Ethics in the Arts

The mission of the Ethics in the Arts program is to explore ethical issues in the arts, through art making and art viewing. This program encourages ethical dialogue and reflection around ethical questions that arise organically when interacting with art. Through hearing from visiting artists and exploring art through dynamic activities, participants engage in meaningful exploration of fundamental concepts that enrich their understanding of themselves, the world, and their relationships with others.

The Ethics and the Arts program supports participants as they broaden their awarness of ethical issues and use their unique voice to explore ideas through art and dialogue. Some questions that often arise are:

  • Identity: What role does a person’s identity have in their art and our viewing of their art?
  • Risk-Taking: What does taking risks look like for artists, and when does this cross an ethical line?
  • Responsibility: What obligation, if any, do artists have to others, like their subjects, viewers, and the general public? How should we engage with an artwork? Can there be plagiarism within art?
  • Intention vs. Impact: How should we navigate tensions between the impact of the art and intention of the artist? What should we do when an artwork is offensive or harmful?

About Our Summer Program


The Ethics & Art Summer Program invites rising 7-12 grade students from throughout New Jersey to engage in a creative and innovative summer experience that will teach the foundations of ethics and ethical thinking through hands-on art making guided by professional artists and trained ethicists.

This one-week program will explore how the ethical elements of intention, impact, and values are raised by art viewing and art-making. Participants will learn hands-on skills in photography, painting, and spoken word as a way to explore their ethical questions and examine current-day ethical issues. Each day participants will engage in in-depth ethical discussions around questions related to each day’s theme.

  • Intention & Duty: When, if ever, do intentions matter? What are your ethical duties as an artist?

  • Values, Virtues & Character: What do you value? What type of person do you want to become? How can art contribute to a more ethical future?

  • Impacts & Consequences: When, if ever, do the impacts matter? What, if anything, should artists do about unintended consequences and impact of their art?

  • Reflection & Decision-Making: What role should reflection play when deciding what to do? How do you make decisions as an artist? Who, if anyone, should decide if an artwork is effective?

Summer Program Schedule

  • 9:00-9:30 a.m.: Class check-in & ethics warm up activity
  • 9:30-10:15 a.m.: Hands-on art lesson with visiting artist
  • 10:15-10:30 a.m.: Break
  • 10:30-11:45 a.m.: Creativity time - independent work with one-on-one check-ins with staff
  • 11:45 - 12:20 p.m.: Lunch
  • 12:20-1:50 p.m.: Ethics in the arts discussion
  • 1:50-2:00 p.m.: Break
  • 2:00-3:00 p.m.: Ethics & Art focused art-project
  • 3:00-3:30 p.m.: Group & Self Reflection
  • 3:30-4:00 p.m.: Optional Art Studio Time

2021 Facilitators

List of 3 items.

  • Dr. Karen Rezach

    Karen Rezach joined the Kent Place community in 2000, and is the Director of the Middle School and the Director of The Ethics Institute. She has a master’s in divinity from Yale University, an EdD from Seton Hall University and is an ordained Episcopal priest. Her doctoral research, “Spiritual Leadership as a Model of Effective Leadership in Independent School,” explores the ways in which educators can bring values and moral awareness in non-religious ways into a variety of school settings. Dr. Rezach has over 20 years of experience as an independent school administrator, including director of the middle school at Kent Place and assistant head of school at St. Philip’s Academy in Newark, NJ. She has been teaching and facilitating workshops on ethics for more than a decade.
  • Ms. Marie Micchelli

    Marie Micchelli earned both her bachelor’s in art education and master’s in painting from Montclair State University. She came to Kent Place in 2014 and teaches art in the Middle School. Among his classes are electives in book arts, portraits and sculpture. In addition to her teaching duties, Ms. Micchelli is a part of the Middle School Task Force for the Ethics Institute.
  • Ms. Ariel Sykes

    Ariel Sykes is the Assistant Director of the Ethics Institute at Kent Place School. She is a skilled educator and teacher trainer with over thirteen years of experience working in philosophy and education. Ariel specializes in philosophy for children (P4C) and dialogic pedagogy, with a focus on ethics and service-learning. She co-founded and organized the NYC High School Ethics Bowl Regional Competition. Mrs. Sykes is an endorsed practitioner of the IAPC (Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children), the world’s oldest organization devoted young people’s philosophical practice. Mrs. Sykes holds a BA in Philosophy of Education from Mount Holyoke College and an MA in Philosophy and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to joining the Ethics Institute, Mrs. Sykes taught a variety of education and ethics courses at local colleges and universities, ran after-school and summer philosophy programs for kids, and developed a philosophy in the art museum program with the Montclair Art Museum.

Participation Details

DATES: June 21 - 25, 2021

TIME: 9:00 a.m.– 3:30 p.m. (option for open studio time 3:30-4:00 p.m.)

LOCATION: Kent Place School

WHO: The program is open to rising 7-12 grade students, both KPS, and non-KPS students. This program is co-ed, and capped at 40 participants (20 students per class).

COST: $800
Scholarships and financial aid are available.
10% discount for KPS Faculty & Staff children

Participants who enroll are asked to commit to the full program.
As part of this program, participants can expect to:
  • Explore the intersections between art and ethics
  • Examine their personal identity and values
  • Develop a robust understanding of ethical leadership and what it means to be a woman in the arts
  • Experience different art media, with guidance from expert artists
  • Engage in various artistic expressions that encourage positive risk taking
  • Feel empowered as ethical leaders and artists
  • Develop critical and creative thinking
  • Enhance collaboration and communication skills

Want to Learn More?

For more information about our Ethics Institute programs or if you have questions about the registration process, please do not hesitate to reach out at ethics@kentplace.org.
42 Norwood Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901   |   (908) 273-0900
The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School is a first-of-its-kind institute at the primary and secondary school level. We believe that promoting the process and practice of ethical thinking and decision-making prepares people of all ages to be effective leaders and compassionate citizens.

UPCOMING ETHICS INSTITUTE EVENTS