Springfield, Ohio - Beginning Tuesday, April 23, Wittenberg University will host a seldom seen, traveling photography exhibit in collaboration with the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum (NVVAM) in Chicago, Ill. and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Dr. Worthington Chapter #3 in Indianapolis, Ind. The display will be open to the public from April 23 to May 20 between the hours of 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. in the lobby of Chakeres Memorial Theatre, 905 Woodlawn Ave., on the campus of Wittenberg.
The not-for-profit National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum houses over 700 works of fine art by 130 artists. The museum's mission is to collect and preserve the artworks of the Vietnam soldier, including North and South Vietnamese, South Korean, New Zealand, Philippine, National Chinese, Australian, Thai and American combatants. The NVVAM's art collection offers real insights into the Vietnam War, in particular and all wars in general.
The display at Wittenberg will be the first time this seventy-two -piece exhibit has been offered to the public. Until now the exhibit has only been made available to VA hospitals.
"We're proud to offer this compelling exhibit of photographs taken exclusively by Vietnam combat veterans as a way to provide a greater understanding of what our veterans have experienced and contributed to our freedom," said Kenneth Bladh, Wittenberg University provost.
The VA hopes this "Vietnam Veterans Healing Arts Exhibit" will provide acknowledgment, recognition, validation and closure for veterans. The VA is a recognized leader in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). An estimated 7.5 million Vietnam-era veterans are living today. Locally, there are nearly 33,000 veterans living in Clark, Champaign, Greene, Miami and Montgomery counties. Last year, the Dayton VA Medical Center treated 463 veterans for PTSD.
"This exhibit is multi-faceted. Not only does it help in the healing process, it serves as an educational tool for those who have never seen the raw footage of conflict," said Artimus Keiffer, professor of geography, himself a disabled Vietnam-era veteran. "It is easy for us to sit back and watch armed conflict, but we have to realize the damage incurred to all parties involved, both military and civilian."
Keiffer adds, "Although there are many movies about the war, they are just that, someone's interpretation of the facts. This exhibit represents reality."
This display is sponsored by the geography, East Asian Studies, sociology, political science, psychology, and art departments of Wittenberg University.