When you think of the word “art,” what comes to mind? The Mona Lisa? Van Gogh? Nighthawks?
Do you think that art is something only for a certain group of people? Perhaps you think that art is not something to be found in southern Illinois…
Today is the final day and final showing of the Weapons of Mass Creation III. This is a Veteran art show.
Friends, there is some art in southern Illinois.
The art show wraps up today from noon to 8 p.m. with the closing reception from 6 to 8 p.m. The facility or current “home” for the art is at the Surplus Gallery (or Glove Factory).
For those of you who may remember the Good Luck Glove Company, that facility is now a renovated facility with studio art space, instructional space, and an exhibit space. Various art events take place at the Surplus Gallery (given its name for formerly being the SIU Surplus Property storage facility). With 4,000 square feet, the gallery hosts numerous events, including the Weapons of Mass Creation III.
All week Sam has been putting hours in at the Glove (I’m partial to the history and also cannot decide if I want to say “gallery,” “Glove,” or “Surplus Gallery,” so Glove it is). He has made sure the doors are open each day, stayed late to make sure the lighting is just right, the podiums are ready, and the art is displayed for viewing. This is his “baby” so to speak. He has worked tirelessly for months, even years, planning this show.
Art from all over the U.S. is on display and will make its way home to the artists over the next few days. There are pieces from Michigan, Texas, and Missouri just to name a few. Paintings hang on the gallery walls surrounded by sculptures, poems, drawings, photographs, and new media.
The artists are Veterans and family members. Veterans from various eras, all with a gift for creativity. Veterans who, most likely, work through their trauma and their memories of war through their art. Veterans who once wore a uniform and sacrificed so much now share their talents with southern Illinois.
I am moved by the stories of the artists. Sometimes to tears. Sometimes I have chills viewing the art as I walk through the gallery. I’m honored these talented people shared their art with us and trusted us to care for it as well. We are so thankful, so, so thankful for the support and love we have received from the artists, their family members, the community, the VA, the graduate students and director of the Surplus Gallery, and of course our friends and family.
If you are local and able, please stop by the art show. From noon to 8 p.m. this evening you can see some amazing art, enjoy some conversation and light appetizers. Say “hi” to Sam, get a glimpse of Memphis, and support our Veterans.
If you are unable to attend, check out our photos on social media and be sure (if you Facebook) to join us live from the art show tonight at 7 p.m. I’ll be the one behind and in front of the camera from time to time. You can view the art and check out the facilities as well.
I’m so proud of Sam for continuning this event. Each year we hope to grow and showcase more art. Each year the process of planning and preparing gets daunting, and each show I am reminded how I walked through a gallery to see some art (for the first time locally) but I saw so much more. I saw that there is more to a Veteran than a uniform.