Darryl Johnson showing art

WAR:RAW - Healing Military Trauma Through Expressive Art

In 2015, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum (WVM) partnered with Artist for the Humanities (A4TH) to curate an exhibit featuring artwork done by veterans. Most of the works were created by participants in A4TH’s Return and Recovery Program for military veterans that used art as a therapeutic tool to approach issues such as PTSD, moral injury, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

The temporary exhibit featured fifty-nine unique pieces, including paper, canvas paintings, mosaics, quilts, and sculpture. All the works offered a window into the artists' worlds and provide a deeper understanding of the grief and trauma these men and women lived with each day. The exhibit was on display until May 8, 2016.

In coordination with this exhibit, the WVM Oral History Program interviewed some of the artists whose art was featured. The intention was to give the artists the opportunity to not only talk about their experiences in the service, but also their struggles adjusting to life after service and about how their art reflected, and hopefully alleviated, those struggles. We are making these interviews available online with the hope that the conversation about the mental health of our veterans continued after the exhibit had been taken down.

The Interviews

Please click on the links below to access the stories of the artists through the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) tool. Click here to learn more about how to use this tool. You can listen to the audio, search the transcripts, and review an index (including photographs) for each interview.

Before you click! Be advised, these interviews may contain potentially disturbing content related to combat as well as sensitive material relating to PTSD, trauma, sexual assault, and moral injury. We appreciate the bravery of the narrators in sharing their stories—please be respectful when engaging with these interviews.

Tom Daly, Marines, 1967-1969
Clinton Grigg, Army, 1984-1992
Todd Hartwig, Army, 1985-2014
Darryl Johnson, Army, 1968-1970 – Session 1
Darryl Johnson, Army, 1968-1970 – Session 2
Judy Johnson, wife of Darryl Johnson
George Kamps, Navy, 1969-1975 and A4TH Social Worker – Session 1
George Kamps, Navy, 1969-1975 and A4TH Social Worker – Session 2
Jim Troxell, Navy, 1965-1968

Contact Us

Luke Sprague
Oral Historian
Contact Luke: 608.261.0537 or
Luke.Sprague@dva.wisconsin.gov

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