Vet-A-Thon closes with Giselle Futtrell, Executive Director of the National Veterans Art Museum, shedding light on the museum’s mission and activities.

The museum, dedicated to engaging veterans through creative expression and preserving art created by military veterans, is not just a gallery but also houses community spaces like a theater, yoga studio, and ballet center.

Giselle’s background as a Marine significantly shapes her perspective on the museum’s mission. Having served as a radio operator and martial arts instructor in the Corps, she emphasized the importance of empathy and healing through artistic expression. The museum aims to connect veterans with their experiences and provides a platform for them to convey their stories creatively. Giselle details her journey, highlighting her passion for art and her military background.

Utilizing the GI Bill, she pursued a degree in creative writing and studio art, connecting with the National Veterans Art Museum. Her experiences working for the city of Boston and organizing engagement events further reinforced the importance of finding one’s tribe and using the arts as a tool for transitioning out of the military. The discussion touched upon the museum’s history, including its founding by Vietnam veterans, and the challenges faced in establishing the first location.

Despite setbacks, the National Veterans Art Museum now features impactful exhibits, such as Maurice Castillo’s autobiographical display and Randy Evans’ dynamic painting that changes with the room’s lighting.

Exhibits simulate the weight of a soldier’s gear, showcasing historical artifacts, and sharing the personal stories of soldiers. The museum’s programs extend beyond visual arts, including a two-week intensive course by Purple Heart recipient Richard Casper, using art and music to help combat veterans process their experiences.

National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) seeks to foster understanding between veterans and the wider community. Art, including sculptures like “Comfort Zone” made from old gas masks, serves as a powerful medium to convey the holistic healing veterans undergo. The museum challenges the narrative of broken veterans, aiming to reshape public perception and elevate conversations about supporting veterans, particularly in addressing the issue of veteran suicide.

The Veterans Breakfast Club’s Veterans Day VET-A-THON is a 12-hour online program bringing veterans from around the nation together to share their stories of service with the public. You’ll hear from veterans from every walk of life and branch of service, from World War II to the present. Guest hosts from across the globe will help share Veterans’ stories, military history, GI humor, Armed Forces trivia, and information for veteran and military families.