Cover Photo Image

To support JMU student civic engagement in the upcoming elections, this digital exhibition represents the collaboration of three separate entities: the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement, faculty from the School of Art, Design, and Art History, and objects from the Madison Art Collection.

The featured works by Ben Shahn, a prolific American artist who believed strongly in civic responsibility and art as activism, are drawn from the Madison Art Collection’s extensive Shahn holdings, thanks to gifts from Mr. Michael Berg and the Ben Shahn Estate. Dr. Laura Katzman, Professor of Art History in the School of Art, Design, and Art History provided scholarly text on the artist and individual works. The James Madison Center for Civic Engagement worked to find students to respond to these works of art through the lens of 2020.

If you are a student and you would like to add your voice to the exhibition, please submit via this link.

For more information on civic engagement, voting, and more, please visit Dukes Vote: Election Connection.


Introduction to the Artist
Human Relations Portfolio
For All These Rights, We've Just Begun to Fight (REGISTER-VOTE)
We Shall Overcome (Nine Drawings Portfolio)


Click here and here to learn more about the history of the referenced song. 

I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great


For a moving discussion of Shahn’s print and how it “helped shape [one family’s] commitment to justice,” see the essay by Seth Freed Wessler.

A complete version of this print can be viewed online at the Harvard Art Museums.

Exhibition credits

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