Memorial Day: the beginning of summer, the first day to wear white, the best day to buy a washing machine (sales, people!), bbq season has begun. I’m not at all sure how we got here, but here we are. A good friend is a therapist who works with returning soldiers and I thank goodness that not only is she a part of the soldiers’ lives, but also of mine. It reminds me that Memorial Day is not a national bbq holiday. And that ‘happy memorial day’ is not a thing.
When BR McDonald returned home after serving four tours in Afghanistan, his return to the arts was not the same as a non-vet. Veterans must re-create themselves in order to serve in a world so different from the world they leave at home. Their re-entry to this world is fraught with the pain and suffering they experienced and witnessed while serving, the stigma of being a vet, and the process of re-creating themselves yet again to participate in the world they left behind. Some of these vets were artists before their service and need help re-connecting with the art community. In 2009 BR McDonald created the Veteran Artist Program to aid in this reconnection. Like any other artist, veterans create their art to express themselves. What better way can we come to understand the world our vets experience than through their art? VAP focuses on art in 5 areas: visual arts, performing arts, writing/literature, film/video, and new/interactive media.
So thank you veterans and welcome home. I’m looking forward to what you have to share. And I beg of the rest of the art community, let’s open our arms wide.
Keep in touch,
If you’d like to also offer a small gesture to those still serving, consider sending a cup of joe…..