Work of Veteran Artists Showcased During Fleet Week

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by Joshua Kiser, Public Information Officer, Veterans Home of California — Yountville

Seventy-eight veteran artists share the limelight this week while their work is on display at San Francisco Fleet Week’s 5th Annual Veterans Art Exhibit. Service members from World War II to the present are represented, including 19 residents of the Veterans Home of California – Yountville, who were selected to show their work. Their artwork includes acrylic on canvas, water color, photography and mixed media, showcasing their talents and years of expertise.  The Tug McGraw Foundation partnered with the Yountville Home to include these veterans in the exhibit.

You still have time to view these works – the Veterans Art Exhibit runs from Oct. 3-29 at Cannery Galleries, 2801 Leavenworth Street, San Francisco.

Bill White, a U.S. Air Force veteran and resident of the Yountville Home shares the following first-person perspective.

Just about every day I eat dinner across from Robert Thompson and we enjoy talking about current events, both at the (Yountville) Home and around the globe, but it was not until a few years ago that I found out that this soft spoken, mild-mannered veteran was also a very gifted artist.

It was one of the joys of my life to be able to escort him and other talented artists/veterans to the opening reception on the 3rd of October, for the 5th Annual Veterans Art Exhibit, being held at the Academy of Art Galleries at the Cannery, on Fisherman’s Wharf.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by our hosts from the Academy and also Jennifer Brusstar, from the Tug McGraw Foundation (TMF), who was one of the organizers that got all of the paintings and ceramics over to the galleries, and to whom we always can rely on for help in so many ways. It was also a joy to have “Uncle” Frank Henderson from TMF on our bus ride over to the city. Frank is such a positive force –he always makes the people around him happy.

As we walked into the galleries, we were amazed to see the number of guests who were already walking around and admiring the works of art, especially the large number of Navy and Marine active military members who showed up. As our artists entered and tried to blend into the crowd, the members of the Academy made sure that they were recognized for their art. It was only a short time later that I noticed a crowd around them asking about their art on display. I noticed that the military members were also having discussions with members of the arts community, distinctive in their dress and hair styles, and that everyone was enjoying the evening and each other.

As I glanced at the program that was made available to us, I saw that 11 of the 19 veterans/artists that came from Yountville this evening were mentioned, as well as several others who were not able to travel with us. This was almost one third of the artists whose works were on display.

As I walked around taking pictures of the crowd and artwork, most of which had not been labeled yet, it was great to hear the remarks and conversations about each piece, which was so refreshing, since this was not a “conventional” show where only one artist is on display and the crowd is more critical than kind.

Once the crowd had their drinks and delicious hors d’oeuvres from the very talented staff of Organized Chaos Events catering and were starting to catch a last glimpse of both the artwork and artists themselves, it was drawing to the time when we should depart for our Veterans Home. As with everything else about the evening, it was also done at a very leisurely pace. As we gathered out in the patio area of the Cannery for a group shot and started to climb back on the bus, it was mentioned by all, “How great was that!”

So the next time you are seated at the table across from your fellow veterans, maybe you should ask them about what they do for leisure. The answer may just surprise you.

Take a closer look at some of the veterans art pieces by clicking here.

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