On its news program, First, WHYY TV today featured Wilmington’s Veterans’ Mural Project and the Interfaith Veterans’ Workgroup. You can view the IVW portion of that video below.
The veterans’ mural painting is ahead of schedule. Thanks, IVW members, for starting the ball rolling. Almost all of the cloth panels have been completed, and when they all are they will be installed on the north wall of 901 Jefferson Street, and then sealed with a clear weather-protective sealant.
Not only veterans have participated, but also many volunteers from the community. You’ll see how diverse they are by the slideshow above. One objective of this project is to foster community and train local artists to use murals for this purpose. It’s working!
The production phase of the Veterans Mural Project has begun.
On April 30th local artists gathered at the Connections building at Tatnall and 8th streets to trace the mural design on sections of cloth. That’s a clever process using an old technology: overhead projectors. Play the video below to see how it’s done. In June the sections will be taken to the mural site, 901 Washington Street, and glued to the north wall, then coated with a weather-resistant, clear sealant.
The second step in the production phase took place April 23rd,
when Eric worked with local volunteers to pre-mix all the colors needed for the mural, well over 100! Several young photography students under the leadership of Theresa Emmett were on hand to document the fun. As you see by the photographs, mixing and matching color can get very messy!
The next step in production will be open exclusively to veterans and their families. On Saturday, May 7th
they will have the honor of initiating the painting of the mural’s cloth panels. This will take place rain or shine inside the Connections building. No experience is necessary. Old clothes are recommended!
With the help of local artists and veterans, mural artist, Eric Okdeh, is completing the design of a mural honoring veterans, developed by the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation. It will adorn the north wall of 901 Washington Street in Wilmington Delaware. That building now houses military veterans who were previously homeless.
On March 30th veterans, artists, and neighbors gathered at the Connections building at the corner of West and 8th streets to preview a digital rendition of the mural design. Although most of the design is ready for production, Eric is still inviting input from veterans in two ways:
1. Words of wisdom: What advice or words of wisdom would you relay to a returning veteran today, that you wish someone would have said to you when you were transitioning back to civilian life?
2. A photo that holds sentimental value for you and chronicles the day to day experiences of the military life which you remember. All photographers will get credit for their contribution. Eric is reserving a section of the mural to display these photos. Email digital photos or bring non-digital ones to the Connections building during one of the Community Paint Days listed below. Your paper or film photo will be scanned and returned immediately to you in person.
Vets, if you would like to participate in either way, please send your statement/photo to Eric: okdehmurals at gmail.com; or Laura Semmelroth: laura at bigideaswilmington.com.
Community Paint Days at the Connections Building, West and 8th streets:
The mural will be painted inside on sections of fabric which later will be glued to the wall at 901 Washington Street. If you would like to participate in the painting, show up during one or more of the following times. (No experience is required.)
Saturday, May 7th, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.–This day is especially participation by veterans and their family members.
Wednesday, May 11thto 8:00 p.m, 3:00 .–Painting by all community members.
Saturday, May 14th, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.–Painting by all community members.
The installation of the painted sections will take place from June 1 to June 10. More details about that will follow in an upcoming post.
IVW welcomes two new veteran members, Bill Brown and Dana Lewis, who participate in a local veterans group that uses mindfulness meditation to reduce stress. Dana writes,
“A small group of vets at the Wilmington VA, have recently started a website called “Mindful Veterans Connection“. I put it together and run it and it is in its infancy as a website. I invite you to check it out and please feel free to join and participate. Many vets have found great help in the mindful meditation and mindfulness practices. Our group are all Vets, most of us combat vets, all with some sort of chronic condition.
We all graduated from an 8 week VA mindfulness course (MBSR, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) at the Wilmington VA and we meet weekly to meditate and talk about uses of the MBSR techniques and insights in coping with everything from depression to Agent Orange.
We recently opened up our site to any interested Veteran, as we are all convinced of the power of what we’ve learned to help Vets returning from war.”
Dana adds: “Your group [IVW} is a wonderful idea and I hope we can be of some help as you grow it. I myself am a former Catholic (spent time as a monk years ago) who might now be called an almost-Buddhist Jesusian :}. I do not follow any of the formal schools of Buddhism, but prefer the psychology and practice wisdom of what is called “Engaged Buddhism” as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh, whose work was behind the development of MBSR 30+ years ago. I am drawn to the common points where all spiritual traditions intersect, so I really like what you are doing.