– StoryCorps Military Initiatives will be coming to University of Missouri-St. Louis to record the stories of post-9/11 veterans at the UMSL Veterans Center.
PHOTO by Cate Marquis for The Current ©

 

By Hung Nguyen, Opinions Editor for The Current

On April 5, StoryCorps Military Initiatives will be coming to University of Missouri-St. Louis to record the stories of post-9/11 veterans at the UMSL Veterans Center. The team of StoryCorps discussants will be in St. Louis for three days, spending April 3 and 4 at the Regional Arts Commission and finishing on April 5 at UMSL.

StoryCorps is a national nonprofit organization that is aimed at recording and preserving the stories of Americans from all backgrounds. Recorded audio is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and broadcast on National Public Radio stations across the country.

This event is part of a weekend-long series of artistic festivities for veterans from April 3 to April 6 titled “Creative Conversations: Uniting Veterans and Community through the Arts,” collaboratively coordinated by the Warrior Arts Alliance and VSA Missouri. In addition to StoryCorps, the Combat Paper Project and Veteran Print Project will have three guided workshop sessions on paper and printmaking. The events are laced together with the theme of celebrating the transformative and empowering aspects of storytelling, as well as the individual stories themselves.

“Our stories are as individual as our fingerprints, but they cement us in our relationships, our families, our communities and our world. These opportunities for creative expression serve as keys to open the doors to additional conversations and understanding between veterans, families, artists and members of the community at large,” Deborah Marshall, director of Warrior Arts, said in an official press release.

Warrior Arts, the Combat Paper Project and Veteran Print Project have published volumes anthologizing the multitudinous experiences of veterans through various media.

“The interesting thing is that it is a conversation,” Dr. Kathleen Nigro, UMSL professor of English and gender studies and a member of the Missouri Humanities Council, said. “The veteran is paired with a discussant, and they may frame the conversation in the form of questions and answers or however they may want to tell the story. I think having this important event will be great for veterans and a good opportunity for the new UMSL Veterans Center. There is a power in finding individual identity through telling one’s story.”

Appointments are required for the interviews; those interested in participating may contact Nigro by March 21 to be included.

The week of events is sponsored by the Warrior Arts Alliance, VSA Missouri, the Regional Arts Commission, the Missouri Humanities Council, the Arts & Education Council, the Missouri Arts Council, the UMSL Veterans Center, St. Louis Community College Veterans Affairs and VA St Louis Health Care Systems.

All events are free and open to veterans and their families.

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