Student performances, writings and artwork reflecting upon the Vietnam War will be showcased from 5-8 p.m. July 29 as part of a unique program in Stritch’s Visual Arts Department called “The Open Box Project.”
“Open Box” is an interdisciplinary project in which Stritch students used a diverse range of creative talents to develop a response to contents within a given box. In spring, 32 students examined the contents of a box containing the belongings of renowned free-lance Vietnam War photographer Robert Ellison.
Ellison, whose photos were featured in Time, Newsweek and other national publications, was killed by enemy fire in Khe Sanh at age 23. His photography, on display May 6-July 31, 2011 in Stritch’s Northwestern Mutual Art Gallery, is part of the exhibit, “The Face of War: Vietnam Combat Photographers.”
After reviewing the box contents, the students then channeled their reactions to the artifacts and to Vietnam War issues into creating original work, representing their talents or academic discipline. The final result is performance art, musical compositions, paintings and more.
The participating students come from various academic departments including art, communication arts, graphic design, education, interactive media development, music, photography, and writing.
“I’ve had many powerful conversations with students about Vietnam and the political issues of today,” said Maureen Chavez-Kruger, art faculty member and Open Box Project coordinator. “The students are grappling with many issues – war, honor, bravery, what it means to serve your country, and more.”
The Open Box presentation event will include a reception from 5-6:30 p.m. July 29 in the lobby of the Northwestern Mutual Art Gallery, followed by guest speaker Jeffrey Kollath, curator of programs and exhibitions at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum from 6:30-7 p.m. in the adjoining Nancy Kendall Theater. Kollath will offer reflections on Ellison’s life. The formal student presentations of their work will take place from 7-8 p.m. in the Nancy Kendall Theater.
Admission is free and open to the public. The Northwestern Mutual Art Gallery and the Nancy Kendall Theater are both located in the Joan Steele Stein Center for Communication Studies/Fine Arts at Stritch, 6801 N. Yates Road.
About Stritch | Cardinal Stritch University, a fully accredited Catholic institution based in Milwaukee, provides transformative, value-centered education to more than 6,000 men and women of all faiths and ages in four colleges: Arts and Sciences, Education and Leadership, Business and Management, and the Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing. Founded in 1937 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, Stritch is the largest Franciscan institution of higher education in North America, with classroom sites across Wisconsin and Minnesota. To learn more, visit www.stritch.edu.
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