On November 9th, as a way of commemorating Veterans Day, an art exhibit took place in the MUC Lobby from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibit was titled “Showcasing Our Veterans.”
“This is our fourth year hosting this,” Christina Hicks said. “I do not see it going away anytime soon. Every year, it keeps getting bigger and better.”
Dr. Christina Hicks-Goldstone is been the current VETsuccess Counselor at APSU. Her predecessor, Tim Schoonover, played a leading role in the Veterans Art Show, and Hicks has continued this tradition since 2016.
“I wanted to continue the Veteran’s Art Show because I thought it was really important for the veterans,” Hicks said. “I had several veterans ask me about it, so I wanted to make sure we could make it happen.”
Tom Mattingly, Rebecca Morelock and David Libenshteyn helped set up the art show in the lobby. The exhibit displayed a variety of different types of artwork, such as traditional art, pottery, and photography.
“The idea behind the art show is to give students, faculties, staff, and others the idea that veterans are not just people who have fought in wars,” Hicks explained. “The word “veteran” is not synonymous with PTSD. They have a lot more to them than the stereotype we’ve put them in, and they have a lot of talent. The purpose of the art show is just to bring about some of the things they enjoy, some of their skills and abilities. It kind of shows people another side of them.”
The reception to the art show has been consistently positive, especially among those unfamiliar with the idea of veterans being artists. As Hicks said, some did not even know that veterans could, in their words, “do art.”
“It was really funny, but a lot of them are really impressed with the artwork and photography here. It seems like we have gotten a lot of positive feedback. A lot of people have loved our art shows, so we are definitely wanting to continue these.”
Hicks said the major benefit for veterans who submitted their artwork is not only can they express themselves in a creative way, they also do not have to face the pressures of presenting in front of a crowd.
“This is a more subtle way of expressing who they are without having to subject them to people who will ask questions about their experiences,” she said. “It doesn’t put them in front of people. It’s not like they have to speak or do anything surrounded by a lot of people, but it’s a way to show another side of themselves and what they’re passionate about. It’s a way for veterans to show what they have to offer without having to be defined by their experiences or be in front of everybody.”
VETsuccess provides various support programs and other VA benefits. For more information, contact the program through firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (931) 221-7011.