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Ethics and the Arts

This program encourages ethical dialogue and reflection around ethical questions that arise organically when interacting with art.

The mission of the Ethics in the Arts program is to explore ethical issues in the arts, through art making and art viewing. 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 awareness 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?


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 year's theme is public vs. private art. We will explore the ethical issues that arise when an artist creates art for oneself, a broad audience vs specific audience, and commissioned work. Visiting speakers will share ethical dilemmas they have experienced as artists, including as street artists and muralists. We will go on a field trip to Philadelphia for a walking and learning tour through the Mural Arts Project of Philly. Our visiting artist this year will be a local muralist who will work with participants to design and paint a mural on campus. Lunch will be catered each day.


  • Students will engage in a two-hour (optional) meeting with the mural artist in April or May to develop ideas for the mural project
  • During the July program, students will work with the mural artist to paint the mural on campus, working in small groups of 3-4 at a time.
  • On Wednesday during our July program, participants will go on a field trip to the Mural Arts Project in Philadelphia
  • Throughout the program, visiting speakers will present ethical dilemmas raised by public art for participants to discuss
  • Participants will engage in additional art projects and activities to explore the ethical dimensions of public vs private art
  • Participants will develop ethical thinking and dialogue skills through different interactive activities and dialogue circles

Meet the Facilitators and Guest Speakers


DATES:  Ethics in the Arts took place in Summer 2023. Stay tuned for 2024 programming.

WHO: The program is open to rising 7-12th grade students and open to KPS and non-KPS students. This program is coed, and capped at 32 participants total.

Students who participated in past summer ethics and art programs are invited to attend, as each summer offering is uniquely different.

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