Veteran art featured at the Chihuly Collection

05 Nov 2020, Posted by Robin McGowan in Events, News, Press Releases

Photo above by AOV artist Jeff Cadwell

The Chihuly Collection, presented by the Morean Arts Center, will feature an exhibition of art created by Veterans participating in the Morean’s Operation: Art of Valor program beginning on Wednesday, November 11 in honor of Veteran’s Day.  The exhibition will feature both works of glass art and photography.

The glass art was created through Operation: Art of Valor, a community-based arts partnership with the James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital (JAHVH) which is a Creative Forces: National Endowment for the Arts clinical site.

“This program has helped save my life. It has also shown me that I am more than a veteran. I am an artist.”-        Participating Veteran

Launched in March of 2018, the program began in the Morean Glass Studio.  This year, the program expanded to photography.

The Master Glass Artisans of the Morean Glass Studio lead teams of program participants through structured, hand-on learning that focuses on improving cognition, social interaction, physical dexterity, teamwork and confidence.  The photography program features photo expeditions and meet-ups supervised by Morean Arts Center photographer and US Coast Guard Veteran Beth Reynolds.

“Sometimes glassblowing reflects life. I’ve learned to realize that somedays all of my projects don’t turn out as I would have hoped. It was difficult to let go of the failed pieces when I first started. … Now, I can realize when it’s best to just scrap it, take a break, and start over.”


–        Participating Veteran

Morean Arts Center. Operation:Art of Valor Program. The Morean Arts Center (MAC) has partnered with James A. Haley Veterans Hospital (JAHVH) to offer glassblowing to military patients and veterans as part of a community-based arts program. 

First established as the St. Petersburg Art Club 103 years ago, the Morean Arts Center has been committed to serving and connecting the community to arts. “Exposure to the arts and the conscious exploration of creativity empower participants with new tools for self-expression and is of critical importance while traditional support systems have been impacted by recent circumstances. It is our honor to facilitate the creative learning process for those who have served our country,” said Howayda Affan, Executive Director Morean Arts Center.

Glass Artist and Veteran Chris Stowe is a nationally recognized advocate for the program. “From that moment, I could see how the creative process, the discipline and teamwork required to achieve success, were all beneficial to other veterans,” he said. “While it is important to note that these programs are not considered therapy, they serve as a critical opportunity for continued self-expression through the arts outside of clinical care. Having a place where veterans can connect through experience and collaborate artistically has proven to be beneficial to program participants,” added Stowe.

“We are exploring the design of programs that would use clay and other creative materials to achieve similar benefits,” explained Affan. “This work is aligned with our mission of connecting the entire community to art and our legacy of accessibility to art.”

With the Veteran’s Day Holiday falling on Wednesday in the middle of the week, the Morean Arts Center will offer $5 admissions for Veterans and their families to the Chihuly Collection for the week of November 7 to 14th. Admission to the Chihuly Collection also includes the opportunity to observe glass blowing demonstrations and to visit the galleries of the Morean Arts Center, the Morean Glass Studio and the Morean Center for Clay. The Chihuly Collection, Morean Arts Center, and Morean Glass Studio will observe usual business hours from 10 am to 5 pm on the Veteran’s Day Holiday, Wednesday, November 11, 2020.

This project is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts (Section 286.25, Florida Statutes).

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