The first contemporary art exhibition exploring the american military B.r.a.t., an invisible subculture
UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show is a joint production of the Military Kid Art Project and Brats Without Borders. A few years ago, Artist and Marine Corps Brat Lora Beldon, founder of the MKAP, contacted Donna Musil, founder of BWB. Lora wanted to put together a traveling art exhibit exploring the Military Brat Subculture. Donna volunteered to help. Lora donated her own art, and artwork from one of her Military Kid Art Classes. Donna donated clips from the BRATS film. Then Chris Kyrios, fellow DoDDS brat and Board Member of the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS), suggested Donna and Lora explore the backroom of some dusty archives. They drove to Kansas, threw on some old sweatpants, and discovered a collection of brat art from the 1950s to the present, kept by DoD teachers overseas. Next, Donna flew to Michigan to interview Lora' and her father, Tom, a retired Marine Colonel, who served two combat tours in Vietnam. He is also an artist and for the very first time, donated photographs of his own art to the project. One thing led to another and UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show eventually won one of six national Newman's Own Awards and is currently touring the country!
Military “Brats” – or children who grew up in military families – are one of the oldest, but least known subcultures in America. It’s not a pejorative term; it’s an historic, time-honored reference to military children, which most wear with honor. There are 2 million children whose parents are currently serving in the United States military, and an estimated 15 million adult brats. They’re every age, race, religion, and socioeconomic class. They are the invisible Americans.
UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show is the first traveling museum exhibit exploring the life of a military child through art. Contemporary and cutting-edge, it's mission is to educate and raise awareness of the Military Kid subculture and it's life-long impact on an individual. We also hope the exhibit will stimulate discussion panels, arts classes, and other programs which honor the service and sacrifice of military children, past and present, and engender compassion and understanding between military and civilian communities.
Pictures say so much more than words, particularly when it comes to complicated emotions. Coping strategies that work well as a mobile child can be counter-productive as a rooted adult. The truth is - not all military children are resilient; some had more to overcome than others. The best way to improve the quality of life for military children is to understand their lives. The best way to understand their lives is to observe their artistic creations and listen to their stories - even when they're hard to hear.
UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show gives military brats young and old an opportunity to express their feelings, and in the process, connect with their subculture, families, and communities.
Gallery 1: Military Kids Connect & Reflect
In Gallery 1, military children and teenagers stationed around the world from the 1950s to the present express their thoughts and feelings about “growing up military” in 29 pieces of original, never-before-seen art. Mediums run the gamut from crayons to pastels to mixed media.
Gallery 1 also features an authentic military footlocker filled with historical “military brat” artifacts. “I’m a BRAT” buttons, flyers, lists of “best practices” and other materials with information about military brat organizations, films, books, and resources are available for visitors to take home. In addition, STEM/STEAM educational materials, lesson plans, and ideas for local programs to accompany the exhibit are available for use.
gallery 2: military kids speak out
Gallery 2 contains a collection of video clips about military kid life and the profound impact it has on one’s adult life - how it feels to move twelve times before you graduate from high school... watch one or both parents go to war... grow up in a paradox that is idealistic and authoritarian, privileged and painful, supportive and stifling - all at the same time - then struggle to “fit in” to civilian America when you leave that environment. These video clips include excerpts from:
The award-winning documentary film about the Military Brat Subculture, narrated by Kris Kristofferson, with the late General Norman Schwarkzkopf, author Mary Edwards Wertsch, and brats of all ages and branches of service. Seen on CNN’s “This Week at War” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Winner, Best Documentary, Best First Time Director, G.I. Film Festival’s Founders Choice Award.
A documentary work-in-progress about the inter-generational effects of combat-PTSD on military children and one Marine family's efforts to heal the wounds of war through art.
MILITARY KID INTERVIEWS
A selection of interviews from teenagers taking a Military Kid Art Project class with artist Lora Beldon at a high school in Virginia.
GALLERY 3: a family heals
When a soldier comes home from war with PTSD, it affects the entire family. Recent studies indicate it may even cause secondary PTSD in spouses and children. In this special segment of UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show, father and daughter artists Tom and Lora Beldon explore this phenomenon through their art.
Tom was a career Marine who served two year-long combat tours in Vietnam. Lora was three years old when he returned. After years of struggling, Tom and his wife finally divorced. Tom dropped Lora off at college and didn’t see her again for over 15 years.
After reuniting, Tom and Lora discovered that they had both been making art to help heal the wounds of war. Lora made her conceptual series Everywhere and Nowhere with graphite drawings inside hand-built toothpick frames. Tom created a fantastical “world” of hanging sculptures and installation pieces deep in the forest.
Tom and Lora discuss their experiences and artwork in excerpts from Donna Musil’s new documentary work-in-progress Our Own Private Battlefield. They agreed to share their story in order to help other military families know that it’s never too late to start over again.
UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show officially launched in 2013 and will continue as long as the public demands. To learn more about UNCLASSIFIED or to lease the exhibition, please contact Brats Without Borders.
|8/1/2015||9/4/2015||Colorado State University,
Fort Collins, CO (tentative dates)
|2/2/2015||3/13/2015||Hays-Heighe House at Harford Community College,
Bel Air, MD
|10/24/2014||11/15/2014||Lake Placid Center for the Arts,
Lake Placid, NY
|6/27/2014||8/10/2014||Old Dominion University,
|3/8/2014||5/31/2014||U.S. Space & Rocket Center,
|8/16/2013||10/26/2013||Hampden Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, VA|
- "Harford military BRATS are featured in exhibit at Hays-Heighe House through March 13," Baltimore Sun, by Erika Butler, February 27, 2015
- "Military Brats - An Unexpected Life," Lake Placid News, by Naj Wikoff, October 31, 2014
- "Military Kid Art Show Opens at LPCA," Adirondack Daily Enterprise, by Tom Salitsky, October 28, 2014
- "ODU to Host Traveling Art Exhibit Showcasing Lives of Military Kids," Old Dominion University, July 10, 2014
- "Artwork Unveils Life of Military Children," www.army.mil, by Kari Hawkins, April 9, 2014
- "U.S. Space & Rocket Center opens art exhibit displaying military 'brat' subculture," blog.al.com, by Amethyst Holmes, April 3, 2014
- "UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show," U.S. Space & Rocket Center, March 8, 2014
- "Military Brat Traveling Artifacts and Show," Macaroni Kid, by Kamlyn Jurgensen, June 7, 2013
- "Lohmann: The art of understanding children of the military," by Bill Lohmann, Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 23, 2013
- "Mission: Family: Traveling exhibit features art from military children," Army Times, by Karen Jowers, October 25, 2012
Newman's Own Award
In 1982, Paul Newman founded a company with a revolutionary social goal: to give away 100% of after-tax profits from the sale of its products to educational and charitable organizations. The company that grew out of this venture, Newman's Own, Inc., has now given over $300 million to thousands of charities. In 2012, UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show was the proud recipient of one of six Newman's Own Awards given to community organizations that break the mold and create innovative programs that improve the quality of life for military families, past and present.
The annual Newman's Own Awards program celebrates the original thinking and work ethic that made Paul's idea flourish. Tom Indoe, President and Chief Operating Officer of Newman’s Own, presented the award at the Pentagon to Lora Beldon, President of the Military Kid Art Project, and Donna Musil, Executive Director of Brats Without Borders. Joining Indoe were General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation; and Tobias Naegele, Editor in Chief at Military Times.
A total of 164 entries were received for the 2012 program. Six judges evaluated each entry based on the organization’s impact to their respective communities, creativity and innovation. Judges for the 2012 competition were:
- Mrs. Deanie Dempsey, Spouse of General Martin E. Dempsey, USA
- Mrs. Mary Winnefeld, Spouse of Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr., USN
- Mrs. Mary Jo Myers, Trustee, Fisher House Foundation
- Mrs. Tammy Fisher, Trustee, Fisher House Foundation
- Mr. Bill Lee, Assistant to the President, Newman’s Own
- Mr. Mark Tilley, Director, Sales, Newman’s Own
More Information About UNCLASSIFIED
- Download 1-page description of UNCLASSIFIED.
- Download 3-page description of UNCLASSIFIED.
- Link to 15-minute excerpts from BRATS: Our Journey Home on Vimeo.
- Link to 7-min excerpts from Our Own Private Battlefield on Vimeo.
- Official Newman's Own press release.
- UNCLASSIFIED sponsors and supporters.
- More information about the Newman's Own Awards.
- Donate to UNCLASSIFIED to help keep costs down for smaller venues.
- For more information or to inquire about bookings, please contact Brats Without Borders.