Saturday, January 10, 2009

Join Chicago's Vet Art Project in Fostering Creative Military Veteran and Civilian Artist Collaborations

The Vet Art Project keeps on marching right along.

Last month, I had such a great time attending one of the many outreach and community engagement events that VAP's lead artist and creator, Lisa Rosenthal, has organized since October.

What a shining effort!

Two more lead-up events are taking place this month before all of the work blossoms into February's month long Vet Art Project: Sharing Stories of War to Help Our Veterans Find Peace exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center.

In educational interest, article(s) quoted from extensively.

Remaining events:

Soldier's Heart: An Introduction to War and the Soul
Mon., Jan. 12th, 2009, 7 p.m.
Lake Bluff Public Library
123 E. Scranton Avenue
Lake Bluff, IL 60044

Mini-workshop for veterans and community members demonstrating how war affects us, the soul wound from combat, ways to assist veterans, ourselves. War and the Soul, a book by Ed Tick, and the Vet Art Project and other Chicago-area veterans projects will be discussed.

No fee Open to all.


Call for Creative Arts Therapists Proposals
Submission Deadline: Wed., Jan. 14, 2009
Download proposal form

Seeking the expertise of creative arts therapists and selected others to help shape the Vet Art Project experience for all participants and help foster the creation of collaborative partnerships. People connect to their own journey and to others in many ways—some by talking, some by writing, some by a shared hands-on activities.

Please consider submitting a proposal to lead a one-time program. Submission deadline is January 14. Thank you for your interest in assisting veterans, their family members, and all Americans to bear witness to how war affects us all.


Artists Orientation Workshop for the Vet Art Project
Tues., Jan 27th, 2009, 7 p.m.
Chicago Dramatists [Directions]
1105 W. Chicago Avenue Chicago

This event is an orientation for interested artists to explain how to get involved in the Vet Art Project that culminates in collaboratively created art about war for public performance or viewing. This workshop includes experiential exercises about war as well as information about the structure of the project, which will be in residence in February 2009 at the Chicago Cultural Center in the Studio Theater as part of their Incubator Series. NOTE: Artists working in all media are welcome.

No fee; advance registration recommended by e-mailing

Open to artists working in all genres.


Vet Art Project Incubator
Feb. 2-26, 2009
Studio Theater
Chicago Cultural Center [Info and directions]
Randolph & Michigan Avenues

Community building and writing workshop that builds collaborative partnerships between veterans and artists in all disciplines to tell stories of war. No fee but must be part of entire project. Contact for your specific commitment needs. This project is partially supported by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs’ Theater Department.

New Art About War from the Vet Art Project Incubator
February 23rd, 2009, 7:30 p.m.
Studio Theater
Chicago Cultural Center [Info and directions]
Randolph & Michigan Ave.

No fee but advance reservations are recommended. For tickets: or 312.742.8497.

For any of you not familiar with the Chicago Cultural Center, it is a real jewel of a place. A journey out to see the building's glittering mosaic tile touches and stained glass dome are well worth the trip no matter what the occasion.

VAP's mission statement:

The Vet Art Project creates opportunities for veterans to work in collaboration with artists to create new art about war for public performance and viewing.

The goals of the Vet Art Project are to:

  • Support our veterans
  • Create stronger voices among our veterans
  • Provide new opportunities for artists and
  • Offer a venue to hear the voices of our veterans and artists and
  • Foster discussions about how war affects us all
Lisa Rosenthal recently shared her vision and its steady realization:

The seed for this idea was planted in late 2007 when I heard Ed Tick, author of War and the Soul, on the radio. He gave an impassioned plea to support our veterans, and for community members to witness their truth, and I realized that art and artists could help build a bridge to reconnect us all.

I never dreamed that this seed would blossom into the beautiful reality that is the Vet Art Project--in residence in the Studio Theater of the Chicago Cultural Center in February 2009--culminating in a free public performance of new art about war on Monday, February 23, 7:30 p.m.

While the month of the Vet Art Project lies before us, the accomplishments are already clear:

  • More than a dozen outreach programs have educated the community about the needs of veterans and their families, and provided contributions individuals can make to change lives.
  • More than two dozen veterans and family members of veterans and more than 100 artists, creative arts therapists, psychologists, and others have participated in the Vet Art Project to date.
  • A Veterans Day performance honoring the journey of a soldier created from veterans' writing submitted to the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, was created with the assistance of American Theater Company affiliated artists and ensemble members.
  • Many organizations have made in-kind donations and grants to support our veterans voices including Chicago Dramatists, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Stage Left Theatre, American Theater Company, the Chicago Book Festival (Chicago Public Libraries), the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Puffin Foundation, and most recently the Illinois Humanities Council.
Collaborative partnerships between veterans and artists are already underway for the February 23rd event, yet much work still lies ahead. As you may already know this is the first step in what I hope will become a national movement to activate our artists to help veterans tell stories of war so we will all bear witness to the truth.

If you are a veteran or military family member, civilian artist of any stripe (playwright, actor, filmmaker, musician, dancer, or other) there's a place for you in this project.

As much as we all say we support our troops, unless you know one personally, often civilians don't mix and mingle enough with our military counterparts. Well, that's not going to do. There's a world of experience to share between the two groups, so what are you waiting for? If you're in the Chicago area, there's no reason not to dip your toe into the collaboration stream and give of yourself to this exciting endeavor.

If you aren't able to participate or attend any of the events, but you support the VAP's mission, please consider contributing a few nickels to the pot -- it's tax deductible. Contribute online, or be hip and do it Old School style.


Whether you live in Chicago or not, you can help the Vet Art Project achieve it’s goals by making a tax-deductible donation. The Vet Art Project is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of the Vet Art Project may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

That means:

1. Write your check payable to Fractured Atlas (ONLY make the check out to this nonprofit)
2. On the Memo line write: to support the Vet Art Project
3. Mail your check to: The Vet Art Project, c/o Lisa Rosenthal, 643 Elgin Avenue, Forest Park, IL 60130.
4. If your check doesn’t include your full mailing address, please enclose this with your check.

You will receive a letter acknowledging your donation.

I'll be participating myself (details coming soon on this) as well as attending the February 23 event. Hope to see you there!

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