Walking through the lobby of the Pittsburgh VA Medical Center one day, I was struck by an amazing exhibit of photographs taken by homeless Veterans. Getting to view life through that lens was a powerful way to connect with their experiences, and it made a deep impression that stuck with me: art can touch us in profound ways.
After hearing in person and through surveys from women Veterans that they often feel unrecognized, their service and sacrifice unappreciated – sometimes even within VA facilities – I began to ponder how encouraging women Veterans to share their stories through creative initiatives could be instrumental in shaping how we all see women Veterans.
VA’s Center for Women Veterans (CWV) is honored and excited to partner with Veteran Artist Program (VAP) to do just that—empower women Veterans to tell their stories and provide a way for others to connect with their experiences. CWV and VAP will showcase art by 10 women Veterans at 10 VA medical centers around the United States in March 2017, to coincide with Women’s History Month. March 2017 marks a significant milestone for women Veterans, as it is also the 100-year anniversary of the women serving in the regular U.S. military with full military rank and equal pay. What better way to celebrate the contributions of women Veterans than to ensure they are recognized and honored?
The exhibit will include digital still prints of paintings, photography, and mixed media. Biographical storyboards will accompany each work, to include a “before” image of the woman Veteran artist in uniform (conducting a mission, or serving in some capacity), an “after” photo of how she is engaging in her community presently, and a short bio, highlighting her military and creative journeys. We believe this is a powerful narrative that shows women Veterans as not only a key part of our military, but also as active participants in our communities across America.
Interested in participating? The call for submissions is now open! Submit the following items via email to firstname.lastname@example.org – but don’t delay; the deadline is Dec. 31, 2016.
- High resolution, digital image of the artwork
- 100 word bio, including military experience, creative background, and current professional goals
- Picture of your time in the military (a traditional military headshot will work, but an action photo is preferable)
- Current “after” photo, representing who you are now as a Veteran
VAP and CWV will announce the selected artwork and participating VA medical centers Jan. 15, 2017, and begin preparation for the March 2017 exhibits and artist talkback.
Please share this information widely and encourage women Veterans you know to submit digital images of their art today – join us in raising awareness of the service, resilience, and creativity of women Veterans!