Fluers de Guerre and the Ed Pashke Art Center– Art as Intervention! (by: Sema’J)


IMG_20150722_232639_resizedWe did a project with Stuart Hall that called for us to make little flowers and hand them out to people on the streets. On the flowers had little notes that strengthen people and gives them hope. A lot of faces were lit up when we gave them flowers , so the mission was completed. When we got to the Ed Paschke museum it was so cool. His art is different and has many colors. The significance in his realistic drawing look so amazing.  We also learned a lot about him and how he thought things out. Overall, the trip was awesome.

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FIRST FIELD TRIP! First Division Museum & Cantigny Park!


NVAM Teen Council went to the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL.  This was the Teen Council’s first field trip together. Here are some quotes from their experiences there about how the First Division Museum differentiates and is similar from the National Veterans Art Museum:

“I was intrigued by the various artifacts and exhibits that vividly depicted the Vietnam war era and the environment in which soldiers were located in the jungle was truly exquisite, as the exhibits and mannequins made history stay alive and still make an impact on the visitors.” – Jessica T.

“The exhibits really had a lot of detail to the point where you felt as if  you were there. It gave a lot of history on the different phases of how the war had changed over time. I also felt like the museum touched on a lot of different era involving the war instead of just focusing on one area of the war.” – Daryl G.

“Yesterday’s museum shows veteran stories through artifacts by showing the facts and the memorabilia from that time. This tells the story because we can look at the artifacts and make conclusions of what it was like for the soldiers at that time. NVAM is a narrative art museum which means that we collect art by veterans for veterans.” – Chris L.

“The museum we visited did a great job at acknowledging veterans through stories. We were able to know more about individual peoples experiences in wars. Similar to the veteran’s museum, it opened up new perspectives”- Jaliyah L.

“There were a variety of differences between NVAM and Cantigny. Cantigny had a more interactive display of their artifacts/art, such as the trench. At NVAM, it’s more of a sleeker look. White walls, art evenly apart from each other as well as an overall gallery walkthrough”- Jessica D.

“The museum had a lot of interesting things inside. I like how at the museum they made out the things of the wars and things of that nature.”- Jalean EG

“The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park was large and had more actual items such as uniforms, weapons, etc. While NVAM’s art is neither pro-military or anti-war, their museum was mostly about the facts about war showing how war evolved over time.”- Carlo F.

“Cantigny park museum focuses on the Vietnam War through the soldiers point of view rather than a civilians point of view unlike NVAM.”- Keon C.

Teen Council Spring Showcase: Art as Activism

Developing a sense of self and an understanding of one’s place in the world is a journey that teenagers are particularly attuned to. The Spring Showcase features work by NVAM Out Loud members prompted by the themes of identity and art as activism. Supplemented by the workshops of veteran artists Eric Garcia, Mel L., and Maurice Costello, the Spring program emphasizes the importance of identity-based artwork. The final art projects are a result of the teens’ reflections about what they value and how they can connect their individuality to an idea larger than themselves. We feel fortunate to have a teen council that represents a variety of backgrounds and as a result, brings rich and distinct perspectives into the process of finding yourself and what you stand for.


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NVAM Out Loud sculpts! (With reflection by Natalia S.)

The teen council took their clay making skills to a whole new level by expressing themselves during a sculpture activity. Since this occurred around the same time as midterms, the lesson was left open-ended, allowing for the teens to create whatever was on their minds. Check out the results!

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Here’s a reflection by NVAM Out Loud member Natalia S.:

“I thought that the sculpture activity was pretty interesting. I was able to physically use my hands and fingers to mold something that appealed to me. At first, I really wasn’t so sure what I should make. I tried making a turtle but it was a bit of a dramatic choice for my first time sculpting and I wasn’t really sure how to go about making it. I kept rolling around the clay and practicing with it in my fingers and then BAM I decided to make corals. I love marine biology. My desire to learn more about the topic inspired me to create an oceanic creature. To add a little more texture and make it stand out, I decided to blend pink and yellow together to create a two toned coral sculpture. It actually turned out super cool! I can’t wait to see how it looks when it dries.”

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NVAM teens participate in Creative Community workshop with Maurice Costello

Last Saturday, veteran artist Maurice Costello led the workshop Unconventional Approaches to Painting where magazine pages were utilized as studies in tone and shading. By using only black, dark grey, light grey, and white acrylic paint, participants colored over portions of the magazine page that matched the tonal value. The results were fascinating! Below are images of the NVAM teen council showing off their work. It seemed like once the teens got the hang of the activity, they used the parameters of the assignment to focus on brushwork and demonstrated the experimentation that can occur when placed in an art making situation with boundaries.

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To find out more about Maurice Costello’s work, visit http://mauricestudios.com/artwork1.html

NVAM Out Loud reacts to 100 Faces of War Experience

The National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) teen council completed an activity where they learned how a shared experience can produce multiple perspectives. Each teen was tasked to find three veterans who had different attitudes concerning their service in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. The experience of the combat veterans was grouped into three categories: positive experience, negative experience, and in-between/unsure. The teens discovered that it was possible for a veteran to have conflicting perspectives when remembering his or her service and that a shared experience as complicated as war never has a straight forward answer. In this video the teens present their findings in front of a veteran’s portrait of their choosing.

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NMMA Field Trip: Johnny G.

Well I had a great time at the National Museum of Mexican Art. I learned a lot about art from my Mexican heritage. For example there was an installation of a real sit-down lawn mower that looked a low-rider. I was interested in that piece, attracted to the golden steering wheel and seat. Our group took pictures in the NMMA as well as outside at a tree. We went on a walking tour of Pilsen. There were a few murals painted on the sides of buildings. One mural that stood out to me showed an old man laying down with barbed wire wrapping around him. That stood out to me because it seemed like the man was locked inside of the barbed wire and could not escape.


Now we are planning our last project. I have a couple of plans. I either want to create a song or a mural. I want to create a song that expresses the different things that we have done and worked on in Teen Council. I would create lyrics for the song, inspired by a workshop we had with Mel L. I was also thinking of creating a mural: there would be a lyrics of a song (that I wrote) on one side and then two people (representing Veterans) painted next to it.

love art peace.

by:johnny j. g.

NVAM Teen Council visits the National Museum of Mexican Art

Last Saturday the NVAM Teen Council went on a field trip to Pilsen and visited the National Museum of Mexican Art. We viewed two exhibitions, Nuestras Historias and Dos Experiencias, Una Identidad, since the focus on identity corresponds with the theme of our upcoming Spring Showcase. After being greeted by the friendly staff, we split into two groups and toured Nuestras Historias. Drawing on the museum’s permanent collection, the exhibit displayed diverse stories of Mexican identity in North America. It was great observing the teens who come from a Mexican background share their experiences with those who were encountering the culture for the first time. We spent a large amount of time in the final gallery showcasing local artists, investigating the motivations behind color choice in Oscar Moya’s Blue Collar/Cuello Azul (2000) or the feeling of nostalgia in The Posadas/Las Posadas (2000) by Carmen Lomas Garza.

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Next door was an intimate showcase of prints by René Arceo, Mexican-born art educator, lecturer and printmaker. It was a great follow up to Nuestras Historias, since he is based in Chicago and is art teacher in a CPS school. Arceo works primarily with print medium of linocuts and his art was organized by the themes of spirituality, portraiture, and indigenous. The teen council responded positively and found familiar elements in Arceo’s work based on their experience in the printmaking workshop with Eric Garcia last February. Of particular help was the decision to display the physical linocut; I found this to be a particularly useful education tool when exploring the artistic process with the teen council. It was during this time the teens began to voice their reactions to the museum and its collection. Some students were amazed at the rich culture and history of Mexican and Mexican-American populations and some who were Mexican realized that there was so much to learn about themselves and where they come from.

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We wrapped up the afternoon by having a picnic in Harrison Park with a feast of pupusas, tortas, tacos and aguas frescas. With the smell of elotes in the air and families out enjoying the weekend, it was a lovely day spent with the teen council. Right before hopping on our school bus, we swung by Hector Duarte’s iconic home for a quick impromptu lesson on public art.

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NVAM Teen Council create self-portraits based on work by Maurice Costello

On March 17, veteran artist Maurice Costello led the teens in an art making activity where they transformed a high contrast selfie into a larger self-portrait. The teens began by taking selfies with a black and white filter which was then enlarged and projected onto the wall of the NVAM Out Loud workspace. Using a technique similar to what Maurice Costello does with his self-portraits, the teens traced an outline of their faces and decided how they would represent themselves using color, shading, and overall design. The resulting self-portraits were a wonderful reflection of the diverse talents and perspectives each teen brings to his or her work.

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The teen council self-portraits will be on display during Maurice Costello’s Creative Community workshop on April 18th.


The Things I Carry: Natalia

This week, I was able to make the interesting realization that we are defined by the things we carry. We all carry different things, representing our differing personalities and likes. I ALWAYS carry a ton of paper with me just because I use so much of it throughout the day and for various assignments. Other times, I just like to jot down some thoughts on paper so that I can remember them or refer to them at a later time.

When I emptied my purse, the contents it carried included lots of loose change and coffee receipts. This is a representation of just how busy I am with my classes and other activities because I literally live off of caffeine every single day.

When my friend Ariana emptied her pockets I was able to see what she carried, which includes the following: An iPhone, headphones, a receipt, and a band pin. I was able to conclude that she loves music and that music is what defines her character.

The Things I Carry: Jaida

We all carry different things in our bags. We might not all have the same things but most of our things might relate to each other. We all like different things – the things in your bag describes who you are. For example, my lip stick shows that no matter where I go I will have it on me in the bag. In the Things They Carried, there are different items on display. For example, bullets – soldiers will always need their bullets or ammo. I noticed my lip stick was shaped like a bullet in The Things They Carried – objects that have the same shape but different uses.we also all had a conversation about how we feel safe her and we all have a good relationship with in the teen council.


The Things I Carry: Melissa

The object I chose was a grenade and it relates to the wallpaper on my phone of Luis Coronel because he is the bomb. I think the contents in my bag show that I don’t carry much and don’t need much to complete my day. The bag I looked at shows that the person is very organized because she had placed her objects in an organized way, for example all of her makeup was placed from largest to smallest. This lesson taught me that every teen is different. I got to see how the contents in our bag can define who we are.


The Things I Carry: Clarissa

In my group we chose a grenade. In war the grenade is a common weapon used. A common thing I use is my phone. My phone relates to this object because people are always blowing up my phone. In my picture I have my earphones and my phone. When I listen to music from my phone the bass would be exploding in my ears. Then you see my lip bomb. Who can’t live without lip bomb. Doing this task made me realize that our bags really can reflect who we are. So if your messy you probably don’t care and/or your lazy.


The Things I Carry: Quinn

My item was grenade I think it was very interesting how it had rust on it. It made me wonder how long it sat out after the time of explosion. The items at the NVAM are full of history and all have very interesting stories behind them and the process in making them. During my observation, two items that I felt were related were the grenade and my lighter because the lighter is used for fire but a lot less aggressive amount of fire and a much smaller amount of damage to the environment. When I looked around the room at my peers’ items I noticed people’s organization skills and I learned about their preferences in hygienic items.


The Things I Carry: Christopher

On Tuesday we all dumped our book bags and laid things out and I saw somethings in peoples book bags that i didn’t expect from some of them. Some people didn’t have much or they didn’t really have anything school related. I had some school related things, but I noticed a lot of similarities. I had my charger, headphones, and my phone and a lot of people had those things, too. I realized that we all may live different lives and have different things, but there was at least one similarity that we had within all of our things.

In addition, since I have my charger, it relates to other people because they need their charger due to emergency, perhaps if their phone was to die or their phone didn’t charge at all at night. no matter what we all need are chargers due to those things because anything could happen.


The Things I Carry: Daryl

One thing that i carry in my back pack everyday is my comb. My comb is very important to me because I have hair that tangles very easily. Also because for some reason someone always feels the need to rub their fingers through my hair and it’s embarrassing when they have to struggle to get their fingers through it. So that’s why I carry my comb in my book bag everyday.

The Things I Carry: Skye

The bullet that I saw I believe was significant to the soldier because they may have done some regretful or sad things that affected them in a strong, negative, and distressing way. This is related to me and my constant wearing of hats…in which symbolizes my elementary school life and how I was bullied based on my physical features and personality. I wore hats because I felt that hats were a sort of protection for me and that connects to the bullet in the exhibit.


The Things I Carry: Ariana

In my bag I had my phone, money,coffee, and some band pins. One important thing in my bag was my phone because my phone contains all my music and things that are important to me. I listen to music 24/7. My friend Natalia emptied her bag to and I saw that she only had money, a gift card, and receipts. This show me that she is very organized and that she doesn’t like to carry a lot of things.


The Things I Carry: Adam

On Tuesday we dumped our school bags on the floor and picked out certain objects that we thought were important to us. Then we placed those objects on a blank piece of paper in an artistic fashion. After that was done we went to our peers piles and tried our best to recreate their piles in our sketch books. I thought it was pretty rad because I really never done anything like that before and I’d love to do something like it in the future.

The contents in the person’s bag that I chose to draw made them seem like they appreciate music because they had headphones. The contents that I had chosen to represent me would make someone think that I play music due to the sheet music I had in my bag. Something that I learned about my class mates had to be that some people had very similar items and some people had very different items. The items in their bags showed me exactly what type of person they are, and that was super tight.

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The Things I Carry: Roselle

These are the things that I carry to school on a daily basis. Being a teenager is very complicated because you have to juggle things such as school, different relationships with people that you know, and our parents. In my opinion, the things that I carry are extremely different in all ways possible compared to the exhibit, The Things They Carried. In that exhibit, soldiers carried things such as water canteens, bullets, and their food rations. While on the other hand, I carried things such as pencils, paper, an e-reader, and a laptop. The things that soldiers carried during their deployments were provisions that they needed in order to survive on a day-to-day basis in the middle of nowhere in a foreign land. I carry things that I need in order to do my homework and to study for upcoming classes and exams. This is a big difference.

I noticed that some of the things that I had in my backpack were similar to things that others had. For example, our school IDs were all somewhat similar because we all need our school IDs in order to get into our school. In my school, we are unable to get into the building without one. Since we all go to different schools all throughout the city, our IDs varies in colors, our picture quality is totally different, and the things that are part of our ID is different as well.