Also on View > ArtOASIS

Friday, Nov 09, 2018-Sunday, Jan 20, 2019

ArtOASIS is an art-based program supporting active-duty members of the armed forces in recovery from the symptoms of combat-related stress. This year marks the fifth consecutive year of this partnership that joins MCASD with Combat Arts San Diego, a local nonprofit organization that provides art experiences for combat troops. ArtOASIS is offered as a recreational component to the interdisciplinary OASIS (Overcoming Adversity and Stress Injury Support) program offered at the Naval Medical Center San Diego.

This Showcase presents artworks created over the past year by members of the ArtOASIS program. Working in eight- to 10-week cycles that included weekly art classes at the base and monthly workshops at the Museum, participants engaged in the creation of original works of art as a tool for personal expression. While previously deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, these servicepeople remain on active duty at bases nationwide, including Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms in California; Bellows Air Force Station in Hawaii; and Fort Riley in Kansas.

ArtOASIS is led by Combat Arts Founder Elizabeth Washburn, artist Perry Vasquez, MCASD Education and Engagement Director Cris Scorza, OASIS graduate Aaron Raher, art therapist Berenice Badillo, and MCASD Gallery Educators. Together, the team worked with military psychologists and recreational therapists to construct dialogues that enabled patients to share their experiences.

During their visits to the Museum, participants explored a diverse range of artworks and studied how artists use different media, symbols, and marks to convey meaning. Their examination of the materials, techniques, and conceptual thinking employed in the exhibitions Sadie Barnette: Dear 1968,… and Prospect 2018, among others, are evident in a number of the artworks on view in this Showcase. Further, this Showcase highlights the dialogue between participants and mentors by including artwork by Badillo, Raher, Vasquez, and Washburn, alongside artwork by participants.

Homecoming and perceptions of self—both internal and external—emerged as prominent themes in the art-making. Exploring these ideas, participants created masks, abstract paintings, leather crafts, textile compositions, and drawings inspired by the processes presented in MCASD’s exhibitions. More than simple material explorations, these artworks express a range of emotions—from haunting memories to gestures of relief—that remind both the enlisted soldiers and the civilian viewers how art can help pave the road toward recovery.

The ArtOASIS program at MCASD is made possible by lead contributions from Elizabeth Phelps and the California Arts Council. Institutional support is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund, and annual contributors to the MCASD Museum Fund.