Currently on view through December 31.
Curated by Arts Coordinator Brendan Smith
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Throughout history and across the globe, war has been a constant force and a reckoning with the darker side of our nature. Politicians declare wars, but it is the soldiers who fight and die in them, while others return home with lasting scars of both body and mind. Veterans often are forgotten while they face a new host of challenges: traumatic injuries, PTSD, a lack of direction, or trouble finding a job.
Art has provided an avenue of healing for veterans, providing an outlet for creativity and a vehicle of expression for past trauma which may be entrenched beyond words. The Uniting US nonprofit organization (unitingus.org) helps veterans from across the country create art as a means of therapy and healing, as well as providing financial support for their families.
This new exhibition at the Takoma Park Community Center features a wide range of compelling artwork by Uniting US veteran artists, including paintings, photography, sculpture, ceramics and mixed-media work. The artwork spans the breadth of human emotions through grief and pain but also joy for new beginnings.
About the artists
Ted Berkowitz is a Vietnam War veteran whose service in the Army provided him an opportunity to perfect his artistic representation of service, sacrifice and war. Honoring all those who served before and after him, Ted’s realistic images connect historical references, art history and current issues.
“I love to discuss my artwork and share my perspective of the timeless themes through history and weaving in current issues. Thank you to Uniting US for supporting the healing arts and providing a platform for all levels of artists from all backgrounds to share our stories and artistic creativity.”
As a teenager, Maria Carrion worked as an artist in New York creating paintings for churches and other commissions. Determined to be of service to her country, she enlisted in the Marines. After serving, she returned to New York to passionately pursue opportunities to promote veterans and wellness. The painting titled Sister’s United won a national artwork prize from Jiggy Puzzles and will be featured in a new puzzle in 2021.“Artwork helps create a visual picture for my emotions and experiences in the service. I sell my art to support struggling women veterans gain independence. I fully endorse Uniting US’s work to inspire, empower and unite communities through the arts.”
Cristin Dy is a disabled Air Force veteran who is influenced by her Southern heritage and life experiences. She created art during her childhood and has had many influences along the way. Most of her artwork consists of abstract painting, but she also enjoys craftwork and folk art. “I make art because it is freeing, humbling, forgiving and subjective. Making art plays a big role in helping me manage my chronic pain and overcome obstacles. I am so extremely grateful for the opportunity to show my art to the public. Uniting US has created a great network of veteran artists who have become part of my everyday life. Sharing art gives me something to look forward to and gives me a sense of belonging.”
Ehren Tool is a Marine Corps veteran who served during the Gulf War as a field military police officer. Since 2001, he has made more than 20,000 ceramic cups which he gives to service members and their families and anyone who asks for one. Each cup is unique and features images representing the pain and deadly nature of war. Ehren believes peace is the only adequate war memorial. His work has been included in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection and featured in the New York Times Magazine and other publications. He received his MFA in 2005 from the University of California Berkeley.
Takoma Park Arts Arts and Humanities Division Takoma Park Community Center 7500 Maple Avenue More information at takomaparkmd.gov/arts