Posted by Steve Hilton

Be inspired to get involved at this co-lecture by Michael McCarthy and Steve Dilley, described in the program guide as follows:

We teach ceramics to patients in a residential psychiatric hospital. What happens when those working in clay, are in deep personal crisis, trying to transform their own lives? Does clay shape us as much as we shape it? Do these struggles in clay illuminate the creative process in general?

For deeper context, Steve Dilley provided the following information about his experiences that led him to start the Veteran Art Project:

When I talk to this NCECA family of artist and educators I know I speak to my tribe.  This tribe is passionate about art and the effect it has had on our lives and the lives of our students. This is powerful medicine we wield.  We are the dreaming sewing machines working repairing this American dream.  As many of you may already know.

Art Changes lives.

Currently there are 22 Veteran suicides a day.

This number is astounding and unbelievable.

This is a critical time for our Nation’s military and service members who were deployed to either OIF (Operation Iraqi freedom) Iraq and OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) Afghanistan.  These Veterans are returning home from long deployments to a civilian workforce that is just now recovering from the great recession.

Included in this returning tide of military personnel are many service members who return to families suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma.) There is a great and unmet need for normalizing activities that these service members may use to decompress and to have a chance to normalize relations with themselves, spouses, and family members. These Veterans are seeking out their educational benefits at colleges across the United States. Many of these colleges have operating Art and or Ceramic labs.  I believe this is a great time for the Art community to reach out and help create, heal and take the lead in welcoming our Veterans and their families back home.

I believe that if you do clay in this day and age.  I am sure you understand the influence the G.I. Bill had on returning WW2 service members lives, American society and on American Arts & Letters from the last century whose lasting influence is still felt to this day.

The Veterans Art Project is a fee free ceramics and bronze casting art activity that is open to Active duty, Veterans and Spouses.  All VETART classes are funded by a generous private donor. VETART classes are currently being offered at 3 different locations, Saddleback College, Mission Viejo Ca, Arizona Western College, Yuma Az and California Sculpture Academy in Fallbrook Ca.

The Veterans Art Project was initially conceived through research surrounding the glazes of Glen Lukens an American ceramicist and glaze master who taught at the University of Southern California.  Through this research it was revealed that Glen Lukens allowed in his studio, what were then World War 2 Veterans who were coined with the description of “shell-shocked.” Mr. Lukens allowed these Veterans to work in the ceramics studio.  He mentions that many Veterans having spent time in the studio moved on to healthy, and productive lives.

This research into nontraditional treatments for PTS symptoms and an unfulfilled personal need to help our returning military personnel motivated me to start the Veterans Art Project. Currently the Veterans Art Project has teamed with doctoral candidates looking for non-medication based, complimentary treatment modalities for the efficacy of 3-d Art making for the treatment of PTS symptoms.

To this day the Veterans Art Project has offered hundreds of classes and supported Veteran Artists through exhibits, and financial scholarships. Our First class was offered in the fall of 2010 at Grossmont College in El Cajon, Ca. The Veterans Art Project is looking to expand our offerings and to have the Ceramic community help in this critical time of need for our returning war fighters.

 

Categories: 2015 Conference, Featured