Vaughn Visit!

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.

Maurice speaks to Vaughn Students

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?

Vaughn Students Trying on TTTC

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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.

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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!

NVAM Volunteer and Vietnam Veteran Ned Ricks: Revisiting the 10th Calvary, Vietnam 70-71

“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

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.

The Other Side

Our mission at the National Veterans Art Museum is “to inspire a greater understanding of the real impact of war through the collection, preservation, and exhibition of art inspired by combat and created by veterans. The art in our collection helps civilians understand the effects of war and provides veterans with outlets for expression.” All of the work in our collection is created by artists that have served, but there is another side to the war experience. Mac MacDervitt is an teacher and artist that uses images and text from media created during the Vietnam War. Mac strongly disagreed with the Vietnam War and avoided the draft by enrolling in school to become an educator. However, even though he did not serve in the war, it has influenced his life greatly. Mac puts the images and text on wooden blocks and invites participants to rearrange the blocks to create meaningful conversations amongst the images in interactive collages. Check out the gallery below to see Mac and visiting veterans: Travis Bickford and Meosha Thomas interacting with the collages.