On Friday, November 3, during Downtown Chestertown First Friday, join the Kent County Arts Council (KCAC) for the opening of the inaugural exhibition in the new gallery. The Council is christening its new space with artwork from The Arts & The Military ART/ifacts Collection and from The Joe Bonham Project. This inaugural show, “WAR FRONT / HOME FRONT: Through the Eyes of Our Military,” is created in partnership with curator Tara Tappert, Founder and Principal of The Arts & The Military, and Michael D. Fay, Founder of The Joe Bonham Project. It is funded, in part, by The Institute for Integrative Health.
The experiences of our contemporary service members and veterans are represented by the artwork in the show, approximately 40 pieces. The exhibit includes handmade paper made from military uniforms that then depict images from down range and on the home front, illustrations of wounded warriors fresh from combat, veteran-made ceramic cups that suggest military life and warfare and thought-provoking clay vessels called “War Crocks.”
The ART/ifacts Collection is the tangible legacy of artmaking as activism. The nature of the work allows for the exploration of military culture and the history of war and its costs. Themes include patriotism, nationalism and perceptions of duty, suffering, heroism and loyalty. Several grassroots veteran-arts groups are represented in the Collection, including Button Field Paper, Combat Paper Project, Peace Paper Project, Veterans in the Arts, as well as the work of individual veteran-artists.
The Joe Bonham Project is named after the fictional, limbless, faceless protagonist of the 1939 anti-war novel, Johnny Got His Gun, by Dalton Trumbo. The project’s purpose is to show the real face of war and the aftermath of war with artwork that portrays the realities and human consequences of combat.
The project distances itself from politics, preferring instead to be seen as apolitical “witness art.” There will be three special events during the run of the show. All are free and everyone is welcome. The special events are as follows:
- Grand Opening – First Friday, November 3 • 5 to 7:30 p.m.
- Poetry Reading: Medic Against Bomb: A Doctor’s Poetry of War, Frederick Foote, M.D. (Captain, MC, USN, ret.) Sunday, November 12 • 2 p.m.
- Illustrated Lecture: “Beyond Stereotypes: War, Warriors and the Creative Arts,” by Tara Tappert, Founder and Principal, The Arts & The Military, and Michael D. Fay (CW02, USMC, ret.), Retired Combat Artist, and Founder, The Joe Bonham Project. Sunday, November 19 • 2 p.m.
The Kent County Arts Council Gallery hours are as follows: Wednesday through Fridays from noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibit will hang until December 3. The Kent County Arts Council is located at 101 Spring Avenue in Chestertown. For more information, visit www.kentcountyartscouncil.org.
The Kent County Arts Council mission is threefold: “We INVEST by awarding competitive grants to nonprofit arts organizations, artists and community programs presenting arts activities; We INFUSE by providing support for artists, administrators and boards to ensure strong stewardship of public and private investment; and, finally, we INSPIRE by bringing visiting and resident artists from all disciplines to challenge the status quo; expanding the role the arts can play in social and civic dialogue.”
The Kent County Arts Council is a 501(c)3 organization funded in part by the Maryland State Arts Council with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and by a grant from the Kent County Commissioners.