- The three-day event will feature artwork of veteran artists who have used art to address trauma
- The series will include multiple artistic disciplines, live art demonstrations, and interactive discussions with the public
- Uniting US will donate their first batch of video-recorded oral histories from veteran artists across the country
Veterans History Project Hosts Live Art Demonstrations and Discussions during Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month
Library Will Receive First Batch of Oral Histories of Veteran Artists, Some of Whom Will Lead Live Art Demonstrations
The Library of Congress Veterans History Project will observe Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month in June with a three-day series of live art demonstrations and discussions about using art as a tool to manage trauma. Hosted in collaboration with Uniting US, a veteran-focused nonprofit arts organization, this six-session series will cover a wide range of artistic disciplines, with both in-person events at the Library and pre-recorded events posted online.
The three-day event, “From Conflict to Creativity: Veteran Artists Showcase,” will take place June 28 through June 30 and will feature artwork from 35 Uniting US veteran artists who have used art as therapy for several types of trauma.
The series will include two daily sessions at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., each covering multiple artistic disciplines, including painting, fiber arts, woodworking, pottery, quilting, collage, watercolor, metalcraft, music and much more. The first five sessions will include live art demonstrations by veteran artists, followed by a half-hour interactive discussion with the public about how veterans use art to help deal with their Post-Traumatic Stress and Military Sexual Trauma.
During the closing ceremony, on June 30, Uniting US will donate their first batch of video-recorded oral histories from veteran artists across the country, which will be added to the growing Veterans History Project collection. The closing event in the Coolidge Auditorium will feature veteran tributes, a stand-up comedy act and a performance from Military Women Musicians Brass Quintet. Louis Celli, host of the “Policy Vets” podcast and Uniting US board member, will serve as master of ceremonies.
“The Veterans History Project is pleased to collaborate with Uniting US in recognition of Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month, and honored to add to the Library of Congress’ permanent collections the stories of service and sacrifice from so many veterans who manage their trauma through the creative process,” said Monica Mohindra, director of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. “We owe them a debt of gratitude and will ensure their voices are not lost to history.”
While serving in the military, veterans may be deployed to war zones, be exposed to training accidents and life-threatening experiences or experience military sexual trauma, all of which may lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the number of veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder varies depending on which conflict they served in but, in any given year, between 11% and 20% of veterans who served in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom live with the condition, compared to 12% of those who served in the Gulf War and 15% of Vietnam veterans.
“Art provides another medium to communicate meaning beyond simple words, and provides more opportunity for positive engagement and connection between the artist and others drawn to the same place,” said AnnMarie Halterman, co-founder of Uniting US.
The presentations will be live at the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Room LJ-119, located at 10 First Street, SE, Washington DC. Veteran artist demonstrations and lectures will simultaneously premiere with closed captioning and remain accessible on VHP's Facebook page, and later on the Library of Congress' YouTube channel and website.
Each session is free and open to the public; however, onsite attendance requires advance registration. This blog post includes information on the daily schedule and links to register for the in-person sessions.
Since descriptions of combat, trauma and sexual assault may be distressing to some, Veterans Affairs Medical Center staff will be onsite to support anyone who may need assistance, or people can call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.
About Uniting US
Uniting US is a nonprofit organization with the mission to inspire, empower and unite military, veterans, their families and the communities in which they live through the arts. Founded by AnnMarie Halterman, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and Tiffany Wheeler, an award-winning middle school teacher, Uniting US relies on a volunteer workforce to promote art as a creative path to wellness. For more information, please visit Unitingus.org.
About the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.
Media Contact: Maria Peña, [email protected]