Uniting US Presents Veterans History Art Project at The Library of Congress

By Editorial Team on June 27, 2022

Tue, 28 June 2022 - Thu, 30 June 2022

Work by Beverly Ryan. Image courtesy Uniting US.
Events: June 28-30, 2022 at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 pm to 3 pm daily
June 30, 12:30 p.m. Induction Ceremony of Veterans Oral Histories into VHP Collection

As a part of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) Awareness Month, 35 Uniting US artists from around the United States in collaboration with The Library of Congress Veterans History Project are observing 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.

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 US veteran artists who have used art as a means to heal for several types of trauma and as a wellness practice.

The series will include two daily sessions at 10 a.m. an 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.

“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.

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.

“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 Monic 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.”

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.

Uniting US founders promote therapeutic art for self-expression and healing as well as a mode of wellness and community building. Through the creation, exhibition, and public event opportunities, military, veterans and family members artists are able to showcases their artistic expression though family friendly arts festivals and events. As part of national programming, Uniting US artists have lived in every US state and territory and in more than 50 countries worldwide. In addition to unique, inspiring, and empowering art and performance events, Uniting US programming supports education and outreach related to military service and honor those who have served and support capturing the critically important oral histories of veterans to preserve for families and make available to the public through the Library of Congress Veteran History Project. From Conflict to Creativity begins our journey of showcasing arts with narratives to celebrate healing, wellness, resilience and building stronger communities.

Uniting US arts and volunteers are available for interviews with the media upon availability. Learn more about the 35 demonstrating artists and other programs at UNITINGUS.ORG.