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Exhibit at Gordon Art Galleries Helps Combat Veterans Heal Through Papermaking

"Combat Paper Project," an exhibition featuring selected work from the Combat Paper Project, will be featured through Sept. 9 at Old Dominion University's Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries. The exhibit opened July 9.

The project utilizes art-making workshops to assist veterans in reconciling and sharing their personal experiences as well as broadening the traditional narrative surrounding service and the military culture. Through papermaking workshops veterans, use their uniforms worn in combat to create cathartic works of art.

The uniforms are cut up, beaten into a pulp and formed into sheets of paper. Veterans use the transformative process of papermaking to reclaim their uniform as art and begin to embrace their experiences in the military.

Ramona Austin, curator of the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries, said despite knowing the process and the message of "Combat Paper Project," she was shocked at how powerful the art is when it arrived.

"I was blown away. I knew it was powerful but when I opened the boxes, I thought 'Oh my goodness,'" Austin said.

The project is designed to give veterans a way to share their experiences at war. "It's the means to heal. It's the means to express what they've been to and to communicate it to us who have not been there," Austin said.

For more information about the Combat Paper Project, go to www.combatpaper.org/ and watch a video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/embed/p067FY-41jo.

The exhibition is part of the Gordon Art Galleries' participation in the Blue Star Museums Project. Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment of the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 1,800 museums across America. First launched in the summer of 2010, Blue Star Museums offers free admission and/or special exhibitions and programs to all active-duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day, May 28, through Labor Day, Sept. 3, 2012.

For more information go to http://www.arts.gov/national/bluestarmuseums/index2012.php.

The Gordon Art Galleries, located at 4509 Monarch Way, are open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information call 757-683-6271 or visit the website, http://al.odu.edu/art/gallery/.

This article was posted on: July 26, 2012

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