Tag Archives: National Veterans Art Museum

Getting to Know Chicago’s National Veterans Art Museum

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The National Veterans Art Museum, Get to Know It:

Brought to You By Your Curated Information Blog, Create & Be Well

Courtesy of National Veterans Art Museum

Courtesy of National Veterans Art Museum

     The arts have acquired a central place in the lives of many veterans over the last 30 years. I will be publishing a Resource Guide to the Arts and Health for veterans this spring. One of the gems I have uncovered in my research is my favorite Chicago museum that nobody knows about, the National Veterans Art Museum.

     The National Veterans Art  Museum (NVAM) now has a permanent collection of over 2,500 pieces and has regular exhibitions and other arts-related programs for veterans. It began as a museum for the work of veterans from the Vietnam War and expanded to include the work of all veterans. This podcast from WBEZ 91.5 provides an excellent introduction to a museum that deserves to be better known. Be sure to visit if you are in the Chicago area.

    The images in this post are all from the National Veterans Art Museum collection and exhibitions.

Listen…View…Share…Support the Work of Veterans in the Arts!

“We learn about the inspiration behind a new mixed-media exhibition called “Operation Mom’s Couch”, now featured at the National Veterans Art Museum on Chicago’s Northwest Side.”

Source: Getting to Know Chicago’s National Veterans Art Museum

Courtesy of the National Veterans Art Museum

Courtesy of the National Veterans Art Museum

Courtesy of National Veterans Art Museum

Courtesy of National Veterans Art Museum

The Creative Apothecary Encourages the Work of the National Veterans Art Museum!

Patton grandson promotes storytelling | The Lawton Constitution

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Courtesy of National Veterans Art Museum

Courtesy of National Veterans Art Museum

On this Memorial Day weekend, I want to share some of the interesting research I have been doing for my book “Shaping Lives, Transforming Communities: Creative Expression in the Dance of Life.” One focus of the book is how the arts have been central to helping returning veterans past and present renew and transform their lives. There are many wonderful organizations involved in this: the National Veterans Art Museum, Military Experience and the Arts, the Veterans Art Program, and others. They will all be featured in the book and in the series of resource guides that are growing out of it.

Recently the wonderful organization Military Experience and the Arts had its second annual symposium in Lawton, Oklahoma. One of the participants was the grandson of World War II General George Patton. He emphasized the importance of storytelling in the process of  healing from trauma. Check out this article from the Lawton Constitution.

READ…REFLECT…SHARE…SUPPORT THE ARTS FOR VETERANS IN YOUR COMMUNITY.

Patton grandson promotes storytelling | The Lawton Constitution.

Courtesy of the National Veterans Art Museum

Courtesy of the National Veterans Art Museum

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The Kyle Group, Our Work Is Keeping Creativity Alive.

Ars Bellum | Beyond the Battlefield

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Courtesy of the National Veterans Art Museum

Courtesy of the National Veterans Art Museum

Minnesota often leads in new developments that show the way forward in different areas of living. “Ars Bellum,” the organization featured in this post is providing much needed services to veterans returning from the traumatic experiences of war. The organization offers mentor in art and writing to veterans and works on making the public more aware of what PTSD is and how it affects the returning veterans and their families.

This is just one of many organizations that will be featured in our Veterans’ Resource Guide to the Arts and Healing. Please support the publication of this important resource by giving to the Go Fund Me site listed below or contact me if you would prefer to do a private donation. You can be anonymous on Go Fund Me as well.

http://www.gofundme.com/veteransresourceguide

 

Ars Bellum | Beyond the Battlefield.

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Abstract Mandala Regina MJ Kyle, 2014

Abstract Mandala
Regina MJ Kyle, 2014

The Kyle Group, Our Work Is Keeping Creativity Alive

Portraits of war veterans show true cost of war – CBS News

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10288739_10203755289179749_7048792953935137443_nThe National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago is a wonderful place, not as well known as it needs to be. I am featuring it in my book in progress “Shaping Our Lives, Transforming Our Communities: Creativity and the Arts in a Changing World.”

Scott Pelley did a great report on CBS news, one well worth watching if you haven’t seen it. If you live near the Chicago area, I strongly urge you tp go study these powerful images and continue to visit and support this dynamic institution.

WATCH…READ…LISTEN…MEDITATE ON THE POWER OF THE PORTRAITS…SUPPORT THE NATIONAL VETERANS ART MUSEUM.

 

Portraits of war veterans show true cost of war – CBS News.

 

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Veteran Making the Milwaukee Steles

Veteran Making the Milwaukee Steles

One of My Favorite Museums: NVAM show displays the surrealism of war – Chicago Tribune

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Completed Minnesota Stele

Completed Minnesota Stele

 

You know that I am doing research on the arts and veterans, looking especially at how the arts are improving the lives of veterans from all the wars. I am a great admirer of the National Veterans Art Museum. This new show on Surrealism is very powerful. Go if you are in Chicago.

The stele is not part of this exhibition, just like to share it as often as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NVAM show displays the surrealism of war – Chicago Tribune.

Veterans and the Creative Arts

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Making the Milwaukee Steles

Making the Minnesota Steles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the areas I am exploring in some depth right now is the role the creative arts play in the lives of active and returning veterans. Do we know how important this has been and what rich and diverse art pieces these men and women have created? I think most communities are not aware of these developments. The image to the right shows an artist-veteran working on one of the steles created for the Turning Points exhibit developed by  the Veterans in the Arts project in St. Paul represent major transformations in the lives of veterans.

In ancient times, steles were used to mark boundaries, to transmit information, to commemorate military victories. An obelisk is a particular kind of stele and in our time one commemoration of the Holocaust is a field of empty steles.

VETERANS IN THE ARTS

This organization, founded by a former Air Force veteran Suzanne Asher, evolved from her experiences with two groups who brought workshops to Milwaukee in 2009, the Combat Paper Project and the Warrior Writers Project. She had the experience of taking her old uniforms and transforming them into handmade paper. In her introduction to the organization she notes the importance of the arts in the lives of veterans: “The experience of violent conflict and trauma seeks resolution in an individual. Left unresolved, it can lead to inhibition and repression of wellbeing, and sometimes can lead to violence against themselves or their loved ones. Resolved, it can lead to a deeper engagement and reverence for life that can enhance the life of the individual and their contribution to their family and the community.” The arts are powerful instruments for resolution.

Veterans in the Arts has a comprehensive program supported by various partners. There are classes in art, music, photography, theater workshops, woodworking and writing. Forty veterans have the opportunity to attend an art retreat. The focus of the group is to help the artist-veteran to navigate the professional world of the arts.

http://www.veteransinthearts.org

 

NATIONAL VETERANS ART MUSEUM

Enemies Meeting in the Rain John Plunkett, Vietnam Vet

Enemies Meeting in the Rain
John Plunkett, Vietnam Vet

 

 

This is probably the art museum that nobody knows. It is a stunning collection of art by veterans from the Vietnam War to the present. Located in Chicago, it has evolved over the years from collecting and exhibiting only the work of Vietnam era vets to including pieces from artist-veterans from all the wars from Vietnam to the present day.

The current exhibit, on through August 1 is “Esprit de Corps: An Exhibit Highlighting the Spirit of Creative Resilience.” The guide notes that the exhibition “traces the process and roles of therapeutic art from the act of initial perception through expression of experience to an ultimate communal sharing of understanding of the impact of war.”

The museum will open in a few days the new exhibition “Surrealism and War.” There is a powerful trailer on the museum’s website. I recommend that you watch it and, if you are in the Chicago area before November, see it for yourself.

http://www.nvam.org

NATIONAL VETERANS CREATIVE ARTS FESTIVAL

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The first and third photos are of veterans performing at the 2013 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. The center photo is of a group of the prize winners at the festival.

This VA sponsored activity grew out of two competitions begun in 1981 at separate VA medical facilities. Muriel Barbour founded VET ARTS at the VA medical center in Richmond, Virginia; Shirley Jefferies established the Performing Arts Competition at the VA center in Waco, Texas. These two ventures merged in 1989 and added drama and dance sections. In 2005 at the St. Louis event, creative writing became a new area for competition. For the 2013 festival, 3,883 veterans from 119 VA medical facilities competed for the prizes and exhibits or performances at the 2013 festival.

The Veterans Administration has integrated the creative arts into their recreation programs at each medical facility. The VA is also working to change the culture in their nursing homes, now called Community Living Centers. In Illinois and Wisconsin they are adding some Green House models to the Community Living Centers. See my post on Innovations in Senior Housing.

I will be posting more examples of veterans in the creative arts over the summer.