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Mission: Family: Traveling exhibit features art from military children

Oct. 25, 2012 - 04:15PM   |   Last Updated: Oct. 25, 2012 - 04:15PM  |  
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Be on the lookout early next year for a unique experience: a traveling museum exhibit featuring the artwork of military children.

"UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show" explores the life of a military child through art.

Donna Musil, executive director of Brats Without Borders, said the exhibit is expected to go on the road between January and April, opening in Washington, D.C., and then moving to museums outside large military installations.

Musil and co-curator Lora Beldon grew up in military families and have spent more than a decade studying this population. In one part of the exhibit, Beldon and her Marine father, Thomas Beldon, reconnect through their art after a 20-year separation caused by his war-related post-traumatic stress.

Military kids of all ages and from families of all branches of service have provided more than 70 paintings, drawings, sculptures, films, historic artifacts and interactive elements for the exhibit. Artwork from current military "brats," as well as adult children, is included.

Artwork is still being collected for the exhibit. If you are interested, send an email to info@USAbrat.org to get instructions on how to submit your art for possible inclusion.

The mission of "UNCLASSIFIED" is to raise awareness of the military child subculture and its lifelong impact; foster compassion and understanding between military and civilian communities; and honor the service and sacrifice of military children.

The word "brat," when applied to children of service members, is not a commentary on their behavior, Musil says. Rather, it's a 200-year-old historical acronym: "British Regiment Attached Traveler."

While "attached traveler" doesn't paint a complete picture of a military child, it's a pretty good start.

With the combination of research and experiences of these two curators, and the wealth of talent among military children, this exhibit promises to be fascinating.

kjowers@militarytimes.com?subject=Question from ArmyTimes.com reader">Karen Jowers is the wife of a military retiree.

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