Artists are storytellers. Humanitarian, author, educator, and artist Mr. David S. Greene, through his vibrantly hued and masterfully crafted portfolio of paintings, offers poignant stories of unsung heroes struggling to achieve economic and social justice that spans five (5) decades. On Saturday, 18 November 2023 from 1:00 P.M. through 5:00 P.M. at the Rotunda located at 40th and Walnut Streets on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, three (3) works from Mr. Greene’s expansive portfolio will be displayed as a component of the “Self-Taught Artists” Exhibit. In May 2023 numerous works from Mr. Greene’s expansive portfolio which incontrovertibly demonstrates that art and history are inextricably intertwined were displayed at the Rotunda on the University of Pennsylvania Campus, and at other venues that include the West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship (August 2023); and East Parkside Residents Association, North Star Park (June, 2022; May 2023).
Masterfully crafted paintings that comprise Mr. Greene’s expansive portfolio tell the stories of the unsung heroes that he and his wife Janet Wells Greene, Ph.D. have worked with and advocated for and their collective fight for economic and social justice in West Virginia, Ohio, and Harlem in New York City. Collectively and individually, through their work which spans five (5) decades, Mr. and Mrs. Greene have quietly and unceremoniously helped to co-create history by providing platforms for the underserved and disenfranchised members of our society to exercise their constitutional rights; co-founding alternative educational institutions that foster equitable societal change; and moving us to “step outside of ourselves” and understand our “connectedness” to each other.
David S. Greene is an educator, author, and artist who co-founded several alternative educational institutions, including the Southern Appalachian Labor School (1979) in West Virginia; the Paulo Freire Institute for Popular Education and Social Change (1997) in New York City; and the Freedom School () in Licking County, Ohio, Mr. Greene’s powerful literary work, “Unfit to be a Slave, A Guide to Adult Education for Liberation” which was published in 2015, describes his work as a social activist and the lessons learned from experience and his co-workers in industry and community. More recently, Mr. Greene has focused on the development of Critical Class Consciousness and Emerging Leadership.
Janet Wells Greene, Ph.D. is a labor historian; adult educator; co-founder of The Freedom School in Licking County (Ohio); faculty member of The Southern Appalachian Labor School (West Virginia); and Co-Director of Development for the Highlander Center for Research and Education (Tennessee). She was also an Assistant Professor of Labor Studies at the Harry Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies at Empire State College (SUNY) and Historian and Director of the Library of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York.
Mr. and Mrs. Greene’s empowering and transformative work which spans fifty (50) years has been captured on an award-winning film documentary entitled, “Revolutionary Hearts” which is directed by Peter Kinoy and Mary Lutz. Through “Revolutionary Hearts” (https://vimeo.com/772215531), the extraordinary lives of Mr. and Mrs. Greene – and the stories of the unsung heroes with whom they worked and advocated for are chronicled. The epic film documentary which is scheduled for screening in Venice, Italy in July 2024 at The Way Of Art Film Festival, has been screened at the People's Forum, New York City (March 2023); Ohio University International Film Festival (April 2023); The Freedom School in Licking County, Ohio (April 2023); Block Island Public Library, Rhode Island (July 2023); the House Of Umoja, Inc., a globally acclaimed institution headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (May 2022; September 2023); and by the Put People First-Pennsylvania Non Violent Medicaid Army Leadership Team (July 2023).
An overview of the body of work that spans fifty (50) years created by David S. Greene and Janet Wells Greene, Ph.D. – which encompasses publications and media -- is excerpted below:
"Schools for Liberation: Creating Leadership for a New World," authored by Janet Wells Greene and David S. Greene and published in Tricia Kress, Christoper Emdin and Robert Lake, eds., Critical Pedagogy for Healing: Paths Beyond "Wellness," Toward a Soul Revival of Teaching and Learning, Bloomsbury Press, 2022.
“From Forge to Fast Food: A History of Child Labor in New York State, Volume One: Colonial Times through the Civil War, authored by Janet Wells Greene (Council for Citizenship Education, Russell Sage College, 1995 - https://eric.ed.gov/?id= ED393723.
"Cameras in the Coalfields: Photographs As Evidence For Comparative Coalfield History," (https://www.gbv.de/dms/goettingen/388459824.pdf) in Berger, Croll, and LaPorte, eds.; Towards a Comparative History of Coalfield Societies (Ashgate Publishing Company, 2005).
"Strategies for Survival, Women's Work in the Southern West Virginia Coal Camps," authored by Janet Wells Greene and published in West Virginia History 49 (1990) - https://archive.wvculture.org/history/journal_wvh/wvh49-4.html.
Fleisher Art Memorial, Social Activism Through Art: Art Sparks with David Greene, January 2021 - https://youtu.be/t2R3zxg4CFI?si=yakICUlBEfvBy Lkf.
West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, Mine Wars Forum with Janet Wells Greene, Season 4, Episode 3, January, 2023 - https://www.youtube.com/live/ EXcSvbexc0E?si=GR4Z6RcnTocDfR5n.
Landscape of Lost Arts: The Building Trades in New York City by Janet Wells Greene - https://www.laborarts.org/exhibits/buildingtrades/index.html.
When asked about their work, David S. Greene and Janet Wells Greene had this to say:
“Our work as educators is inspired by Paulo Freire and Myles Horton. As working class people, we have been confronted by many social and economic challenges that made it necessary for us to create new spaces for learning. Our goal has always been education for liberation and community empowerment. Central to our practice is the conviction that all education for liberation must be built on lived experience. By listening to and learning from the people, education can be transformed from a tool for elitism to a tool for democracy and healing. Can you start a school or space for learning in the community where you live? We think the answer is ‘Yes!’”