Fanshawe to host art exhibit by military and emergency services personnel

The Fanshawe College logo is show, as is a piece of artwork. The text states: Veterans Art Exhibit. CREDIT: COURTESY OF DARLENE O'NEILL
The Veterans Art Initiative Exhibit is on May 2-3, organized by artist James Agesen with support from Fanshawe's Military-Connected Campus.

Fanshawe College will host the Veterans Art Initiative Exhibit for the first time on May 2 and 3.

James Agesen, a local artist and former member of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), is behind this event.

“As a Military-Connected Campus, Fanshawe is honoured to host and support this exhibit,” said the lead administrator for Fanshawe’s Military-Connected Campus, Darlene O’Neill. “The Veterans Art Initiative Exhibit serves as a significant medium to honour and recognize the service of those military and first responders who selflessly contribute to our community, country, and world. It also provides an opportunity to educate students, staff, faculty, and the public about the experiences of veterans and first responders.”

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The objective is to draw attention to the creative abilities of military personnel and emergency services workers from all over Canada.

“It’s an opportunity for our students to learn about the impacts and effects of service for first responders and military-connected people,” O’Neill said. “But it’s also an opportunity for us to celebrate the contributions of our veterans, whether they were RCMP or military or paramedics or doctors or nurses, anybody who's a first responder and or a veteran.”

The exhibit, hosted at Innovation Village in the Canada Life Village Square, will feature approximately 60 pieces of artwork, including sculptures and paintings, representing diverse artistic styles and expressions.

“There seems to be quite a span of the different types of art, whether it’s modern art or contemporary art or traditional paintings, portraits, self-portraits, that type of art,” O’Neill said.

Moreover, Agesen said in a statement, the Veterans Art Initiative offers a creative means of expression for those dealing with their occupation’s physical and mental tolls.

“I believe the arts can provide a release or therapy for those suffering the aftermath of such dedication,” Agesen said.

According to O’Neill, the exhibit serves as a platform for healing and expression.

“It’s a way to release stress, as most artists will say. It’s a way to release creativity, stress, and a healing mechanism.”

As a Military-Connected Campus, Fanshawe aims to provide holistic support for military-connected students, offering academic and social support tailored to their needs.

“When I talk about military-connected students, I’m talking about students who are currently serving in the military, students who are serving in the reserve force, students who are veterans, and students who are family members of military-connected people,” O’Neill explained.

The event is open to all, allowing attendees to engage with the artists and purchase artwork.

“Everybody is welcome to come in and view the artwork, speak to the artist,” O’Neill said. “The artists will be there to answer questions. And the artworks are also going to be available for sale.”

The exhibition will be open to the public on May 2 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and May 3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.