Stepping into the world of art, emotion and transformation, members of the campus community and the public are invited to explore “Veterans Expressions: An Exhibition of Art from William & Mary’s Veteran-to-Executive Transition Program,” currently on display in the Hart Gallery at the Sadler Center through Dec. 8.

“This extraordinary collection of paintings is a testament to the power of creativity and healing. It stands as a symbol of respect and reflection for those who have served our nation as well as those who have valiantly served the cause of freedom in the nations of important allies,” said Jonathan “JD” Due, executive director for the Center for Military Transition.

People mingle behind a glass wall that has Hart Family Art Gallery on it
People gather at the Hart Family Art Gallery for the exhibition. (Photo by Stephen Salpukas)

These collective artworks were born from the heart and soul of participants in William & Mary’s Veteran-to-Executive Transition certificate program during a memorable art therapy session in June 2023. This program, a groundbreaking collaboration between William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business and the McLeod Tyler Wellness Center, extends a hand to armed services personnel who are on the cusp of transitioning from the military into civilian life. It prioritizes a holistic approach to wellness and self-discovery, nurturing their careers and personal lives.

Guided by the expertise of board-certified art therapist Sarah Balascio from the McLeod Tyler Wellness Center, this particular art therapy session carried a profound purpose. Participants, including members of the Ukrainian Veterans Foundation and others enrolled in the Veteran-to-Executive Transition Program, were invited to channel their feelings and experiences related to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine onto canvas. In the powerful strokes and vivid colors, the artists conveyed messages of solidarity, hope and empathy to those enduring the hardships of war.

A painting with multiple colors and a tree
One of the pieces created by participants in the Veteran-to-Executive Transition certificate program. (Photo by Stephen Salpukas)

“Art therapy, a remarkable tool for navigating complex emotions amidst conflict and war, becomes a bridge connecting hearts and minds across cultural divides — a language that transcends barriers. In this exhibition, we celebrate participants’ creativity and emotional resilience, paying homage to the enduring valor of all military personnel, past and present. Through art, we honor the profound connection between human expression and the resilience of the human spirit,” said Balascio.

“Veterans Expressions” offers a window into the hearts and minds of those transitioning from military service to civilian life. Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in this moving collection, which is a visual delight and a poignant reminder of the strength, unity and healing that can emerge from the most challenging of experiences.

A person looks at a painting
A visitor to the gallery enjoys one of the pieces of art. (Photo by Stephen Salpukas)