“Esprit de Corps”, an exhibition highlighting the spirit of creative resilience, opens November 11, 2013.
On Veterans Day, Monday, November 11, 2013, the National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) will honor Veterans Day with the opening reception of “Esprit de Corps”, an exhibition highlighting the spirit of creative resilience. Admission to the NVAM will be free from 12 p.m. through 9 p.m. with light refreshments offered from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. A keynote address will commence at 6 p.m. by Dr. Jack M. Bulmash, Hospital Chief of Staff of the Hines VA Hospital. At 7:30 p.m., patrons are invited downstairs to the Filament Theatre Company for the premiere of “Veterans’ Voices”, a documentary performance by Erasing the Distance.
“Esprit de Corps” is taken from the French and means “spirit of the body”—in military contexts, it refers to group morale, “the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose.” Featuring art by veterans of Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, “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.
Featured artists in “Esprit de Corps” include Vietnam veterans Joe Fornelli and Ted Gostas and post-9/11 veterans Jerry Frech, Jon Hancock, Peter Sullivan, and Erica Slone. 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.”
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.”
Keynote speaker Dr. Jack M. Bulmash is the Hospital Chief of Staff of the Hines VA hospital. He joined the VHA and Hines VA Hospital on July 7, 2007 as Associate Chief of Staff for Geriatrics and Extended Care after a thirty-year practice in Geriatrics within the private sector. Dr. Bulmash graduated from the University of Illinois with an MD degree and after his internship joined the United States Army serving in Vietnam as a Battalion Surgeon.
NVAM Executive Director Levi Moore celebrated Dr. Bulmash’s keynote address, noting, “We welcome Dr. Bulmash to speak directly to issues of art therapy and therapeutic art and their potential for helping servicemen and women grow and develop following their military experiences.”
“Veterans Voices ” was created with students from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and focuses on the mental health issues facing servicemen and women, veterans, and their families. Of the Veterans Day collaboration, Susan Zielinski, Therapeutic Art Coordinator for the NVAM says, “We are so pleased to have an opportunity to work with Erasing the Distance to expand the ways in which people look at and think about veteran experiences, especially the creative resilience behind many of the visual and performing arts.”
“Veterans’ Voices” will be performed on November 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 & 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave. The NVAM will be free and open to the public from 10 a.m. through 7:30 p.m. on November 12, 13, 19 and 20.
“Esprit de Corps” will be on display from November 11, 2013 to August 1, 2014.
About the National Veterans Art Museum
The National Veterans Art Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of art inspired by combat and created by veterans. No other gallery in the world focuses on the subject of war from an artistic perspective, making this collection truly unique. The National Veterans Art Museum addresses both historical and contemporary issues related to military service in order to give patrons of all backgrounds insight into the effects of war and to provide veterans an artistic outlet to work through their military and combat experiences.
The National Veterans Art Museum is located at 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. The National Veterans Art Museum will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is free. For group admission reservations, call the Museum at 312/326-0270 or visit http://www.nvam.org.
Patrons of the museum can access art from the permanent collection and biographical information on the artists through the NVAM Collection Online, a recently launched online and high-resolution archive of every piece of art in the museum’s permanent collection. The NVAM Collection Online can be found at http://www.nvam.org/collection-online.