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NDSU's Project Unpack plans celebration, exhibition

Posted on 12/8/2016

A gallery exhibit featuring stories from NDSU's Project Unpack is scheduled to open Friday, Dec. 16, at 1 p.m. at the Rourke Art Gallery and Museum, 521 Main Ave. in Moorhead, Minnesota. The exhibit will continue through Jan. 15, 2017.

An opening reception is planned for Saturday, Dec. 17, from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. with a talk and musical program beginning at 2 p.m.

The exhibit, titled "Project Unpack: A Retrospective," is free and open to the public.

The multimedia exhibition will highlight the varied and multifaceted stories of veterans and their families that Project Unpack has collected during the past year. Featured items include:

Heirloom cups created by veterans and family members at workshops held by Michael Strand, professor of visual arts, and veteran and artist Josh Zeis

Oral history excerpts from veterans and family members

Masks created by veterans at Fargo's VA hospital

"Return," a short documentary film by Zeis

Art and poetry from local veterans

In addition, renowned Fargo musician and veteran Ray Green will provide musical entertainment at the reception. Refreshments will be provided.

Project Unpack: Telling Stories, Creating Community is a collaboration between NDSU and several community partners, including North Dakota Veteran Affairs. The stories and memories shared by veterans and their families are from Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and other battlegrounds.

During the past year, the project included lectures from authors 
Tim O'Brien and Tom Bissell, as well as literary and ceramics workshops, an oral history workshop and the establishment of an oral history archive for the Fargo-Moorhead area.

"North Dakota, although a small state, is home to nearly 58,000 veterans of war," said Christina Weber, director of Project Unpack and associate professor of sociology. "They are not all the same, they do not fit stereotypes. Many of them face emotional, financial and family hardships. Some may seem to move forward easily with their families and communities, but they all live with a legacy and we want them to have a voice for that." 

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