NRM & Berkshire Bank Present “Love a Vet: Honoring Our Veterans”

Yuko Shimizu, "Queen of Clubs"

Yuko Shimizu, “Queen of Clubs,’ 2015. ©Yuko Shimizu. All rights reserved.

Museum Partners with Berkshire Bank to Pay Tribute to U.S. Military through Exhibition, Veterans Day Event, and Free Admission for Veterans.

Find a Berkshire Bank branch location.

Stockbridge, MA, November 4, 2015—The sacrifices made by our nation’s military are many, and often the emotional scars continue long after these soldiers have left the battlefield. A new exhibition offers artist commentary on the military, patriotism, and the struggles that many veterans face upon their re-entry into civilian life. “Love a Vet: Honoring Our Veterans” is on view at Norman Rockwell Museum from November 7, 2015 through January 5, 2016. The Museum has partnered with Berkshire Bank to provide free admission for U.S. veterans and active military through the run of the exhibition; tickets are available at Berkshire Bank locations throughout the region.

“We are proud to be able to sponsor this important exhibition and provide veterans with free admission at Norman Rockwell Museum,” notes Mike Daly, CEO of Berkshire Bank, which is also launching its own personal and business services program for those who have served in the U.S. military. “This is only the beginning of what I think we can do to say thank you to these brave men and women.”

“Love a Vet” features paintings, drawings and prints by a diverse group of contemporary illustrators; many of the artists have been involved in the military themselves, or have previously documented the activities of others who have served. The exhibition was organized by Ella Rue, an award-winning graphic designer and artist living in Califon, New Jersey, whose son is a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghan wars. Ms. Rue set up the nonprofit “52 Reasons to Love a Vet” to help veterans further their education and assist with medical, dental, or mental health resources, and invited artist friends to create and donate an original visual statement illuminating their thoughts on war and the service of veterans; prints of the artwork have been sold in the form of playing cards to benefit the restricted fund.

Artists whose work is featured in the exhibition include: Gail Anderson, Scott Bakal, Jim Bennet, Steve Brodner, Joe Ciardello, Dennis Dittrich, Jeff Fisher, Stephen Gardner, Bri Hermanson, Victor Juhasz, David Keefe, Tina LeMay, William Low, Angela Martin, Melanie Reim, Edel Rodriguez, Yuko Shimizu, Mike Wimmer, and Jime Wimmer.

“We are pleased to present the art of so many of America’s most accomplished illustrators,” adds Norman Rockwell Museum’s Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Stephanie Plunkett. “This exhibition highlights the power of visual imagery to inspire new consideration of an important social concern — the health and immense sacrifice of America’s veterans.”

“Love a Vet” curator, Ella Rue will speak about the exhibition and her outreach during an opening reception, to be held at the Museum on Saturday, November 7, starting at 6 p.m.; a number of featured artists will also be in attendance.

For more information on “52 Reasons To Love a Vet,” a non-profit 501 (c)3 fund, visit: www.52reasonstoloveavet.org

Love a Vet: A Special Veterans Day Celebration
Wednesday, November 11, 1 to 5 p.m.

Norman Rockwell Museum will present a special afternoon event, honoring the contributions of U.S. veterans, on Wednesday, November 11, from 1 to 5 p.m. Featuring panel discussions, art talks, and music, the event is free for all U.S. veterans, active military (with valid ID) and their families; and Museum members, or with regular admission.

Starting at 1 p.m., join Nathan Hanford, Kevin Brinkley, Russell Wyatt, and Michael King, artists and veterans associated with Soldier On, a regional organization committed to ending homelessness by providing veterans with transitional housing and supportive services. The panelists will talk about how they have each experienced and raised awareness about the challenges that soldiers face upon their return to civilian life.

At 2 p.m., meet illustrator Victor Juhasz, the son of post-World War II Eastern immigrants, who recalls making early drawings of soldiers at war as a boy. As a professional artist, he went on to create reportorial combat illustrations, and in 2011 he embedded with the 1-52nd Arctic Thunder Dustoff (MEDEVAC) Unit in Kandahar, where he accompanied soldiers on helicopter rescue missions. He will discuss this work, now part of the permanent collection of the United States Air Force, his other experiences with the military, and his award-winning artworks which have appeared in national periodicals and advertisements for over four decades.

At 3 p.m., join Berkshire-based singer/songwriter, Mary Verdi for a musical performance of songs celebrating America’s veterans, followed by an illustrated talk by Museum Curator of Education Tom Daly at 4 p.m., exploring Norman Rockwell’s many tributes to the U.S. soldier, which frequently humanized and raised awareness of their ongoing contributions. Throughout the day, families are invited to design their own “Love a Vet” playing card to take home.

For more information about the exhibition and Veterans Day event, the public is invited to call the Museum at 413.931.2221.

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