Elizabeth McClancy paints the faces of social crises - crises that are either off the radar or insufficiently understood. Her art includes its social context and the circumstances of its exhibition, to the end that the viewing of the art, the exhibition event itself and, ultimately, a significant percentage of the art's sales will measurably promote awareness and support of front-line effort social change organizations.

In creating a series, McClancy first works with a social change partner or partners to understand the plight of the victims and their interaction with crisis perpetrators and enablers.  Then they work together to figure out a crisis' "point of entry" into public consciousness -- the spark of understanding that will ignite concern that turns to action.  Once that is established, she creates or finds the photographic images on which to base the paintings. 

When the paintings are complete, the exhibitions are arranged by and then leveraged on behalf of the partnering organization. Each exhibition's gala opening functions as a top-tier fundraising event
, expanding the partner's network and affording the media a new point of reference to the crisis.  Ultimately, the paintings will be auctioned or sold with a significant percentage of the artist's profits going to the front line organization(s).

McClancy's debut Democratic Principles series has included exhibitions of the paintings and a coffee-table book by the same name. As Senator John F. Kerry said in his Foreword to the book, “The purpose of the DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES [series] is to rekindle in the American people awareness of the serious principles that are central to the founding of our democracy and to its future.  To understand the necessity of those principles for the survival of our democracy is to recognize the paramount importance of defending those principles against all who would subvert them in the interest of power or personal gain.”  Each painting hangs with a statement by its subject on a cherished principle of democracy, related to a 21st century issue.  In the same way, the book pairs each reproduction with a compelling essay by each subject.

A number of future series are planned:
  • The Faces of the Intellectually Disabled
  • The Faces of Genocide 
  • The Faces of the Madonna
  • The Faces of the Homeless
"There is something about the solitary moment in front of a painting that allows profound and enduring communication. It is my fervent hope that these exhibitions will have a significant effect upon how these tragedies are understood and supported." E McClancy, 2010