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Lecture on ‘Arts and Crafts and the Military’ Set for Sept. 6 at ODU’s Gordon Galleries

As early as World War I, the American military has incorporated the use of arts and crafts as a tool for rehabilitation, treating wounded soldiers and veterans through occupational therapy and vocational therapy.

Old Dominion University's Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries is currently helping explore the impact of war on soldiers, and the role of art in their recovery, through the Combat Paper Project exhibition, a traveling display of works of art made from soldiers' actual combat uniforms.

Tara Tappert, an independent scholar and art consultant, will add to that exploration with a talk at the galleries on Thursday, Sept. 6. Her lecture, "In Service to the Nation: Arts and Crafts and the Military," will begins at 6 p.m.

She will document such creative initiatives as the World War II-era Red Cross Arts and Skills program, crafts and writing projects for Vietnam veterans, and the myriad forms of arts and crafts-making for both healing and well-being developed by today's Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Tappert's current scholarship focuses on 20th-century American craft, with recent work on arts and crafts and the military funded in 2010 by a research grant from the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design, an affiliate of the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Since World War II, the arts have been used as a leisure and creative activity to promote a sense of well-being and value. Additionally, arts and crafts-making, as well as other forms of creative expression, have helped veterans of war and combat following separation from the service.

Tappert's lecture is being presented in conjunction with the Combat Paper Project exhibition at the Gordon Galleries, which runs through Sept. 9, and a papermaking workshop scheduled for Sept. 4-8, taught by John LaFalce, a multimedia artist working with the Combat Paper Project.

The Gordon Galleries are at 4509 Monarch Way in ODU's University Village. For more information about this and other programs call 683-6762.