Who We Are:
The Graffiti of War Project is a collaboration of veterans, service-members, military family members and civilians whose focus is on raising awareness for those suffering from the invisible wounds of war, primarily posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and on developing and providing alternative solutions for the healing of those afflicted. Many of our members either struggle with these wounds themselves or share the burden of a loved one who does. Our collective vision, as members of this team, is to change the world in which we live, one small step at a time.
What Our Mission Is:
The overall mission for The Graffiti of War Project is to provide a positive outlet for those who are afflicted with PTSD, in order to help them release the emotions of war, and to work with organizations who offer traditional and alternative treatment methods, such as art and music therapy, as well as individual and group therapies. In providing the general population with a glimpse into the minds of those who have experienced the horrors of combat (via the art they have created), our aim is to bridge the widening cultural gap between those who have experienced the conflicts of our generation and those who have witnessed the events unfold from the comfort of their own homes. Ultimately, our hope is to begin a dialog between the two cultures and to promote understanding and empathy for our veterans, which inevitably will bring about healing. Just one of the ways we hope to accomplish this is through our National Art Gallery Tour, reaching out to one community at a time.
Where We Have Been:
Originally, The Graffiti of War Project began as a website portal and social media outlet to collect the images captured by those who have been in the various conflict zones in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. Starting in early 2010, we slowly began to collect these images; however, by the end of 2010, with the impending withdrawal of Coalition Forces in 2012, it soon became clear that we needed to find another way to ensure we document this art before it was lost forever. In January 2011, we began to plan and prepare for a summer expedition to Kuwait and Iraq. Through the months leading up to the departure, we worked with the U.S. Military, as well as our network of journalist contacts, to plan this complex operation. In addition, we started a campaign to raise the funds needed to cover the costs of travel and embedding with U.S. forces. Over the course of five months, we were able to raise in excess of $5,000 and to garner the support and sponsorship of several organizations to assist our efforts in completing the expedition. We then spent three weeks traveling throughout Kuwait and Iraq, capturing 2,600 images, interviewing dozens of service members and local nationals, and increasing awareness for our project and our mission. The 2,600 images we collected varied greatly"”hand-painted wall murals, spray-painted street graffiti, hastily scrawled messages to loved ones, humorous anecdotes in latrine stalls"”and in evaluating their overall effect, it was obvious to our team that the public needed to see this artwork in order to truly understand our generation's conflicts and those who endured them.
Where We Are Headed:
Since the commencement of The Graffiti of War Project, we have been driven to showcase the art that provides the viewers with a rarely seen window into the minds of the afflicted. Through the documentation of this amazing and haunting artwork, we have created an opportunity for the inexperienced to walk in the shoes of the experienced. Our short-term goal is to organize and execute our National Art Gallery Tour, which will showcase the images we have been collecting via our website, social media outlets and summer expedition. Additionally, in keeping with the vision of this project, we are including the original works of veteran, military and local national artists from around the world. Through this gallery tour, we hope to bring change into the communities and to promote art as a tool to bring about healing. For the extended future, our goal is to publish a book"”showcasing the gallery art and expedition images, as well as the images submitted by those who endured these conflicts"”which, in turn, will bring a higher level of awareness and empathy into the communities and homes of the public.
Why We Need Your Support:
The bold task of The Graffiti of War Project will not be accomplished without a price, and the burden of our short-term and long-term goals is too much for our determined and dedicated team to shoulder if we are to ensure the resounding success of what we have set out to accomplish. Our needs are not simply ours, but the needs of those brave men and women who were affected by the conflicts of our world. They willingly answered with service and sacrifice to a Nation that called, and now that Nation and her citizens must answer the call to help these brave men and women in return. Our Project and the non-profit organizations with which we are partnered are working to answer that call, and we are searching for companies, organizations and corporations that are willing to join our cause in doing the same.
When and How You Can Help:
There are various ways to enlist in The Graffiti of War Project's mission, from supporting our efforts to spread the word via print, television and internet to providing the means to cover various costs associated with this national effort to raise awareness. We need support through partnerships, as well as corporate sponsorships, which will ensure our team and growing list of partners a successful tour. Much of our effectiveness and skill is in finding creative ways to do more with less. Therefore, whether your budget is small but your dedication is overflowing or your strength is in funding but your time is limited, we can find a way for your organization or company to play an important role in our efforts to make a difference, one small step at a time. If you and your organization/company want to join this "call to arms" for those that answered this Nation's call in your stead, please act now and contact our team. We can be reached via email at [email redacted] or by calling us at [phone redacted]. There is much to do and little time to act, as our opening event for the National Art Gallery Tour is scheduled for Veterans' Day 2011.
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