series of video documentaries about Maine artists.

Americans Who Tell the Truth has been an active partner of The MY HERO Project Gallery, specifically promoting activism and compassion through the vehicle of fine art.

Awards and commendations:

  • In 2005, the Maine People’s Alliance awarded him its Rising Tide award.

  • Also in 2005, he was named an Honorary Member of the Maine Chapter of Veterans for Peace.

  • In May 2007, Rob received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the University of Southern Maine and gave the Commencement Address at the University of New England which awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters.

  • In 2009, he was named a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow that enables him to do week long residences in colleges around the country.

  • The University of Maine at Farmington awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2011.

Robert Shetterly lives, with his partner Gail Page, a painter and children’s book writer and illustrator, in Brooksville, Maine.


Robert Shetterly's Americans Who Tell the Truth Website
Credit: AWTT
Samantha Smith Challenge
Credit: AWTT

These Speaking Truth to Youth videos reflect AWTT belief that their portrait subjects are not superheroes but real people whose work is driven by moral courage and a passion for truth and justice. 

Speaking Truth to Youth
Credit: AWTT

Organizer created on 6/18/2014 1:11:46 PM by victoria murphy

Last edited 1/23/2024 12:27:36 PM by Laura Nietzer