Last February, the National Veterans Art Museum installed an exhibit, “Above and Beyond,” at the Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago. The exhibit — consisting of over 58,000 hand-stamped replica dog tags — is the only memorial other than The Wall in Washington, D.C., to list all those killed in action during the Vietnam War. Through an interactive kiosk, guests can locate specific dog tags and see photos of the fallen soldiers.
Initially funded through a grant from the State of Illinois, financial support for the exhibit was delayed because of the state budget impasse. To fill this gap and help cover other ongoing expenses, IFF provided the museum with a $125,000 working capital loan.
This Veteran’s Day, the museum will open “Vonnegut’s Odyssey”, an exhibit that captures the stories of veterans’ return from combat through the art of famed author and World War II Veteran Kurt Vonnegut Jr. The exhibit, which runs through early May 2017, aims to broaden the conversation surrounding veterans’ post-war experiences.
The National Veterans Art Museum began in 1982 with a focus on Vietnam and expanded in 2003 to include veterans of all wars. It is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of art inspired by combat and created by veterans. Its permanent collection features over 2,500 works by over 250 veteran artists.