The grand opening for the Veterans Art Center was a smashing success. I have to guess we had between 500 and 1000 people come through. We sold a lot of veteran’s art, which was awesome. I just stayed in one of the larger galleries all day, answering questions, greeting people, whatever was needed. It was incredible to watch vets meet each other, and ask what branch they were in, and so many of them found out they had so much in common. Then they would tell stories, they’d look at some of the military art and had so much to say.
There is a granite wall in Tampa Bay, etched with 3 scenes created by Timothy Lawn. He donated the original proofs for this wall to the art center. They were the centerpiece of the gallery I was in, and those three panels engendered many very emotional responses, and vets would just start telling me about how they were there, how they remembered one thing or another. Some of them talked to me for 20 minutes or so about their experience. One woman went in the ladies room, and came out and said to me, “I didn’t think I’d cry….” She went on to tell me how her father was there, and her cousin died there. A vet came in who had worked on the actual memorial, and spent about a half hour telling me about it.
I met so many people, who were so excited that this center even exits. One woman said she had never seen something so uplifting. She said she had been an art therapist for her whole life (she was roughly my age) and that art is the very best way to deal with PTSD, and how they just used to give vets pills and tell them not to think about it. Vets who would never tell anyone about their experiences, create art and will willingly tell the story behind it. Everyone wants to be acknowledged and appreciated.
I am so happy to be a part of this organization, which is really trying to help vets deal with the issues that have caused their suicide rate to skyrocket in recent years. It is so wonderful to see so much support from the community for it. It’s so nice to be doing something for others, and to be involved with other people who want to do the same. I think the universe has conspired in my behalf, yet again.
I’m sitting now, in my recliner, with my feet up, drinking water, eating an apple dumpling I bought at the bake sale today. I had a glass of wine there before I left, but was afraid to drink any more, I am so tired. I might have some now though, lol, that I am safely home.
Awesome day. Love and light, everyone.