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Art Helps Combat Veterans Work Through Emotions Of War

Video

Art Helps Combat Vets Work Through Emotions Of War

Above: The exhibit features work by combat veterans who were taught how to turn their anxiety over war into a reflective, therapeutic experience to help them transition back into civilian life.

Aired 9/3/13 on KPBS News.

The exhibit features work by combat veterans who were taught how to turn their anxiety over war into a reflective, therapeutic experience to help them transition back into civilian life.

— Southwestern College's art gallery soon will display dozens of collaborative art pieces; The exhibit features work by combat veterans who were taught how to turn their anxiety over war into a reflective, therapeutic experience to help them transition back into civilian life.

Founder of Combat Arts and artist Elizabeth Washburn has been helping combat vets work through the emotions of war by putting them on canvas. She examined a gray painting on the gallery's walls.

"We've got the really stormy clouds in this picture and there's always that point in time where they find the light," she said.

The artwork themes range from darkness to light, to pride in service and to feelings of guilt and shame.

"This exhibition is going to help with just getting the word out that this program is out there for you for veterans and their families," Washburn said.

She said the public plays a big role in this process because it's designed to bring them closer and breakdown the stereotypes of post-traumatic stress disorder.

"This is an opportunity to personalize the veteran a little bit more and create a little more intimacy between the public and the veteran," she said.

Southwestern College in Chula Vista has been promoting art since the 1960s, and this exhibit will help raise money for a new veterans center on campus.

Arts professor David Quattrociocchi is responsible for bringing the exhibit to campus. He also served as a Navy Seal during Vietnam.

"So its very powerful stuff and its very personal and just a great thing to show," Quattrociocchi said.

The exhibit "In Transition" opens on Thursday at Southwestern College's art gallery and runs through Oct. 1.

Southwestern College is home to about 1,000 veterans. Funds raised from its gala on Sept. 21 will help expand the school's veterans center.

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