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Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide

February 09,2017

Veteran’s Art in New Local Exhibit at Virginia MOCA



One in four adults lives with a mental health condition, yet this common illness often remains hidden behind a wall of secrecy and isolation. Mindful: Exploring Mental Health through Art, the new exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach, breaks down societal stigmas and offers an opportunity to encounter and understand mental health through the lens of contemporary craft. Art is also recognized as a Complementary Alternative Medicine to help veterans heal from both visible and invisible wounds of war. Artist and veteran Jesse Albrecht is one of the artists in the exhibit.

Jesse Albrecht’s bio shares, “At family gatherings I heard bits and pieces about relatives fighting at Tarawa, Pearl Harbor, New Guinea and Vietnam. Joining the National Guard at nineteen–I couldn’t resist any longer the need to understand first-hand what being a soldier was really like. At the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire I majored in ceramics. In 2000 I moved to Iowa City, Iowa, to pursue my MFA in ceramics at the University of Iowa. Transferring National Guard units I was re-classed as a combat medic. I was walking to an advanced life drawing class on September 11th, 2001. Halfway through my MFA I was deployed to Iraq with A Co 109th Area Support Medical Battalion and attached to the 101st Airborne (AirAssault) Division as an emergency medicine Non Commissioned Officer.”



“In addition to treating combat and non-combat patients I found myself running many convoys around Mosul and Northern Iraq without the ceramic plates for my body armor that would actually stop bullets. Returning home was a surreal experience and the transition was rough at times. Returning to graduate school allowed art to capture the overwhelming cultural, mental, and physical experience of Iraq.  I currently live in Bozeman, Montana. I work in a media inclusive manner . I am in the collaborative art group Paintallica and a hang around of  the Combat Paper Project.”


Thursday February 16 at 6:30 PM, Albrecht will be giving an exclusive talk about his work as part of Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art exhibition. Albrecht analyzes the historical, cultural, ethical, and contemporary aspects of war.

Saturday, February 18, MOCA will host a Master Class with Albrecht.  More information at