EVAC Project

Using storytelling and art, the EVAC Project bridges the gap between civilians and veterans by educating the public about life in the military.

The Problem

Mental health providers are losing the battle with helping veterans in part because veterans feel isolated and don’t want to ask for help. Veterans commit suicide at a rate of 20 per day (US Department of Veterans Affairs, 2016). Deployed veterans who served between 2001-2007 had a 41% higher suicide rate than the general population (Kang et al., 2015). Studies show veterans who share their stories may help with PTSD recovery (Bunnell et al., 2017; Erbes, Stillman, Wieling, Bera & Leskela, 2014; Hassall, 2013).

While there are veterans art therapy programs, there are few programs that address the civilian perception of veterans through art.

The Solution

Experiencing Veterans and Artists Collaborations (EVAC) is an art project that brings together veterans and artists. EVAC curators interview veterans about their experiences, and artists make an edition of prints based on their interpretation of those stories. The prints are exhibited with excerpts from the transcribed interviews. EVAC works to bridge the often precarious gap between military and civilian life.

EVAC gives glimpses into real people’s lived experiences and creates an environment for a viewer that invites genuine understanding and engagement. The process of storytelling and interpretation central to EVAC makes it a project uniquely positioned to promote empathy from multiple groups – the artist and viewer for the veteran’s experience, and the veteran for the artist’s realization of their stories. As one participating veteran said, "I was struck by the sense of being a part of something much larger than themselves in participating in this project; not unlike the feeling that we experienced in the military, and particularly in combat.”

EVAC has exhibited at Tiffin University (Ohio), Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, and the Army Transportation Museum (Virginia). It will travel to the Pentagon, Dulles International Airport, and Stockton University (New Jersey) in 2018 and 2019. There are more than 100 participating veterans and artists so far.

While primarily a traveling exhibition, EVAC has several additional projects including educational programs, an impact study, and developing community through events.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

EVAC Project Inc.

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