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June 6, 2013

From frontline to first in art show

New art exhibit showcases artwork by homeless veterans

By Alexandra Murray


The Galleries at Cleveland State University, located on 1307 Euclid Ave. in the Cowell and Hubbard Building, are presenting three shows this summer. The exhibits and receptions are free and open to the public, and will run from Friday, May 17 through Saturday, June 22. The gallery is open on Monday and Tuesday by appointment, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The three exhibits are “Hold the Wall: Trends in Contemporary Painting”, “Present and Accounted: A Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Cleveland Performance Art Festival (1988-1999)”, and “Art for Hope: Helping Veterans through the Healing Power of Art”.

One of the most sought-out exhibits at the Galleries at Cleveland State is "Art for Hope." It is a heartfelt exhibit filled with artwork by United States military veterans. The exhibit features artwork from veterans from several different conflicts.

From veterans who served their country in The Gulf War to veterans who have recently returned from the War in Afghanistan, the exhibit is rich in perspective diversity.


Located in the South Gallery, the "Art for Hope" exhibit showcases the work of homeless veterans who have used art as a form of expression and healing. Artistic expression was an emotional and mental purging for many of the artists. These pieces give spectators a glimpse into the emotional and psychological turmoil veteran’ face following their military service and return from war. Each individual piece demonstrates healing through art therapy. Goals of art therapy are to enhance coping skills, teach methods to manage stress, identify strong feelings and strengthen personal well-being.

The curator of this exhibit is Laurel Larson, who holds a master’s of public service and is also a registered art therapist . She teamed up with Volunteers of America Veterans Resource Center and Veterans Domiciliary at Wade Park in Cleveland in order to create the 50 pieces that are on display on the front wall of the gallery entrance.

“This has truly been an accomplishment, not only for the Veterans but for Volunteers of America,” Larson said.

Volunteers of America has been helping people in need rebuild their lives for more than 115 years. Today their ministry of service supports and empowers those who are most vulnerable in our communities, including at risk-youth, the frail elderly, people with disabilities, homeless individuals and families, veterans and ex-offenders. The network touches the mind, body, heart, and ultimately the spirit of those they serve. Volunteers of America serves more than 1,750 veterans each year in the metropolitan areas of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton. Nationally, the group serves more than 7,500 veterans through 37 programs in 18 states.


The additional exhibits also have unique stories behind them. For instance “Hold the Wall: Trends in Contemporary Painting” is an exhibition filled with works from local, regional, and international artists in a variety of paint media. The curator of that exhibit is Dan Tranberg.

“Present and Accounted: A Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Cleveland Performance Art Festival (1988-1999)” consists of artwork that is part of a citywide celebration of the history of performance art in Cleveland. Both exhibitions can be viewed in the main gallery.