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March 26, 2014

Mil-Tree's "The Art of War" - A Moving Experience for All

Written by  Mil-Tree
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Veteran/Singer Walt Cronin at "The Art of War" exhibit at the Wignall Veteran/Singer Walt Cronin at "The Art of War" exhibit at the Wignall Mil-Tree

Mil-Tree’s “The Art Of War” was presented at Chaffey College in the Art Building’s Student Gallery March 12th from 12pm - 2pm. The show was curated by Rebecca Trawick, the director and curator of Chaffey’s Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art. The show’s original opening was in Joshua Tree at the Radio Free Joshua Tree Listening Lounge turned art gallery and spoken word salon on October 25th, 2013. It was part of the MBCAC Highway 62 Art Tours co-produced by Mil-Tree and RFJT. It was the brainchild of Carey Hayes and Tami Wood and curated by Mil-Tree’s Paula Jeane. The project successfully fulfilled the mission statement of Mil-Tree:

It is our mission to bring together veterans, active-duty military, and civilians in order to help each other to address the wounds of the soul through communication and art.

Through Mil-Tree, diverse people in the community come together to increase mutual understanding and respect, and are provided with safe opportunities to express, help process, and support the healing of soul wounds, especially those of war, through the power of storytelling, speak-outs, healing retreats, art, music, movement, and nature. 

The concept of “The Art Of War” was to match the poetry, prose, and songs of war veterans with visual art created by the Hi-Desert’s local artists. Included were sculptures, paintings, photography and collage and the writings were mounted on the wall next to the art. The spoken word event consisted of veterans, family members and friends of veterans who read their work and made the show even that much more profound and significant. Artists included Bobby Furst, Jacobine Van Der Meer, Tami Wood, Kit Brooks, Brian Leatart, to name a few. The veterans ranged from the Viet Nam War to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict. There were also readings by family members of World War 2 veterans.

The presentation at Chaffey College was sponsored by Mil-Tree, the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, and One Book One College Program and was very well attended by students, faculty, friends and Chaffey’s own veterans club. Two members of the club joined the Mil-Tree family; David Valdivia exhibited his photography and Lin Thompson read his short essay. The event ended with the drawing of names resulting in five winners of exquisite Ehren Tool mugs. Altogether there were at least 50 audience members. It was a very moving experience for all.

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