The Corcoran Gallery of Art is presenting a week of workshops and events geared toward the hope and healing of those who have served their country. The project, “Arts, Military + Healing: A Collaborative Initiative,” begins Monday and will present documentaries, exhibits, and workshops that explore the power of creative writing and teach the art of hand papermaking.
The gallery is currently showcasing the exhibit “Veteran Made: Selections From the Combat Paper Project” which is composed of art made out of military uniforms that have been cut, pulverized, and turned into sheets of paper. The project, created by artist Drew Matott and veteran Drew Cameron, seeks to allow those who served in combat to confront their experiences by transforming a military uniform into art. Co-curator and artist Lynn Sures says, “Making the sheet is a cathartic kind of act, an expressive act. That’s a therapeutic thing in and of itself. And then, the result is a thing of beauty.”
Service members and veterans can learn more about the art form in a series of programs beginning Tuesday, titled “From Uniforms to Paper and Creative Writing: Combat Paper Project & Warrior Writers.” Cameron and “Warrior Writers” creator Lovella Calica will teach participants how to turn their uniforms into paper, and put their experiences into words. There will also be a screening of the 2011 documentary “Where Soldiers Come From,” which shows the impact of serving in the military through the stories of three young servicemen, followed by a discussion.
“I think that for veterans to be able to come together in an intimate group of like-experienced people and do something that helps them all reach a place where they may have difficulty reaching is just a fantastic thing for them,” adds Sures, who as an artist has used papermaking in her own work. “I know that as well as being an artistic medium it’s also a craft that a person can readily learn to use, even without any kind of art expertise, or even any gift, really, in art. It’s an ideal therapeutic kind of medium for something like the Combat Paper Project.”
The screening for “Where Soldiers Come From” is at 6 p.m. Thursday, with a reception to follow. The free workshops will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, and are open to service members and veterans only. The Corcoran is located at 500 17th Street NW. For more information and to register for the workshops visit www.artsandmilitary.org. Visit www.corcoran.org to learn more about the exhibit and to register for the film and reception.