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NEWS STORIES

Veterans Share Stories of War Through Art in New ExhibitSubmitted: 10/06/2012
Story By Kailey Burton

RHINELANDER - An image is worth a thousand words- and some Wisconsin veterans are using their art to tell vivid stories…

Right now ArtStart in Rhinelander is filling their gallery with works of former soldiers and their experience in combat.

From paint on canvas, to photography, and spray paint- the exhibit called "Impact: The Experience of Service" gives viewers a peek into the lives and minds of veteran soldiers.

The pieces are emotional, and sometimes hard to process- just like an experience at war.

The artists know some messages could be unpopular- but are still important stories to tell.

"They'll say, 'Well, do you think the public will understand this?' And I'll say, 'No, but vets will'..." said spray paint-on-stencil artist, Shawn Ganther, "It might be seen as offensive… [But] to other vets who have served, and who have been through things, they kind of relate to that distress of ‘Why did I trust someone who let me down'... It became very clear to me that the "reasons" we were there, were not why we were there."

One of Ganther's pieces is spray painted directly on the wall at the gallery. As he paints with the stencil in place it's hard to make out the picture. But once it's removed his message is clear. The image is powerful, in stark black and white. It depicts a man being held in the air, then violently dropped by an elephant that is standing on top of a donkey.

Ganther says it can be hard for veterans to put their experience into words, but art can be an easier way for them open up and speak about it.

The "Impact" exhibition will open at ArtStart October 11th.


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