Art for Thought is an exhibition involving photos and abstract depictions to speak for the voices of student veterans and celebrate Veteran’s Day Sunday, Nov. 11. The exhibition, hosted by a Washburn Experience class, is presented in the Memorial Union from Nov. 5 to Nov. 12.
“They are going to understand what they [student veterans] went through, where they are at this point in their life,” said Chris Bowers, military transitions coordinator at Washburn who is one of the organizers for the exhibition. “A part of their assignment was to express their experience of diversion and military.”
The student veterans are from a WU101 class. Their papers were titled “My Worst Hard time,” in reference to the 2018 iREAD book “The Worst Hard Time” by Timothy Egan. They wrote about their time in the military and their diverse experiences while serving.
They had pictures from their time of serving. They also incorporated abstract details about what was in the photos and describing who they are. There were also different uniforms for both male and female presented.
There are 14 students in Bowers’ class and the population of military connected students are 260 on campus. There is a WU101 class for veterans and military connected students in each fall semester.
Stephen Winegar, freshman chemistry major, is one of the student veterans in the WU101 class. In his paper, he described the hardships in his life that contributed to his decision to enlist. Those stories shaped him as a person from the time he enlisted, through his deployment and ended with his academic career.
There was a photo titled “Returning Home,” which depicted when he first met his daughter. He kissed her on her face. He was deployed when his daughter was born, and he hadn’t seen his daughter until she was six months old.
“We’ve gone through specific jobs and training, and we worked specific fields,” said Winegar. “We went through a lot of work to get in school, so we have to figure out what we want before we are going.”
Winegar didn’t get along well with his science teacher in high school. As he was separated from his serving, he was thinking about how he liked science. Science was his favorite subject. Now, he is a student on campus, and he wants to be the kind of teacher he wanted and make an impact on society.
“After getting into military and self-discipline [and] getting out, I think qualified a better teacher,” said Winegar. “I just want to be the change I want to see.”
The Art for Thought exhibition is promoting student veterans on campus. The real stories show what they went through while serving and their feelings about studying in school now. Each student veteran has different stories.
“Our diversity is very broad and very open,” said Bowers. “The military is a melting pot where you can see every kind of people you can think of in the United States.”
Overall, Art for Thought speaks for the voices of student veterans. The exhibition will last until Monday, Nov. 12. If people are interested in the exhibition, stop by the Memorial Union to take a look at their experiences.