02 June 2009
Thanks go to Will Schmutz, Director & Community Liaison on the Commission on Human Relations and Mayor Daley's Advisory Council on Veterans Affairs, for helping to make this possible. We met many wonderful people on this day!
Over this last weekend the Vet Art Project was invited by our dear friend Bob Curry of Dryhootch.org to come to Milwaukee and perform at the Reclaiming Our Heritage event on the historic VA grounds. We knew this was a big event but I had no idea what a huge experience this would be. The shows went off without a hitch. F. David Roth, Curtis Jackson and Dave Strong gave voice to the stories of Vietnam veterans, and others. The honor and respect they gave these words was powerful and moving. I witnessed connections made among actors, veterans, family and friends that stole my breath. So much was communicated with a simple embrace, handshake, and thank you between artists and veterans. This connection, the sharing and the attempt to understand, is why we were at the event and why we do what we do.
Other notes from the day. . .
* Soldiers from wars going back as far as the Civil War to today were represented. I almost tripped over a few hoop skirts while touring the various eras, but given my klutzy track record this comes as no surprise.
* I was unable to visit the library but I have on good authority (Bob Curry himself) our good friend Jeanine Hill-Soldner has several paintings on display (Yeah Jeanine!).
* Special visits from Curtis’s parents—lovely people!—and the wonderful Bob Breuler and Suzy Petri came by after visiting another historic venue Ten Chimneys!
* It was a great day, the weather was lovely and company was extraordinary.
I would like to thank you all for everything that you do.
Jessa Carlstrom, Vet Art Project Co-Lead Artist