Preserving Veteran History Through Art
"Shadows of our Past" is about pulling veteran history out of a shoe box and into a shadow box. The history of their service should not be hidden in a dark corner of a garage, attic, or basement collecting dust. Their earned memorabilia should not be found in a pawn shop awarded to the highest bidder or lost to a landfill. This rich history should be displayed honorably.
As a project under the Veteran History and Arts Initiative (VHAI), "Shadows of our Past" embodies the passion to obtain, preserve, and honor our Montana veterans through creative creations in all forms of art. The binding element that holds our mission intact is not only the community connection, but also community ownership.
"These are Montana veterans. Your veterans. Our veterans."
So, what is our goal? The goal of “Shadows of our Past” is to connect artists, craftsmen, blacksmiths, and stonemasons with at least 20 loved ones of service members who have passed without prior opportunity to share their stories. The final outcome will be a work of art in the form of a shadow box that will hold medals, unit patches, letters home, and so much more. The production of the exhibit will cost an estimate of $15,000 that will cover the commissioning of art, space and materials for display, and student employment to manage the space. Once the exhibit is complete, these heritage-based pieces of art will be returned to the families so they can be handed down to future generations in remembrance.
Their sacrifice should not go unnoticed, uncelebrated, or forgotten.
The long-term goal is for VHAI to use this exhibit as a "proof of concept" for funding. Through generous grants and donors we aim to allow this project to be represented in every county and reservation in Montana.