The Arts and the Military: Dominic Fredianelli, by Tara Leigh Tappert

The work to launch the Arts and the Military/Arts, Military + Healing (AMH) week in the Washington, DC area this past May is beginning to do what we all had hoped it would do — the event is inspiring new and exciting ventures throughout the country, as well as bringing tremendous press coverage to the work of Combat Paper Project.

On view this fall were two Combat Paper Project exhibitions in galleries at two different campuses of the University of Maryland:

Click here and here to view the gallaries.

Denise Merringolo, a public history professor who teaches at the Baltimore campus, attended the AMH event at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and School of Art + Design.  Moved by the Combat Paper exhibition on view at the Corcoran, shortly thereafter she began pursuing the possibility of a show on the UMBC campus for the fall, 2012 semester.  Her show then propelled Jason Hughes, a student curator and artist on the College Park campus, to request another Combat Paper show for the Stamp Gallery in the student union.  On December 5, 2012, an amazing critique of the UMBC exhibit, written by Bret Mccabe, was published in the Baltimore City Paper.

Mccabe began his review with a piece created by veteran/artist Dominic Fredanielli who participated in the Corcoran’s Combat Paper Project workshop this past May.  The genesis of Dom’s involvement in the  Arts and the Military/AMH event began nearly a year earlier when I attended the 2011 Silverdocs film festival and saw the Emmy award winning Where Soldiers Come From.

Set in a small town in Northern Michigan, and in the mountains of Afghanistan, the film follows the four-year journey of childhood friends, including Dom, who return as 23-year-old veterans dealing with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and PTSD.  While this documentary beautifully captures the coming of age of these young men, there is another story woven like a “red thread” through the film — the artwork of Dominic Fredianelli and how he uses art making to cope with his war experiences.  Care 4 Me . . . I’ll Remember You is the piece Dom made in the Corcoran’s Combat Paper Project workshop.  It is a memento mori to his friend Josh Wheeler who went to war but did not make his way through the trauma when he came back home.  Josh was killed in a car accident. He is acknowledged in the closing credits of Where Soldiers Come From, and also in Dom’s Care 4 Me . . . I’ll Remember You, an amazing image on Combat Paper that is now a part of the                         Combat Paper Project Exhibitions Collection.

Dominic is continuing to work as a practicing artist.  Since the Arts and the Military/AMH week he has created murals in Chicago and in Santa Barbara — the first for the National Veterans Art Museum and the second for the University of California at Santa Barbara.

We thank all our collaborators and sponsors who support the Arts and Military/AMH event, and whose mission is to help those service members and veterans dealing with both visible and invisible wounds of war.

Tara Leigh Tappert, JME Art Editor and Founder, The Arts and the Military.