National Veterans Art Museum

National Veterans Art Museum The truly unique National Veterans Art Museum features work by combat veterans from all conflicts.
The National Veterans Art Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation and exhibition of art inspired by combat and created by veterans. Our new space at 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue opened on Veterans Day, November 1, 2012.
(154)

In 1981, a few Vietnam combat veterans put together an artistic and historical collection that would become a timeless, humanistic statement of war on behalf of all veterans for future generations. The Vietnam Veterans Art Group formed in Chicago in 1981. One year later, the group mounted its first exhibit of veteran artwork entitled “Reflexes and Reflections.” The exhibit toured museums and galleries nationwide. The overwhelming emotional response to the work, along with an increasing amount of contributions by artists, led to the official establishment of a permanent museum. Upon viewing the collection, Mayor Richard Daley was so personally moved that he allocated a permanent building to house the collection. The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum opened its doors at the original location at 1801 S. Indiana Avenue in 1996. Since 2003, the museum has broadened its mission to include art by veterans of all wars. In 2010, the word Vietnam was dropped the from and we became the National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM). Today, the NVAM houses more than 2,500 works of art, including paintings, photography, sculpture, poetry and music. All works in the Museum’s permanent collection were created by more than 255 artists who are veterans of American conflicts. The artwork showcased at the museum provide unique viewpoint on the controversial subject of war to all. It is a tenuous and reflective balance of beauty and horror, giving unique insight into the psyche of combat veterans and consequential hindsight war leaves on its survivors. Opening on Veterans Day, November 11, 2012, the museum recently relocated from its original location to its new home in center of the historical Portage Park neighborhood of the city of Chicago. National Veterans Art Museum 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Second Floor Chicago, Illinois 60641

Mission: The National Veterans Art Museum inspires greater understanding of the real impact of war with a focus on Vietnam and recent wars. The museum collects, preserves and exhibits art inspired by combat and created by veterans.

Today, on the 75th anniversary of #VEDay we honor and thank the veterans that sacrificed for our freedom, helping to bui...
05/09/2020

Today, on the 75th anniversary of #VEDay we honor and thank the veterans that sacrificed for our freedom, helping to build a better world.

Pictured below is a silkscreen from NVAM’s permanent collection titled “Big Bird Cage” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Vonnegut enlisted into the U.S. Army in 1943. He was sent to Europe with the 106th Infantry Division and quickly found himself fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. Later he was captured by German soldiers and taken to a prison camp near Dresden. During that time, Vonnegut lived in a slaughterhouse. By the end of May, 1945, Vonnegut returned to the U.S. where he continued his military service at Fort Riley, Kansas. Before he was discharged from the U.S. Army, he received a Purple Heart for frostbite.

Initially the image of an empty bird cage was inspired by the story of Trout and Bill in his novel “Breakfast of Champions.” Later though, it became a personal symbol for Vonnegut. When he passed away and his website was temporarily shut down, the cage held its place.

It is a hopeful image— an image of freedom. It reminds us that there is something worth wishing for, and that we can all work to improve the world around us.

Thank you for your generosity in supporting NVAM on #GivingTuesdayNow!
05/08/2020

Thank you for your generosity in supporting NVAM on #GivingTuesdayNow!

Join NVAM on #GivingTuesdayNow Support the preservation of the veteran story and artworks within NVAM’s permanent collec...
05/05/2020

Join NVAM on #GivingTuesdayNow
Support the preservation of the veteran story and artworks within NVAM’s permanent collection!
Give now: bit.ly/nvamgtn

Photo by László Kondor - NVAM Permanent Collection
Title: Chicago Flag

Today is #GivingTuesdayNowJoin NVAM on this day of unity and support for education!Give now: bit.ly/nvamgtnPhoto credit:...
05/05/2020

Today is #GivingTuesdayNow
Join NVAM on this day of unity and support for education!
Give now: bit.ly/nvamgtn

Photo credit: NVAM's partner, The Honeycomb Project

#veteranart #artseducationmatters #militarynonprofit #chicagononprofit

Today is #GivingTuesdayNowJoin NVAM on this day of unity and support. As a friend of NVAM, your support will make a diff...
05/05/2020

Today is #GivingTuesdayNow

Join NVAM on this day of unity and support. As a friend of NVAM, your support will make a difference. On this #GivingTuesdayNow, remember NVAM, support our mission, and know that we will continue to provide a resounding voice for veterans now, and well into the future!

Give now: bit.ly/nvamgtn

#NVAM #veteranart #beextraordinary #showusyourgood

Tomorrow, NVAM will be participating in #GivingTuesdayNow, a new global day of giving and unity created by #GivingTuesda...
05/05/2020

Tomorrow, NVAM will be participating in #GivingTuesdayNow, a new global day of giving and unity created by #GivingTuesday

In partnership with Kids Rank, the National Veterans Art Museum created an arts curriculum: WE ARE RESILIENCE creating m...
05/02/2020

In partnership with Kids Rank, the National Veterans Art Museum created an arts curriculum: WE ARE RESILIENCE creating masks around the theme of endurance. Looking at endurance from the flexibility needed in creating a design, making adaptions when faced with challenges, physical training breaks in between painting, we celebrated the art-making process! We are so proud of the Kids Rank members for their physical and emotional resilience of being military children.

In these times when wearing masks and face coverings has become an important safety measure. Thank you to volunteers across the world from artists, students, teachers, veterans, and families for creating and distributing cloth masks to essential workers and communities in shortage. Check out these sew and no-sew templates from the CDC website to do at home! https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

Interested in designing your own mask for the WE ARE RESILIENCE mask project? Download the mask template from our website: https://www.nvam.org/kidsrank.html to design your own masks filled with colors and images of how you are being resilient and enduring during this time! Here are some questions to help you with your design: What is a mask? Who wears masks? Why do we wear them? What color are you feeling? How does that color express your feeling?

Thank you to all our military service members and their families, we acknowledge the unique challenges our military families are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. A special thank you to our resilient young people! We appreciate and celebrate you and look forward seeing the artwork on exhibition!

Follow our partner, Kids Rank on Facebook: Kids Rank and Instagram: @kids_rank

#kidsrank #nvam #purpleup #monthofthemilitarychild #militarykids #militarynonprofit #chicagononprofit

Check out this timeline that maps the historical relationship between Surrealism and war. The timeline was originally pu...
04/24/2020

Check out this timeline that maps the historical relationship between Surrealism and war. The timeline was originally published in the exhibition catalogue “Surrealism & War” (2014).

You can explore the catalogue and learn more about the artworks exhibited in “Surrealism & War” by visiting NVAM’s Education page:
https://www.nvam.org/education.html

#exhibitioncatalogue #surrealismandwar

National Veterans Art Museum
04/13/2020

National Veterans Art Museum

NVAM Education and Programs Manager, Moki Tantoco challenged NVAM staff to a virtual game of exquisite corpse. Like most...
04/10/2020

NVAM Education and Programs Manager, Moki Tantoco challenged NVAM staff to a virtual game of exquisite corpse. Like most folks working from home, we jumped on a #zoommeeting to connect. Pictured is a snapshot from the virtual reveal of our completed corpse sections. We had an absolute blast creating this, and a few good laughs, too!

NVAM challenges you to create your own exquisite corpse! Directions below. Remember to share your finished exquisite corpses with NVAM by tagging us on social media @nationalveteransartmuseum, or by taking a picture and e-mailing Moki at [email protected] We will post the collected responses on our Education Blog!

Directions: If you are playing virtually like NVAM, assign corpse sections in categories: head, body, legs and feet. Prompt players to create their corpse sections using any media- ink, colored pencil, crayons, collage, etc. Make sure to confirm the orientation of the exquisite corpse with your players! The traditional orientation is vertical. Reveal your completed exquisite corpse sections on your preferred virtual communication platform. Take a picture and share with us!

If you are playing in-person with family/friends that are sheltering-in-place with you, follow these traditional exquisite corpse steps: fold a paper in tri- or quarter-fold to match the number of players (NVAM staff used quarter-fold; we had four players). Have one player draw the corpse head in the top section of the folded paper. Make sure they know to mind the crease. Player one should then pass the folded paper on to player two without revealing the head (that's why the paper is folded). Next have the second player draw the body in the middle section of the folded paper and pass on to the third and fourth players in the same fashion as player one (without revealing the completed corpse sections). Players three and four create the legs and feet in the lower sections of the folded paper. Once all corpse sections are complete, unfold the paper to reveal the finished exquisite corpse. Take a picture and share with us!

#wfh #museumathome #artsed

Here are some of the final exquisite corpses created by our workshop participants!   Follow NVAM’s social media channels...
04/07/2020

Here are some of the final exquisite corpses created by our workshop participants!

Follow NVAM’s social media channels this week as we continue to share more about the “Surrealism & War” exhibition.

----> Swipe through for more photos of previous exhibition programming from NVAM’s #museumarchives. This artist-led #wor...
04/07/2020

----> Swipe through for more photos of previous exhibition programming from NVAM’s #museumarchives. This artist-led #workshop created a space for visitors to make their own exquisite corpses after they toured the “Surrealism & War” exhibition which charted the connection between surrealist history and veteran art.

The exquisite corpse game was adapted from an old parlor game played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal a section of it, and pass it on to the next player for their contribution. Rather than words though, the surrealist utilized drawing and collage and assigning a section of a body to each player which often resulted in a vague human form. @ National Veterans Art Museum

Pictured: A previous NVAM #museumtour exploring the exhibition “Surrealism & War” (2014).   There is a deep historical r...
04/07/2020

Pictured: A previous NVAM #museumtour exploring the exhibition “Surrealism & War” (2014).

There is a deep historical relationship between veterans and surrealism. Veterans’ artwork, which explores and expresses the experience of war, has historically resulted in works that negotiate similar aesthetic and conceptual concerns as surrealism- including exploring the unconscious, automatism, disfigured bodies, juxtaposed symbols, found objects, and nonsensical language.

Last week we reflected on the artwork of NVAM artist, Frankie J. Howery and considered the importance of our connection ...
04/02/2020

Last week we reflected on the artwork of NVAM artist, Frankie J. Howery and considered the importance of our connection to family, friends and community. This week we are thinking about how we can use a critical eye to better understand the complexities of two-dimensional works on paper through the exploration of artwork by NVAM artist, Kim Jones.

Kim Jones’ “War Drawing,” pictured above is from his “War Drawings” series. The line work that we see is evocative of movement and full of energy, similar to the visual language of American artist, Keith Haring. Unlike Haring though, Jones’ style is inherent to the interactive nature of his work.

What we see in “War Drawing” is the result of a game played with pencil and erasers on paper. Of the series, Jones states, “I draw x's and dots, black tanks and white ones. The x-men and dot-men fight each other for domination of the maze in which they live. The troops are moved or killed when they are erased or redrawn. The remaining ghost image becomes a history of their movements.”

Jones is also a performance artist, primarily known for his shamanistic alter ego, “Mudman.” In “War Drawing” we see his nod to the process of continual transformation through action like that of his performance work.

“War Drawing” has NVAM staff on #tbt #throwbackthursday thinking of the last time this artwork was on display during the exhibition run of Surrealism & War in 2014.

Stay tuned as we share our deep dive into the connection between surrealist history and veteran art.

Kim Jones was born in San Bernadino, California in 1944 and served in Vietnam in the U.S. Marine Corps 3d Battalion, 4th Regiment, 3d Marine Division from 1967-1968.

Pictured: War Drawing, Kim Jones, Copyright National Veterans Art Museum

NVAM is happy to announce that we will proudly present the first major Chicago museum exhibition devoted to the photogra...
04/01/2020

NVAM is happy to announce that we will proudly present the first major Chicago museum exhibition devoted to the photography of U.S. veteran and renowned photojournalist, László Kondor (b. 1941, Hungary). The exhibition will chart three distinct bodies of work captured by the artist during the Vietnam Era: the 1968 civil unrest during the protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; the lived experience of the Vietnam War from the American soldier’s point of view; and that of the Vietnamese civilians. The three have never before been brought together in a museum exhibition. The thematic survey will include approximately 80 photographs of historical significance from the Vietnam Era.

We look forward to seeing you throughout the exhibition run, when it is safe for us to gather as community and return back to public life.

Learn more about the upcoming exhibition here: www.nvam.org/upcoming-exhibitions.html

#museumexhibit #chicagoexhibition #photography #chicagohistory #combatphotographer #vietnamveteran
#veteranartist #veteranart
#1968democraticconvention
#triptych #multipleperspectives

#zoomin and discover the thoughtful details that makeup the sketches created by #chicagoartist and #vietnamveteran, Fran...
03/31/2020

#zoomin and discover the thoughtful details that makeup the sketches created by #chicagoartist and #vietnamveteran, Frankie J. Howery. Join NVAM’s exploration of his work through the creation of your own postcards to gain a deeper understanding of the veteran experience, ourselves and community during the times of social distancing and shelter-in-place.

Make a postcard! Tag us on social media @nationalveteransartmuseum, or scan/take pictures of your finished postcards to share with us. We will post the collected responses on our Education Blog! E-mail NVAM Education and Programs Manager, Moki Tantoco at [email protected]

Pictured: Letters Home, Frankie J. Howery, Copyright National Veterans Art Museum

Frankie J. Howery was born in Chicago in 1943. He served in Vietnam as an Aircrew Egress Systems Technician in the U.S. Air Force 366th Field Maintenance Squadron from 1966-67.

👀 Take a peak at some of the postcard entries we received from NVAM friends and staff. What’s on your postcard? Scan or ...
03/30/2020

👀 Take a peak at some of the postcard entries we received from NVAM friends and staff. What’s on your postcard? Scan or send pictures of your postcards to Moki Tantoco ([email protected]) for a chance to have your artwork featured in our upcoming education blog on our website!

Today is National Vietnam War Veterans Day. On this U.S. holiday, we honor and thank our nation’s Vietnam veterans and t...
03/29/2020

Today is National Vietnam War Veterans Day. On this U.S. holiday, we honor and thank our nation’s Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. Pictured above is “Elephant Grass,” by NVAM artist, former U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran, Charles Shobe.

Adjusting to a new, unprecedented reality in the physical absence of friends and family can be extremely isolating. The ...
03/26/2020

Adjusting to a new, unprecedented reality in the physical absence of friends and family can be extremely isolating. The veterans and military families who have selflessly served our great nation, know this very well.

Take for example, Chicago artist and Vietnam veteran, Frankie J. Howery. Pictured above are selections from his Letters Home series.

Howery started drawing on the envelopes of his letters home to amuse himself and pass the time, to illustrate the topics of his letters, and to convince his family not to worry about him by injecting some humor into the depictions of his day-to-day life.

Reflecting on Howery’s artwork has us thinking about the ways in which we can remain digitally connected to our friends and family during the times of social distancing and shelter-in-place. How have you been connecting with your family and friends during this time?

Make a postcard! Scan or take a picture of your finished postcards to share with the National Veterans Art Museum! We will post the collected responses on our Education Blog! E-mail NVAM Education and Programs Manager, Moki Tantoco at [email protected]

Pictured: Letters Home, Frankie J. Howery, Copyright National Veterans Art Museum

Frankie J. Howery was born in Chicago in 1943. He served in Vietnam as an Aircrew Egress Systems Technician in the U.S. Air Force 366th Field Maintenance Squadron from 1966-67. To view more of Howery’s artwork, visit our online collection at http://collection.nvam.org

03/24/2020
03/13/2020

To support preventative care efforts to help stop the further spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of our community, we have decided to temporarily close starting Tuesday, March 17 through March 23. Additional measures may be made next week as we monitor the impact of the steps taken locally and nationally. Public events, including programs and tours, are canceled through the end of March.

We do not have any known cases of COVID-19 connected to NVAM. Our utmost priority is to minimize the chances that infectious disease could spread among the visitors, staff and volunteers at NVAM and in the community.

Thank you for your continued support of our mission to preserve and exhibit Veteran Art. We look forward to seeing you back at the museum.

Be well,
Brendan Foster
Executive Director

Slow your scroll. Take a few moments to learn about the artworks #onview in NVAM’s current exhibition, Maurice Costello:...
03/12/2020

Slow your scroll. Take a few moments to learn about the artworks #onview in NVAM’s current exhibition, Maurice Costello: Back to “The Nam.”
At first glance, it may be difficult to recognize the 81mm mortar ammo crates adapted to frame Costello’s digitally altered photos reproduced on canvas. Wondering about the significance...?
Before his assignment to Fort Polk, Louisiana, Costello had no idea about the instruments of war. Upon realization of where he was headed after training, Costello tried to become the most efficient combatant that he could. It was his belief that this training would greatly increase the odds of his (and his brothers in arm’s) safe return to “the world.” The ammo crates would soon carry a different type of memory for Costello. One night, he opened an ammo crate, removed a round, and dropped it down the barrel for what he thought was just another blind nightly fire mission. In the morning the captain of the ARVN’s (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) asked him to accompany them on their daily patrol that led to the sight of the previous night’s mission. This became the defining moment of Costello’s war experience and life. The sight of what he had done sickened him. They had found a letter among the remains of a young Viet Cong from his girlfriend. At that moment the realization hit Costello...he and the young Viet Cong were not that different, except that day Costello was the lucky one. To learn more about Costello, his artwork and life, visit NVAM between 10am-5pm, Tuesday-Saturday. The exhibition will run through August 15, 2020. Don’t miss it! @ National Veterans Art Museum

Curious to learn more about the artworks on display at the NVAM? Interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the vet...
03/07/2020

Curious to learn more about the artworks on display at the NVAM? Interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the veteran experience? Come join us on a veteran-led #museumtour like the one pictured above! Email us for info on how to book at [email protected]

This #womenshistorymonth, NVAM will be showcasing several artworks from our permanent collection created by #womenartist...
03/03/2020

This #womenshistorymonth, NVAM will be showcasing several artworks from our permanent collection created by #womenartists and #womenveterans. Pictured here are three #worksonpaper titled “And the Towers Fell (1,2&3)” by #artist and #uscoastguard veteran, Victoria Bryers. Visit NVAM this month to view these artworks in-person, and learn more about the artist’s selection of color as well as printing method. Included within the exhibit are many other compelling artworks created by women artists and veterans.

Address

4041 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL
60641

Take the Blue or Red Line "L" to Irving Park. Take CTA bus number 80 (Irving Park) toward Cumberland (west). Get off at Irving Park / Cicero / Milwaukee and walk one block northeast to 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

General information

Admission is free

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(312) 326-0270

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when National Veterans Art Museum posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to National Veterans Art Museum:

Videos

Category

Our Story

Nearby museums


Comments

Hello I am a veteran photographer who has found a mental health outlet in photography. I’m a huge supporter of veterans and mental health. I am working in building my business to help promote mental health, art therapy and awareness of this epidemic. I am searching for sponsors to help as I start what I hope to be a big step in my advocacy and teaching others about therapeutic photography. https://www.gofundme.com/f/ransomart-photography?utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&rcid=8469f6cba0e14b159a71a54b62032e9d Thank you and God bless, Amanda Ransom RansomArt Photography
Influenced by Caspar David Friedrich's painting 1824, I invented the Disaster School of Art showing pictures drawings of the Titanic Sinking under the water, planes colliding on the Canary Islands, the Columbia and Challenger Accidents and the Thresher and Scorpion sinking. James T. Struck BA, BS, AA, MLIS
ENTER "JOURNEYS ONWARD" TODAY! Are you a U.S. Armed Forces 🇺🇸 veteran, or currently serving👩‍✈️👨‍✈️? A family member 👨‍👨‍👧‍👦 of someone who is serving or a veteran? Military experiences impact service members and their families in many ways - positively and negatively. Often, they are not easy to communicate to others. RICPA's "Journeys Onward" exhibit is a GREAT OPPORTUNITY to share your MILITARY EXPERIENCES through your photographic art and your own words. Your art does not need to have military imagery. Let your words connect your art and experiences. To learn more and enter, click on https://www.riphotocenter.org/journeys-onward-a-call-for-entries/.
SHARE YOUR VETERAN AND MILITARY experiences through images and related words. The Rhode Island Center for Photographic Art's JOURNEYS ONWARD is a juried exhibit exploring the photographic artistic expression of U.S. Armed Forces veterans and their families in the context of their military experiences. Enter by Sunday, August 18th. Many want to tell their stories, and those conversations can be difficult to start. Art can help. Learn about this call for entry and related activities by clicking on the image below.
*veteran made*
Northwest side friends, the NVAM is a very cool local art museum.
Come by the show Original Warrior on October 6th 4-7pm at the National Veterans Museum in Chicago. This is a detail of Teri Greeves Prayer Blanket.
Just saw you on WTTW SEE Chicago. Will be in soon.
We did everything for them. Nobody can tell us different. More classic photos at Sunny Saigon
Although too small for a boisterous group of middle schoolers (we learned too late) the NVAM must not be overlooked when visiting Chicago. "6 Corners" where Cicero meets Milwaukee meets ...Irving Park?