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Esprit de Corps: New Exhibition Unveiled Today At Chicago's National Veterans Art Museum

The National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) will celebrate the first anniversary in its location of 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue with a reception to unveil its newest art exhibition, Esprit de Corps, an exhibition highlighting the spirit of creative resilience.

The show will be open to the public through August 1, 2014. Esprit de Corps is sponsored by Omicron, Bank of America and Paratech Incorporated.

Drawing on breakthroughs in using art to assist with reintegration of veterans and for therapeutic expression, Esprit de Corps traces the process and roles of therapeutic art from the act of initial perception through expression of experience to an ultimate communal sharing and understanding of the real impact of war.

Highlights of programming based on Esprit de Corps include a series of therapeutic art workshops as well as an expanded and interactive arts and civics education programming.

Esprit de Corps features art by nine veterans of Vietnam, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terror. The NVAM will be free and open to the public with programming and light refreshments from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. on Veterans Day, November 11, 2013. A keynote address by Dr. Jack Bulmash, Chief of Staff of the Hines VA Hospital will take place at 6 p.m. A color guard by the JROTC from Taft High School will take place at noon.

Featured artists include Joseph Fornelli, Jerry Frech, Jonathan Hancock, Peter Sullivan, Benjamin Suarez, Thomas Gilbertson, Theodore Gostas, Richard Williams and Erica Slone.

Esprit de Corps is presented in conjunction with performances of Veterans' Voices.

Veterans' Voices was created by Erasing the Distance with students from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and focuses on the mental health issues facing servicemen and women, veterans, and their families.

Veterans' Voices opens on November 11 at 7:30 p.m. (at the Filament Theatre, downstairs from the National Veterans Art Museum) and runs for six performances.

Tickets and more information is available from Erasing the Distance.

The National Veterans Art Museum will also offer free creative art workshops for youth ages 3 - 18 during the performances on November 12, 13, 18 and 19 (so that parents can attend the performance).


Iraq War veteran Jerry Frech has loaned a series of journals that he kept during his service in the U.S. Air Force in Security Forces in 2006. These journals record his thoughts and observations in writing and in sketches. Of his journals, Frech notes, "I found myself surrounded by negativity, sorrow and, yes, drama. Without a lot of options to get away from all of the negativity, I escaped the only way I knew how: art."

Jerry Frech, Journal Series, 2.jpg(ENLARGE)


Erica Slone, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force for six years who served multiple deployments in the Global War on Terror, will serve as an artist-in-residence with an open studio. Of her interactive and on-site work, Slone comments, "I have spent the past five years researching military veterans' experiences and making art around bridging the disconnection between veterans and contemporary civilian society. Through giving physical form to my own experiences of war, and through social engagement art projects, my work aims to create space for and facilitate intergroup dialogue around current, divisive, socio-political issues."



Comments welcome.


Posted on November 11, 2013

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