Up and Down the River by Cathy Johnson and guest writers is published weekly in the Big Rapids Pioneer.
Although the national observance of Veterans Day takes place in November, the creative team at Artworks has arranged not one but multiple ways and displays for the community to acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifices and contributions of our military veterans, and give veterans themselves several creative ways to interact with the community.
The name for the celebration is A Salute to Veterans Community Involvement Exhibit and Events. Here is a compilation of most of what is happening over the next six weeks:
The Fashion Has Heart Foundation gives wounded veterans the opportunity to express themselves creatively by transforming their thoughts into actual fashion designs. These designs are then turned into footwear, apparel, and bags. An exhibit of t-shirts and footwear already created and produced will be on display at Artworks as part of the Hero Series running from September 29 – November 11. Also included is a noon brown bag lunch opportunity on October 5th with a representative of the foundation, Daniel Michael Hyacinthe. Later that day, Hyacinthe will speak at the official gallery opening of the exhibit followed by a reception which runs from 5 – 7 p.m.
The Old Jail Quilters Club will present two quilts from their Quilts of Valor project during the run of the Salute to Veterans, one at the October 5th evening event and the other at the Veterans Day Celebration Reception at Artworks on November 11th from 1 – 3 p.m.
Other parts of the celebration and exhibition will include the Wounded Warrior Dog exhibit, based on a 2016 winner of the Artprize competition in Grand Rapids. James Mellick, their creator, has provided posters of his prize-winning sculptures for exhibit and sale. One of his sculptures, “Flashback,” will make a special visit to Artworks from September 19 – October 7.
In addition, there will be a classic military uniform display at Artworks, and the FSU Art Gallery will get into the mix with an archival display of ROTC materials. Local school children will be invited to participate in the celebration through written personal reflections about veterans which will also be put on display.
And while we can never do enough for our veterans, Artworks hopes that this extended spotlight on them and their sacrifices will help the community recognize the importance of both the single day national observance and the critical contribution that veterans selflessly have selflessly made to our society. A Wall of Thanks is going to be provided at Artworks to let our veterans know just how much they mean to us.
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