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?
  • Power: What is the power of art? How should artists use this power? What kind of power do consumers and viewers of artwork have? What role do museums and society have in legitmatizing art?
  • 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?
  • Ownership: Who should own art? How should art be treated?
  • Concepts: How can art explore ethical themes such as justice, empathy, and freedom?
  • Experience: What types of experiences should art capture? Are there any topics or experiences that should not be represented through art?
  • Function & Purpose: What is the value of art? What is art? How should we judge or evaluate art?

About Our Summer Program

The Ethical Leadership in the Arts Summer Program invites young women to engage with various art forms through the lenses of ethics and leadership, with the guidance of expert artists and ethicists. This one-week virtual program will partner with women artists who will share their experiences of navigating ethical issues within the art world, finding their unique voice, and developing their craft. Participants will engage with three different art mediums: portraiture, spoken word poetry, and photography. There will also be a guest panel of art professionals from the theater, art curation, and music world that will reflect on their views and experiences of ethics and leadership in their professional lives as artists.
Each day participants will engage in in-depth ethical discussions around questions that naturally arise when engaging with art and the artistic process, such as: What role does a person’s identity have in their art and our viewing of their art? What does taking risks look like for artists, and when does this cross an ethical line? What does it mean to be an ethical leader? What is the power of art? How should artists use this power? Participants will also embark on a virtual field trip to a museum. At the end of the program, participants will select one artwork to prepare for a virtual gallery show that captures themselves as ethical leaders or explores the ethical and unethical dimensions of leadership.

Summer Program Schedule

  • 10:00-10:15 a.m.: Class check-in
  • 10:15-10:40 a.m.: Visiting Artist Presentation
  • 10:40-10:45 a.m.: Break
  • 10:45 a.m.-11:45 a.m.: Hands-on art lesson with visiting artist
  • 11:45-11:50 a.m.: Break
  • 11:50 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Creativity time - independent work with one-on-one check-ins with staff
  • 12:30-1:00 p.m.: Lunch break
  • 1:00-1:25 p.m.: Class art share
  • 1:25-2:15 p.m.: Ethics discussion
  • 2:15-2:30 p.m.: Reflection and wrap up
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

Participation Details

DATES: July 13-17, 2020

TIME: 10:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

LOCATION: Remotely

WHO: The program is open to rising 9th through 12th-grade girls, both KPS, and non-KPS students. This is an all-girls program, and caped at 20 participants.

COST: $400
Scholarships are available.

REQUIRED MATERIALS: Computer with Internet access and Zoom video conferencing capabilities.

Participants who enroll are asked to commit to the full program.

Visiting Artists

List of 3 items.

  • Jasmin Roberts, Spoken Word Poet

    Jasmin Roberts is a queer trans activist and writer born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Jasmin competes in poetry slams at the national level, and placed 4th overall at the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam competition. They are an alumnus of Oberlin College, and hold a graduate degree in Developmental Psychology from UMass Amherst. Jasmin is active in the queer youth community, leads youth and adult workshops on intersectionality & art as activism, and was the keynote speaker for the 2016 Massachusetts GLSEN conference.
  • Jenny Debanu, Portraiture

    Jenny Debanu paints realistic portraits using photographs as references. Her paintings attempt to explore the intersection between photography and the realist tradition in portraiture. Jenny has shown her work in solo and group shows throughout the country, including several exhibits in NYC. Jenny has a BA from Barnard College and an MFA from Yale University. She has taught at various universities as a visiting artists as well as received several art fellowships, including the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts in 2004. 
  • Laura Larson, Photographer

    Laura Larson has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, including Art in General, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, SFCamerawork, Susanne Vielmetter/L.A. Projects, and Wexner Center for the Arts. Her exhibitions have been reviewed in ArtforumHyperallergicThe New York TimesThe New Yorker, and Time Out New York, and she has published artist projects in CabinetDocuments, and The Literary Review. Her first book, Hidden Mother (Saint Lucy Books, 2017), was shortlisted for the Aperture/Paris Photo First Book Prize. She is the recipient of grants from Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ohio Arts Council and the New York Foundation of the Arts, and of residency fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Santa Fe Art Institute, and Ucross Foundation. Since 2002, she’s presented four one-person exhibitions with Lennon, Weinberg Gallery in New York and her work is represented by Contemporary Art Matters in Columbus, OH. Larson is currently at work on two book projects: City of Incurable Women, a collaboration with writer Maud Casey, and All the Women I Know

2020 Facilitators

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  • 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.

Panel Members

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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
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.