The Chicago Museum showcases the healing power of art for veterans

The Veterans Museum displays the healing power of art

The Chicago Museum showcases the healing power of art for veterans


Chicago Chicago is home to the Art of War, a space for those who have worked to share their stories, talents, and traumas.

The National Veterans Museum is a space for artists like Dr. Charles Smith, now 82, who says art has helped him recover since he was drafted into the Marines and sent to Vietnam at the age of 25.

“I felt that when I came home, it was imperative to make sure the legacy of that war was not forgotten,” said the Smith sculptor. “The most important part of it in particular, is that blacks and whites fought together. We died together.”

Smith’s combat tour may have been more than half a century ago, but he says veterans of all ages understand the importance of war.

“You have to get to the place—not a psychiatrist, not a counselor—but someone who has buried the burden that you’ve buried, and that way they can counsel you to get out of it,” Smith said.

Deployed to Afghanistan as a Marine when she was 21, Giselle Futrell is now the museum’s executive director.

“It’s a place that inspires dialogue,” Futrell said. “It’s a place where we can start talking about things that are uncomfortable. Humans are not designed to go to those uncomfortable places. But sometimes we have to if we want to make progress.”

the museumFounded in 1981, it houses more than 2,500 veterans’ artwork.

“The best thing the public can do for veterans is listen,” Futrell said. “So this is a listening place.”

Listening to the truth can help in healing.

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