Military Children Create Patriotic Artwork

A young girl points to her award winning artwork

A young girl points to her award winning artwork.

In honor of April’s ‘Month of the Military Child,’ the USO of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia (USO HRCV) held a unique contest to engage local children and raise awareness of the USO’s mission.

For the third year, the USO HRCV called on all school-age children in the area to compete in an art contest that turns the winning artworks into panels that will be displayed in the Richmond International Airport.

The children, ages 5 to 18, were instructed to create illustrations that incorporated a patriotic theme. On Monday, April 29, USO HRCV announced the winners of their contest. This year, winners were from Hampton, Chesterfield, Prince George, Henrico, and Hanover counties.

See the slideshow below for a look at some of the winners as they display their beautiful and patriotic creations.

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Sarah Camille Hipp, Communications Specialist

National Constitution Center Opens “Art of the American Soldier”

"Marines Call It That 2,000 Yard Stare" by Tom Lea, oil on canvas, 1944, Peleliu Island

It’s one of the greatest assemblages of art in America, yet most of us have never seen it.  It’s the U.S. Army’s art collection, and it resides mostly in storage, comprised of thousands of pieces of art.  The Army’s art program officially began in World War I, when eight artists were commissioned as captains in the Corps of Engineers, then sent to Europe to record the activities of the American Expeditionary Forces there.

Opportunities to view the art, however, occur at museums around the country; The National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir won’t be completed until 2015.  Luckily, Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center is running “Art of the American Soldier” now through Jan. 11.  The exhibit contains 250 works from the collection and is curated thematically.

“It’s an amazing collection, and not a lot of people know it’s here,” Sarah Forgey, its curator, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The current exhibition is “a good opportunity to see a wide variety of what we have. This many pieces haven’t been seen in one place in quite some time.”  The museum was inspired to mount this exhibit in part by a story that aired last year on CBS Sunday Morning.
Even if you can’t make it to the City of Brotherly Love, you can enjoy many of the pieces via an online, interactive gallery.  Military artists can even submit their own work for inclusion online!  We hope that some of you get to experience this amazing Army art opportunity and that you’ll let us know what you think.  Be sure to check out the preview video below, too…

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Don’t Miss “Wounded in Action,” on Exhibit at Walter Reed

Below-Knee Prosthetic with U.S. Marine Corps and Purple Art by Daniel Horkey. (Photo courtesy NMHM website)

The National Museum of Health & Medicine offers a diverse array of permanent and rotating exhibits and events on the grounds of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.  On display until November 28, 2010 is “Wounded in Action: An Art Exhibition of Orthopaedic Advancements,” named as one of this week’s “Art Picks” by the Washington City Paper.

Reviewer John Anderson calls the items on display “an artistic look at the role orthopedic surgeons play in the recovery of veterans and civilians during armed conflict. Created by service members, doctors, and civilians, some work is naïve and precious, while others possess a fantastic realism and movingly document the recovery from trauma. When so much of military action is trivialized by the nightly news and glorified in cinema, this exhibition personally confronts the realities of the veterans, surgeons, and civilians caught in the crossfire of war.”

Additional art installations are at the University of Maryland Health Sciences Library and Southern Management Corporation Campus Center in Baltimore through Veterans Day.  Whether you’re visiting or staying with a loved one at Walter Reed, traveling through the DC area, or a local looking for a powerful artistic display of the sacrifices of our Troops, we encourage you to explore this exhibit all that the National Museum of Health and Medicine has to offer.

News & Notes from Around the World

USO Centers from Italy to Oahu have been busy!  Check out our news and notes from allover…

As you know, USO Hawaii was recently honored at the State Capitol of Honolulu with a State Senate Proclamation.  Over 100 individuals were in attendance, including a majority from both Senate and Lower House, USO Hawaii corporate and community supporters, volunteers and USO Hawaii Advisory Council members.

USO Hawaii will also be hosting its inaugural USO Gala Tribute on April 16th!  Honolulu’s historic Washington Place, the former residence of a dozen of Hawai’i governors and the last Hawaiian monarch, Queen Lili’uokalani, will be hosting.  Proceeds will be used to support program and morale services for our military and their families.  Expected to attend are command, flag officers, and enlisted military personnel from various service branches on the islands. Governor Lingle will deliver a congratulatory message at the Gala Tribute, with LTG Benjamin Mixon as Keynote Speaker.  Tickets are still available; call the center for more details!

(L-R) CMDCM Earl Gray, MSN Ryan Thompson, MA2 Jeffrey Clark, Chief Randy Basat, MA1 Michael Britton, MA1 Larry Hardison, CS1 Dusty Barnes, and Base Commander-Joint Basing, Captain Richard Kitchens at the Senate Legislative Recognition event at the Hawaii State Capitol. The event honored USO Hawaii for their outstanding contribution to the morale and programs services that benefit our U.S. Armed Forces in Hawaii.

There’s a new T-wall at Camp Virginia, Kuwait.  The staff wanted to honor and encourage the volunteers, so volunteers were asked to create and pain their own wall.  Thank you to all of our volunteers for your hard work, dedication, assistance, friendship and love – you did an awesome job with the T-wall!

These are just some of the volunteers at USO Camp Virginia who made this T-wall possible.

USO Vicenza recently celebrated their grand reopening with food, refreshments, and a cake cutting. AFN was present to cover the event (see the video below) as was the USAG Vicenza Outlook newspaper.

Manager Glenn Gibbs welcomed everyone to “their” Center.  The literal reopening of the doors, symbolized the reopening of a Center that belongs to the community.  We’re so proud of USO Vicenza’s continued commitment to serving their neighbors and our troops!

USO staff Torie Gotaas and Glenn Gibbs (center) pose in front of the cake with staff and volunteers.

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The Artist’s Touch – from On Patrol Magazine

Below is an excerpt of an inspiring article in the Winter Issue of On Patrol, the Magazine of the USO.  Click here to read the full story and hear and audio interview with the artist.  Click here to learn how to get your own subscription.

Michael Naranjo with the Eagle Dancer. Photo by David Holman.

“By David Holman – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Michael Naranjo reaches up and runs his fingers over the bronze nose and lips of a sculpture that he passes every day. “It has been a while since I looked at his face.” The eagle dancer, a figure common in Pueblo Indian ceremonies, is mid-trot with his arms effortlessly waving attached feathers. With his one functional hand, Michael sculpted the exquisitely detailed eagle dancer that sits in front of his Santa Fe home — one “look” at a time.

Michael is blind from wounds he received in the Vietnam War. And he wouldn’t sculpt any other way.” …read more.

Even Toddlers Support the USO

We know that hundreds of you have visited our coloring pages and downloaded the images of “Fort Knox” cartoonist Paul Jon.  And the images coming in are fantastic!  Artist Jill Ho and her son Odin are fans on Fort Knox’s Facebook page, and decided the coloring contest would be a great winter activity.  Check out the young artist’s work:

Has your own kiddo created a masterpiece with our coloring sheets?  It’s not to late to email us a scanned image or picture of your little one.  And while some of the sheets are holiday specific, others are perfect for any time of year, whether you’re a military family or just looking for a fun family project.  Email our blog team with your creations today!