May 19, 2015

Exhibit shines a light on the healing process of veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries


MADISON, Wis. (May 19, 2015) – The Wisconsin Veterans Museum today announced that it will host “WAR : RAW Healing Military Trauma Through Expressive Art,” an art exhibit featuring nearly 60 works of art created by local artists and Wisconsin veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). The exhibit will open on June 5 and run through May 2016.

“WAR: RAW” will feature works on paper, canvas paintings, mosaics, quilts, sculptures and more, most of which were created by Wisconsin veterans as part of the Artists for the Humanities’ (A4TH) “Return and Recovery Program for Military Veterans.”

The Return and Recovery Program combines the use of expressive art with mental health counseling to help veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI and issues like substance abuse and homelessness. The program, which was developed by Artists for the Humanities founder Tim Mayer in 2007, is free of charge for veterans, family members and loved ones. The program has served more than 2,000 Wisconsin veterans and family members to date.

“When soldiers return from the battlefield, sometimes the battlefield returns with them,” said Mayer. “This program provides veterans a safe place to explore painful memories, confront their feelings and express themselves visually. The artwork that results from the program is compelling and truly provides a window into the artist’s world.”

Featured artists in the “WAR : RAW” exhibit include Wisconsin veterans and program participants Brian Duka-Smith and Todd Hartwig. Award-winning quilter Alicia Avila will also have two quilts on display. Other veteran artists have chosen to remain anonymous.

“This unique exhibit offers guests the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of how PTSD and TBI affects our veterans by witnessing the storied imagery in these pieces of art,” said Michael Telzrow, director of the museum. “I encourage everyone to visit this unforgettable exhibit and gain a greater appreciation for the sacrifices of our service men and women.”

The museum will host related programming and events during the exhibit. For more information, visit www.wisvetsmuseum.com/events.

The Return and Recovery Program is offered at St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere, Tomah VA Medical Center in Tomah, Vets Place Central in Milwaukee, Hall of Nations in Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King, Wis. For more information on program participation, visit  www.a4th.org.

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is an educational activity of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and is located at 30 W. Mifflin St., across from the State Capitol. For more information, visit www.wisvetsmuseum.com.