Deb Marett, portrait artist
Deb Marett Portrait Artist

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The FAMOUS Portraits art project is inspired by the poem "Famous" by Naomi Shihab Nye. The first line: "The river is famous to the fish" starts to tell the story of how everyone is famous to the people whose lives they have touched. I am using this project to encourage people to redefine their ideas of fame, and re-examine who they honor by giving them their time and attention.


FAMOUS has been shown in the following locations:


FAMOUS Art Show:

August 2017

Inspiration Studios

1500 S 73rd St, West Allis, WI 53214


"Where Do We Go From Here? Conversations About Community"

August 20, 3:00-4:30

Inspiration Studios (see above for address)


Previous Showings for FAMOUS:

FAMOUS Art Show:

Feb. 3 - March 25, 2017

Racine Arts Council Gallery

316 Sixth Street, Racine, WI



March 25, 2017

Preservation Hall

740 Lake Ave, Racine, WI

You can read more about FAMOUS on the blog here:


And on Instagram: @whyareyoufamous

"Where Do We Go From Here?
Conversations About Community"

August 20, 3:00-4:30, Inspiration Studios



- Olusegun Sijuwade: musician, non-violence counselor

- Nick Demske: poet, community coordinator

- Jim Schaap: writer, essayist


Come meet 3 of my FAMOUS people who will be reading/speaking/playing music at this event focused on the small communities each of us builds for ourselves.


What do you think about when you think of community? Yes, you live in a certain city or neighborhood--but you also share workspace with a group of people. You choose your circle of friends. You belong to various organizations. What does each of your communities give you, and what do you give to each of them? How have people banded together in the past and present to collaborate, grow, or simply survive?

15 Minutes of Fame

On the last evening of the show's debut in Racine, we had an amazing closing party called "15 Minutes of Fame." Eight of the FAMOUS portrait subjects came to share their thoughts on their work and what it means to them to live a life of impact and intent. You can see part of Naomi Shihab Nye's remarks here, and more will be coming soon. Learn more about the speakers below.

15 Minutes of Fame Speakers

Keynote speaker

Naomi Shihab Nye


Naomi is an internationally acclaimed poet and children's author. She refers to herself as a “wandering poet” because she has traveled the world to hold writing workshops and inspire people of all ages for about 40 years. She is an author of many poetry and children's fiction books. Her poems are based on heritage and peace, and are connected to her experience as an Arab-American. Among her many awards, Naomi won the 2014 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature.

Paul Willis

Poet and literature professor. Paul is a former Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara, CA, and has been included in The "Best American Poetry" series. Paul will be speaking on the evolving nature of one's creative path or calling.

Timothy Westbrook Fashion designer, sustainability-focused fiber artist. Former Project Runway contestant. Timothy will be speaking about  transforming big ideas into reality simply by believing in them, and how one starfish can save the world.

Olu Sijuwade

Non-violent communication facilitator, advocate for peace and justice. Olu will be discussing addressing the epidemic of violence in our communities.

Thea Kovac

Milwaukee artist and teacher. Thea will be talking about the cyclical nature of creativity, and the need for allowing oneself time to rejuvenate.

Aszya Summers

Conservation Education Manager, Racine Zoo. Aszya will be talking about crane conservation and the work of the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo.

Travis DuPriest

Travis taught Humanities and Creative Writing at Carthage College for 30 years. He published two scholarly editions of 17th-century writers and five creative Chapbooks of poems and essays. Travis will be talking about family, loss and reconciliation.

Nick Demske

Racine poet. Nick curates the BONK! performance series in Racine, and won the 2010 Fence Modern Poets Series Award. Nick will encourage everyone to think about how each of us is simultaneously the most important, and the least important, thing in the universe.

Deb Marett, portrait artist