Since 2012, the National Veterans Art Museum has been partners with local high school Jacqueline B. Vaughn Occupational High School, which provides a specialized education for high school students with cognitive, developmental and multiple disabilities. Today senior students from Laura Smith’s class visited NVAM to see The Joe Bonham Project: Drawing the Stories of America’s Wounded Veterans and The Things They Carried.
The Vaughn students had a special guest, Maurice Costello, Vietnam Veteran, U.S. Army, 196th Light Infantry Brigade 1967-68. Maurice shared his story with the students, answering their questions, before interacting with the objects in the Things They Carried. The students tried on the flak jacket and rucksack relating his experience to the objects: So you are wearing all of these things, feel heavy? What is the climate of Vietnam? Now imagine how it would feel like to be wearing all of this humid, soaking wet, with infinitely more gear, trying to be wary of hidden mines and attack?
Then the Vaughn students were given a tour of The Joe Bonham Project, preparing for a the workshop to follow inspired by the exhibition. The students observed the different artistic styles and mediums used to portray the same veterans stories. We discussed different ways of observing and documenting in art from quick sketches in pencil to writing and digital drawings on Ipads. The workshop expanded on these ideas by introducing the students to bookbinding. The students using folding, cutting and sewing to create their own pamphlet stitches.
This was the last time this group of students from Vaughn Occupational High School will be workshopping with NVAM before they graduate next week! Congratulations to these amazing seniors, it has been wonderful making art with you!
“When I first viewed Ken Howard’s collection of pictures, it was as if I had encountered a long lost cousin or brother and started sharing memories. We would start with, “Do you remember the time we…” And we would end up nodding and smiling, not so much at what had occurred, but more from the experience that someone else had the same memory, the same album of experiences and impressions in their mind as well. His work took me back over forty years to bring some of those memories to just yesterday.”
Ned Ricks, along with being one of our most dedicated volunteers at NVAM, is a retired Major of US Army Reserve and served as the Commanding Officer of Troop C, 1st Squadron in the 10th Calvary in Vietnam from 1970-71. We are honored to have this video as a testament to the service of Ned and his squadron. We would like to thank Ken Howard for sharing this video with us and giving permission to share it online.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I like that we make art and share with people that want to see art. People think art is boring but it is really fun and I love it.
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.
As I saw the bullet, I realized that soldiers might have used it for protection. I thought maybe they used the enemy’s bullet for tracking them. I realize my ID is my protection because it lets people know who I am. Both the bullet and ID can be seen as forms of recognition.
Way way back when it was cold in Chicago (winter-ugh!) YOUmedia was working with NVAM teaching artist Carolyn Hoerdemann making art in response to our permanent exhibition They Things They Carried, inspired by the book of the same name written byTim O’Brien. This coming September we will be unveiling a new TTTC exhibition with digital and hands on interactive components, art and artifacts paying tribute to those who served in Vietnam and continue to serve today. Take a look back at some of the artwork and interactions made by YOUmedia teens in early 2014.
(Follow these links! https://www.flickr.com/photos/youmediachicago/sets/72157644926001556/