The Unity Project – Harnessing the power of illustration art for social good.

Much as Norman Rockwell’s work was influential in bringing the country together at pivotal times, NRM’s Unity Project campaigns are a collaboration with artists and organizations to advance initiatives that make the world a better place.

The first initiative, launched in the fall of 2020, sought to motivate all who are eligible to exercise the important civic responsibility of voting.

The Kindness Campaign

The “Kindness Campaign” aims to help us remember that empathy and patience will make a difference – in our community and our world, especially at a time when shops, restaurants, attractions, service providers,  and businesses are short-staffed and struggling through this pandemic.

Together with 1Berkshirewe commissioned three artists to illustrate images of kindness to be shared on social media with the hashtag #BeKindBerkshires and #BeKind. We invite you to share them and add your thoughts about how kindness helps everyone.  Find a “Kindness toolkit” of graphics, posters, and ideas on the 1Berkshire website.

Nicole Tadgell Choose Kindness

Nicole Tadgell
Choose Kindness, 2021.

Leo Quiles - Choose Kindness

Leo Quiles
Practice Kindness, 2021.

Marc Rosenthal - Kindness Heals

Marc Rosenthal
Kindness Heals, 2021.

1Berkshire

Norman Rockwell Museum

1Berkshire Announces #BeKindBerkshires: A Kindness Campaign

September, 13, 2021 – Berkshire County, MA – 1Berkshire, in collaboration with Norman Rockwell Museum (NRM), is embarking on an illustrated public service campaign entitled Be Kind Berkshires which kicks off on September 14, 2021. Using art – one of the many cultural assets of the Berkshires – the message may be spread easily and broadly to promote positivity. The campaign features three original illustrations by noted regional illustrators, Leo Quiles, Marc Rosenthal, and Nicole Tadgell. Each commissioned image was created to inspire patrons to take a moment and reflect on how their actions can make the world a better place by extending kindness and empathy to workers who are doing their very best.

Initiated in response to continued changes the region faces with increased population, seasonal visitation, and pressures on the rural infrastructure, including labor and supply shortages, plus the ever-changing COVID conditions – Be Kind Berkshires aims to invite empathy from customers who patronize Berkshire businesses, service providers, and attractions. For more information visit https://1berkshire.com/be-kind-berkshires. You will also find a helpful Be Kind Berkshires toolbox on this page, full of ways that your business can get involved.

The idea for this campaign came about after hearing about challenging working scenarios from several business leaders this summer and the sometimes disgruntled exchanges between patrons and employees. NRM Director/CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt contacted 1Berkshire CEO Jonathan Butler with the idea. “We thought that a ‘kindness campaign’ might help people consider that we are truly all in this together – that a smile or a thoughtful word can change a person’s day for the better.”

“This idea immediately resonated with the team at 1Berkshire. Not only did it seem like a timely and necessary collaboration for the Berkshires but it also felt like a great way for us to use our strong network to speak to residents and visitors alike about the value of kindness during this tough time. We are excited to be partnering with the Norman Rockwell Museum on this important initiative,” said Jonathan Butler, CEO and President of 1Berkshire.

For NRM, this is the second initiative under the umbrella of “Unity Campaigns” harnessing the power of illustration art to advance social good. “Much as Norman Rockwell’s work was influential in bringing the country together during times of historical challenge, we hope these images can work to do the same and awaken empathy for one another,” said Norton Moffatt. To learn more visit https://unity.nrm.org.

How to get involved in Be Kind Berkshires campaign: Use the hashtag #BeKindBerkshires, share the illustrated posters on your site and social media feeds, link to https://1berkshire.com/be-kind-berkshires/ in your ecommunications, or simply add a Be Kind sticker to your social media posts. Every bit counts and we need the community’s support to ensure the kindness message is spread to locals and visitors alike. Also, on November 13, 2021, the group will celebrate World Kindness Day by encouraging all Berkshire businesses to share images of kindness on social media. The Be Kind Berkshires campaign will run through the end of 2021, so let’s work as a community to spread kindness in as many ways as possible.

About 1Berkshire:
1Berkshire is a county-wide organization focused on economic development and promotion of the region as a preferred place to visit, live, and grow a business. It provides programs that connect businesses with each other and with potential customers, it works to develop future leaders and support burgeoning entrepreneurs. For more information, visit 1Berkshire.com or to learn more about visiting the Berkshires visit berkshires.org

About the Norman Rockwell Museum:
The Norman Rockwell Museum illuminates the power of American illustration art to reflect and shape society, and advances the enduring values of kindness, respect, and social equity portrayed by Norman Rockwell. The Museum holds the world’s largest and most significant collection of art and archival materials relating to Rockwell’s life and work, while also preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting a growing collection of art by other American illustrators throughout history. The Museum engages diverse audiences through onsite and traveling exhibitions, as well as publications, arts and humanities programs, including the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, and comprehensive online resources.  Visit the Museum online at www.nrm.org.

About the Illustrators:

Marc Rosenthal is the New York Times bestselling illustrator of many books for children, including Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick; the Bobo series by Eileen Rosenthal; The Straight Line Wonder by Mem Fox; All You Need is Love by Paul McCartney, and Phooey! and Archie and the Pirates, which he wrote. Marc’s illustrations are seen regularly in The New Yorker, Time, Forbes, Fortune, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and others. He was the sole illustrator for National Geographic’s Smithsonian traveling exhibition, Where On Earth.

An educator as well, Mark has taught illustration at The Rhode Island School of Design, including a course called The Designed Image, which focused on conceptual illustration, as well as packaging, narrative art, and sequential art, masterful and essential aspects of his practice. Flotsam and Jetsam, Ants in Your Pants in France, What’s Dat? and Convergence are among his humorous illustrated comics. Marc has also lectured and offered workshops at Norman Rockwell Museum, The Rhode Island School of Design, Maryland Institute College of Art, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Design Madison in Madison Wisconsin. In addition, he has received numerous awards for his work from Print, Communication Arts, The Society of Illustrators, The Parent’s Choice Award, and The Art Directors Club.

Nicole Tadgell is an award-winning illustrator and graphic designer who appears in more than thirty picture books for children. The creator of whimsical characters and scenes, she is the recipient of many commendations, including the Kansas Notable Book Award, Christopher Award, Children’s Africana Book Award, Américas Award, Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award, and Growing Good Kids Award. Her books have been featured by Bank Street College of Education, Smithsonian Notable Books for Children, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, and the New York Public Library, among others. Her books include A Fist for Joe Louis and Me, Friends for Freedom, Astronaut Annie, In the Garden with Dr. Carver, and many others.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, art has always been both an escape and a labor of love for Nicole. Frequent moves challenged her natural shyness, especially in new schools where she was the only Black child in class. “I always had pencils and paper nearby. It helped me make sense of the world around me or create imaginary worlds to live in for a while,” she says. Today, Nicole continues to bring stories to life while advocating for diversity in children’s literature. In addition to her artwork, she finds beauty, strength and solace in the practice of tai chi, which has led her through trauma and recovery, and into spiritual awakening.

Leonardo Quiles is an author, illustrator, and animator. He received a Masters of Fine Arts in Illustration from the University of Hartford’s Hartford Art School, studied Illustration at Parsons School of Design, and received a Bachelor in Arts from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Leo divides his time between being part-time faculty at his alma mater MCLA and writing and illustrating books, comics, and a middle-grade graphic novel.

His abilities as a visual storyteller have evolved throughout his twenty years of experience as an animator and artist working in the visual effects industry, and he has worked in a variety of media, from stop-motion animation to computer-generated visualization. Leo has taught at Bennington College in Vermont, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s iEAR program, as well as the Graduate School of Architecture at Washington University at St Louis. He lives in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts with his wife, their two children and their puppy Roxy.

Download the Press Release

Art that Inspires Us to Vote

The Unity Project calls upon all Americans to uphold democracy by voting.

This dynamic digital poster campaign aims to inspire citizens to vote. Striking images by the nation’s top illustrators work to establish unity and belonging among all Americans, who share in common the right to elect a government of the people.

Norman Rockwell Museum steps into the public square in a new way with a unification project in support of democracy—a rally to vote campaign highlighting original concepts by six leading contemporary illustrators commissioned by the Museum to create motivational art in the great illustrated poster tradition.

Compelling works by Mai Ly Degnan, Rudy Gutierrez, Anita Kunz, Tim O’Brien, Whitney Sherman, and Yuko Shimizu reflect each artist’s personal voice and a diverse range of artistic approaches.

Mai Ly Degnan: Defend Democracy
Mai Ly Degnan

Defend Democracy, 2020

Rudy Gutierrez: Humanity, Not Politics
Rudy Gutierrez

Humanity, Not Politics, 2020

Anita Kunz: Every Vote Counts
Anita Kunz

Every Vote Counts, 2020

Tim O'Brien: Vote
Tim O’Brien

Vote, 2020

Whitney Sherman: Vote - Defend Democracy

Whitney Sherman
Vote: Defend Democracy, 2020

Yuko Shimizu: Defend Democracy - Vote
Yuko Shimizu

Defend Democracy (Lady Liberty), 2020

The Campaign reminds us that the Constitution gives power to the people, and will reinforce our citizen agency, the common bond in our democracy which gives the power to the people to elect their government, government of, by, and for the people.

The Unity Project carves out a new space for the Museum’s work in the world, to uphold social justice through illustration art. We hope it inspires citizens across the nation to vote.

Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom

American illustrators have a long tradition of observing and responding to the world around them. Strong images can shape perception and help us envision and work toward aspirational ideals.

Artworks created to bring out the vote in 2020 were a part of Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom, an exhibition that travelled as part of a six city tour, which took Rockwell’s art and the work of other creators to New York, Detroit, Washington DC, Normandy, France, Houston, Denver, and ending back in Stockbridge – the home of Norman Rockwell Museum.   Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom explores the indelible odyssey of the Four Freedoms, humanity’s greatest and most elusive ideals.

Freedom of Speech
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)

Freedom of Speech, 1943.

Freedom of Workship
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)

Freedom of Workship, 1943.

Freedom From Want
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)

Freedom From Want, 1943.

Freedom From Fear
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)

Freedom From Fear, 1943.

The power of images to shape cultural narratives is revealed in this dynamic and evolving exhibition, which invites viewers to trace the origins and legacy of the Four Freedoms from the trials of the Great Depression and World War II to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and the call for freedom today across racial, gender, ethnic, and religious lines. Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom inspires conversation about our most pressing social concerns through the lens of art and history, and invites us to consider how we can become allies in the creation of a more humane world.

Norman Rockwell. (1894-1978)

Rosie the Riveter, 1943.

Golden Rule
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) 

Golden Rule, 1961.

The Problem We All Live With
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)

The Problem We All Live With, 1963.

Rockwell’s most iconic works, including the legendary Four Freedoms paintings inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vision for a peaceful post-war world; the artist’s personal plea for unity in The Golden Rule; his call for human rights in The Problem We All Live With and Murder in Mississippi; and his petition for truth and transparency in The Right to Know reflect the artist’s desire to make a difference. More than forty Rockwell artworks are joined by paintings, drawings, photography, and writings of artists working across the decades for the cause of freedom, including Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Arthur Rothstein, Mead Schaeffer, Arthur Szyk, Martha Sawyers, Langston Hughes, Thomas Lea, Boris Artzybasheff, and Denys Wortman, among others. Reimagining the Four Freedoms, a multi-media exhibition component, presents thought-provoking perspectives by forty contemporary artists who explore society’s hopes and aspirations for a free and just world. Highlighted among them is a suite of striking recreations by Maurice Pops Peterson, who presents a vision of Rockwell’s art for a new age.

IMAGE CREDITS

Nicole Tadgell
Choose Kindness, 2021. Watercolor on paper.
Collection of the artist.
©2021 Nicole Tadgell. All rights reserved.

Leo Quiles
Practice Kindness, 2021. Gouache on paper.
Collection of the artist.
©2021 Leo Quiles. All rights reserved.

Marc Rosenthal
Kindness Heals, 2021. Digital.
Collection of the artist.
©2021 Marc Rosenthal. All rights reserved.

Mai Ly Degnan
Defend Democracy, 2020
Digital
Mai Ly Degnan © 2020. All rights reserved.

Rudy Gutierrez
Humanity, Not Politics, 2020
Acrylic, colored pencil, crayon on Bristol paper mounted on board
Rudy Gutierrez © 2020. All rights reserved.

Anita Kunz
Every Vote Counts
, 2020
Acrylic on board Anita Kunz
© 2020. All rights reserved.

Tim O’Brien
Vote
, 2020
Oil on board
Tim O’Brien © 2020. All rights reserved.

Whitney Sherman
Vote: Defend Democracy
, 2020
Digital
Whitney Sherman © 2020. All rights reserved.

Yuko Shimizu
Defend Democracy (Lady Liberty)
, 2020
Digital
Design by Atelier Olschinsky Grafik und Design OG
Yuko Shimizu © 2020. All rights reserved.

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
Freedom of Speech, 1943.
Illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, February 20, 1943.
From the collection of Norman Rockwell Museum.
© 1943 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved.

Norman Rockwell. (1894-1978)
Rosie the Riveter, 1943
Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, 1943
©1943 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
Freedom of Worship, 1943.
Illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, February 27, 1943.
From the collection of Norman Rockwell Museum.
© 1943 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved.

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) 
Golden Rule, 1961.
Story illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, April 1, 1961.
Norman Rockwell Museum Collections.
©SEPS: Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN.

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
Freedom From Want, 1943.
Illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, March, 6, 1943.
From the collection of Norman Rockwell Museum.
© 1943 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved.

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
The Problem We All Live With, 1963.
Story illustration for Look, January 14, 1964
From the permanent collection of Norman Rockwell Museum
Licensed by Norman Rockwell Licensing Company, Niles, IL

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
Freedom From Fear, 1943.
Illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, March, 13, 1943.
From the collection of Norman Rockwell Museum.
© 1943 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved.