Reflections on Service for Veterans Day 2020

Reflections on Service for Veterans Day 2020

by April Sullivan.

I am writing this blog as Veterans Day 2020 approaches. This nationally recognized holiday on November 11th honors all the military Veterans who have served in the United States Armed Services. Although I am not a Veteran, I have had the opportunity to get to know many Veterans through the services that Art Spark Texas provides to the Veteran community.

Recently, we have been hosting a variety of virtual tele-arts classes, including writing and visual art. We even started a percussion class last week!

I have been sitting in on the classes and enjoying all of them, as have the Veterans who have been participating. With the Meet the Masters class taking place each week, the group has independently watched a video of an art lesson and then created their own art with the supplies we have sent them.

Today, we were discussing Andy Warhol and his painting of Shoes. Shoes were among Warhol’s first subjects when he worked as a young commercial fashion illustrator in the 1950s New York. Later on, in 1980, once Warhol had achieved fame as an artist, he returned to portraying footwear in his Pop art style.

Our group of artists each had their own interpretation of the Warhol “Shoes” assignment and had a great discussion about the subject and the artwork created by the participants. One former Marine talked about how she loves to choose the best pair of shoes to complement her ball gown for the annual Marine Ball (which, unfortunately, is canceled this weekend due to the pandemic). To attend a Marine event in fancy shoes instead of her military uniform dress shoes is always a treat for her!

Here are some samples of their work from the class:

Watercolor paintings of a ballet point shoe, a repeated pattern of colorful cowboy boots, and a running shoe.

Description: Watercolor paintings of a ballet point shoe, a repeated pattern of colorful cowboy boots, and a running shoe.

I love how each artist has their own style and reaction to the same simple assignment. Try it out yourself! Here is the video lesson.

Celebrate Veteran artists on Veterans Day by attending one of these events (either in person or virtually):

  • An exhibition A Salute to Veterans’ Artistic Creations on view at the Howard Gallery of the Cultural Activities Center in Temple, Texas. Click here for more information.
  • An exhibition Barrio Veterans Art Show—a collection of 20 living Veteran portraits by Austin Artist and Vietnam Veteran Franklin Mendez on view at Don Dario’s Mexican Restaurant at 8801 South I H 35 Frontage Road, Austin, Texas on Wednesday, November 11th from 1 to 5 PM.
  •  Free Walk-up Workshops at SiNaCa Studios School of Glass in Fort Worth, Texas on Saturday, November 14th from 10 AM to 5 PM. Details at
  • Our Distinguished Artist Veterans 11th Annual Exhibition is on view virtually in partnership with Texas Folklife starting November 11th. Click here to view exhibition.

Distinguished Artist Veterans Exhibition
Painting of a man wearing a camouflage baseball cap and a thick, hooded coat staring off into the distance.
Happy Veterans Day!

April Sullivan, Programs Director
[email protected]

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