National Veterans Art Museum Triennial & Veteran Art Summit

On War & Survival

Exhibition May 3, 2019 - July 29, 2019

With a focus on the visual, literary, performative and creative practices of veterans, the National Veterans Art Museum Triennial explores a century of war and survival while challenging the perception that war is something only those who have served in the military can comprehend. Throughout history, art has provided a frame to create meaning out of the complicated experience of war, seek justice and imagine reconciliation. The NVAM Triennial draws on this history to connect today’s veteran artists with the history of veteran creative practices and their impact on society over the past century. The NVAM Triennial exhibition opening coincides with the Veteran Art Summit featuring a series of presentations, workshops, panels, and discussions on May 3–5 at the Chicago Cultural Center, National Veterans Art Museum, and the DePaul Art Museum.

All the program and exhibition spaces are wheelchair accessible. The NVAM strives to make the NVAM Triennial and Veteran Art Summit as accessible as possible. Please contact Aaron Hughes <> if you have any specific needs.




Triennial Exhibition Openings

Thursday, April 25, 2019 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm | Eric J. Garcia: The Bald Eagle’s Toupee at the DePaul Art Museum

Friday, May 3, 2019 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm | Open/Closed at the National Veterans Art Museum (With open mic hosted by Warrior Writers)

Saturday, May 4, 2019 | 6:30pm - 9:00pm | Making Meaning, Convergence, Conflict Exchange, Veteran Movements, & Return to the Body Performance Program at the Chicago Cultural Center



National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) | 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave. 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL

Chicago Cultural Center (CCC) | 78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL

DePaul Art Museum (DPAM) | 935 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL



Jesse Albrecht, Anthony Aiello, Ralph Arnold, HipólitoArriaga, Rick Bartow, Drew Cameron, Kelly Carter, Horace Coleman, Michael Cox, Matthew Deibel, Alicia Dietz, Otto Dix, Rodney Ewing, Eric J. Garcia, Fanny Garcia, Nicole Goodwin, Sharon Grant Wildwind, Randolph Harmes, Rolando Hinojosa, Amber Hoy, Ken Hruby, Jasper Johns, Kiam Marcelo Junio, David Keefe, Michael Kelley, Ash Kyrie, Willyum LaBeija, Jacob Lawrence, Joseph Lefthand, Jack Levine, Monty Little, Ulysses S. Marshall, Leo McStravick, Cao Ba Minh, Robert Morris, Howard Nemerov, Richard Olsen, Jefferson Pinder, Jessica Putnam-Phillips, James Razko, Karin Rodney-Haapala, Roy Scranton, Brandon Secrest, Alan Seeger, Gerald Sheffield, Mary Louise Sorrin, Karen Skolfield, Ehren Tool, Anthony Torres, Keith Wilson, Richard Yohnka, Yeon J. Yue, and Cleveland Wright.

With special guest Iraqi-American artists Wafaa Bilal.



The NVAM Triennial exhibition is unique in the history of triennials in that it will not only highlight contemporary veteran art practices, but will draw the connection between contemporary artworks and the history of veteran creative practices over the past century. To accomplish this the NVAM Triennial exhibition examines the signs, symbols, forms, techniques, and strategies that veterans use across generations to create meaning out of war, seek justice, and imagine reconciliation. Additionally, the Triennial brings these concepts to the broader public to foster a better understanding of the impact of war across all facets of society. The NVAM Triennial centers around three correlating installations at the Chicago Cultural Center (CCC), and exhibitions at the National Veterans Art Museum and DePaul Art Museum (DPAM).

Making Meaning | Chicago Rooms, Chicago Cultural Center

Opening Saturday, May 4, 2019 | 6:30pm - 9:00pm

Making Meaning presents a survey of veteran art that addresses the complications and complexities of war and military service. The exhibition highlights the use of common imagery, forms, techniques, and strategies across generations, from World War I to the Global War on Terror.


CONVERGENCE | South & Central Michigan Galleries, Chicago Cultural Center

Opening Saturday, May 4, 2019 | 6:30pm - 9:00pm

The artworks featured in CONVERGENCE are presented as instruments of change, as well as invitations to reflect upon and seek justice through simple acts of reconciliation.


Veteran Movements | North Michigan Gallery, Chicago Cultural Center

Opening Saturday, May 4, 2019 | 6:30pm - 9:00pm

This installation investigates veterans’ historic and contemporary contributions to social justice and political movements. It features ephemera such as posters, photos, newspapers and broadsides.


Conflict Exchange | Garland Gallery, Chicago Cultural Center

Opening Saturday, May 4, 2019 | 6:30pm - 9:00pm

Iraqi-American artist Wafaa Bilal launches a series of social platforms in the format of stores that explore the equity and relationships of post-conflict. Bilal presents works by veteran artists Alicia Dietz and Drew Cameron in this inaugural edition.


Open/Closed | National Veterans Art Museum

Opening Friday, May 3, 2019 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Open/Closed showcases contemporary works by Fanny Garcia, Cao Ba Minh, James Razko, Karin Rodney-Haapala, Brandon Secrest, Gerald Sheffield and Yeon J. Yue. These works reach beyond identities defined only by the war in which one served and the demands to explain one's place in that conflict.


Eric J. Garcia: The Bald Eagle’s Toupee | DePaul Art Museum

Opening Thursday, April 25, 2019 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm

DPAM presents a solo exhibition by Chicago-based artist Eric J. Garcia as part of the first ever NVAM Triennial. Garcia’s interdisciplinary practice utilizes political satire to critique social and political issues, confronting corrupt politicians, gentrification, violence, racism, and other social injustices.​​ Eric J. Garcia: The Bald Eagle’s Toupee features a site-specific mural and a new adaptation of the 2016 installation War Nest. Other works include a video trailer for a forthcoming video game, produced with the Plug In Studio, that follows the experience of a veteran returning home and re-acclimating to civilian life.


Return to the Body | Chicago Cultural Center
Opening Performance | Procession | Friday, May 3rd, 2019 | 11:00am - 12:00pm

Performance Lab Presentations Saturday, May 4th, 2019 | 10:00am - 12:30pm

Keynote Performances | Combat Hippies | Jefferson Pinder | May 4th,  2019 | 7:30pm - 9:00pm

Return to the Body presents the work of eight veterans who utilize the body and performance to examine the complex and shifting narratives of identity, militarism, and personal and collective histories of resistance and survival.


A Century of War Poetry

The NVAM Triennial offers a free literary guide demonstrating how veterans have influenced American poetry over the past century. It includes 12 poems, contextual essays and discussion questions for students and reading groups.



CONFLICT EXCHANGE | Chicago Cultural Center

Conflict Exchange (CX) is a new project by Iraqi-American artist Wafaa Bilal presented with veteran artists Alicia Dietz and Drew Cameron. CX is both store and social platform that explores the equity and relationships of exchange that arise post conflict. Volunteers will welcome people to the space, explain the project and help manage the exchange between Combat Paper and books being contributed to rebuild the library at The College of Fine Arts at Baghdad University.


To volunteer for Conflict exchange, please apply here:   



Chicago Cultural Center | 78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL

Chicago Cultural Center (CCC) is the nation’s first and most comprehensive free municipal cultural venue. Every year, the Chicago Cultural Center presents hundreds of free international, national, regional and local artists, musicians and performers, providing a showcase where the public can enjoy and learn about the arts.


DePaul Art Museum | 935 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL

DePaul Art Museum (DPAM) is a world-class museum located in the heart of Lincoln Park on DePaul University’s campus. DPAM is open to the public and presents four to nine temporary exhibitions per year with a permanent collection of more than 3,500 objects with strengths in international modern and contemporary art.


National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.


University of Illinois at Chicago, Museum and Exhibition Studies Program (UIC MUSE) is an interdisciplinary graduate program with a social justice focus. It emphasizes the evolving social and political contexts of today’s cultural institutions and provides students with the intellectual and professional background necessary to thrive in a multitude of positions, including as curators, gallery directors, museum educators, exhibition developers, and professionals within the emerging spheres of digital information-sharing.


Richard Harris Art Collection

Richard Harris grew up in New York and graduated from Queens College with a degree in Economics and a strong background in art history. After a long career in the art reproduction business, he began building his own collection. Over the past 40 years, he has accumulated over 1,500 objects exploring themes of death and mortality.