From the Director
Since 2010, the Frist Center has participated in Blue Star Museums, a nationwide initiative to give the country’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including those in the National Guard and Reserve, free admission from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The program is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America. Each summer, the Frist Center extends free admission to retired military as well. It is a pleasure to offer a place and a context where those who serve can feel welcome and appreciated.
In conjunction with World War I and American Art, which opened on October 6, we hosted a special event on October 13, where veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan presented responses to a prompt inspired by the exhibition. We coordinated the evening with Writer Corps, a Tennessee-based community literacy project for U.S. service members, veterans, and their families. For many participants, the exercise of crafting, collaborating on, and revising reflections on their experiences can help alleviate some symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The program encourages them to articulate their thoughts and feelings through creative writing, and publishes a selection of works annually in the literary journal DMZ.
By sharing their stories with us, these veterans serve us once again by increasing our appreciation for their sacrifices and intensifying our comprehension of exhibitions such as World War I and American Art. This was the second Writer Corps reading at the Frist Center; in 2014, we were honored and moved to hear from members of the Middle Tennessee State University chapter, who joined us in the galleries for Goya: The Disasters of War and Steve Mumford’s War Journals, 2003–2013.
We are grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for their ongoing support of Blue Star Museums. We also thank the anonymous donor whose funding helped provide free Frist Center memberships for local active-duty military and their families.
World War I and American Art is on view in Ingram Gallery through January 21. Please join us when you can.
Susan H. Edwards, PhD
Executive Director and CEO