National Veterans Art Museum to host two events as part of Chicago Artists Month

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In partnership with Arts Alive/45, the National Veterans Art Museum will unveil a new mural installation created by veteran artists and host a poetry reading and performance arts piece this October

CHICAGO, IL – On Saturday, October 5, 2013 the National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) and Arts Alive/45 (AA45) will host the unveiling of a new mural created by two independent artists at 1:00pm and a poetry performance event at the NVAM at 3 p.m. as part of Chicago Artists Month.

The mural will be unveiled in the parking courtyard behind 4023 N. Milwaukee Avenue, between Six Corners and the NVAM on the east side. The mural installation is composed of two distinct creations, each by a veteran who responded to the call for proposals, “How I’ve Changed What I See,” issued in March.

Artist Jeff Kierna is a disabled veteran who served as Forward Observer for an infantry company in the army with a  three year active duty enlistment. He served two combat tours during those three years and was stationed in the Korean DMZ and between Fallujah and Ramadi in Iraq. Kierna lives and works in Chicago as a student and security guard and is on the waiting list for the Chicago Fire Department.

Of his piece, entitled “Scars Make Warriors,” Kierna says, “My inspiration for this work has been my own struggle, pain, and road to recovery. The images reflect the things that have changed me as a man and the scariness of my personal journey. The human image is faceless to represent the unlimited possibility tomorrow brings and how each of our personal situations is never set in stone.” Kierna’s work is an 8 foot by 20 foot aerosol mural on metal panels designed to be able to tour.

Artist Phil Cashdollar is an Army veteran who served as a Military Advisor in Vietnam from 1970-1971. Cashdollar is now retired and living in Indiana and pursuing his love of art. Cashdollar’s love of art started before his time in the service and has grown in the years since. Cashdollar’s portion of the mural is entitled “Tears of War” and will be painted in acrylic on metal sign panels.

Both artists will be available at the opening to discuss how art changes what they see, as well as the search, expression and validation that comes through art.

The poetry performance is a collaborative piece between poet Carma Lynn Park and visual artist Scottie Kersta-Wilson with guest dancer Ginger Jensen. Entitled “The Poet’s Eye, The Artist’s Voice,” their work explores themes of war and nature using projected images, haiku-like poems and movement. Of the performance and collaboration with the NVAM and AA45, Park says, “We are pleased to have this opportunity to put so many different kinds of art together in one afternoon. Working with the NVAM and AA45 will help us reach a broader audience to share the experience of war and its consequences.”

Alderman John Arena celebrated the collaboration, stating, “I’m excited to have these engaging and important works at Six Corners. This is another example of why the National Veterans Art Museum and Chicago Artists Month are so important to our community.”

Past Chicago Artists Month performances by Park and Kersta-Wilson have taken place at Regulus Coffee House Company, Voice of the City, and Heartland Cafe.

About Chicago Artists Month
The 18th annual Chicago Artists Month (CAM) is an open call to individual artists and organizations for events that feature Chicago-based artists, in a public venue in Chicago, during the month of October. A marketing initiative of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, CAM showcases the work Chicago’s independent artists and arts organizations, highlights arts activity in Chicago neighborhoods, drives tourism, encourages collaboration and provides opportunities for creative expression and education for all Chicagoans. Learn more about CAM at http://www.chicagoartistsmonth.org/.

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 visitwww.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 www.nvam.org/collection-online. Follow on Twitter

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