LAWRENCE — Beginning Nov. 10, the Spencer Museum of Art will host the exhibition “Hope 22,” which features 22 portraits of veterans and active duty personnel accompanied by written accounts of their experiences with the military and mental health. The traveling exhibition, co-sponsored at the University of Kansas by the Lt. Gen. William K. Jones Military-Affiliated Student Center, the Life Span Institute and the Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research & Treatment, will be on view through Nov. 18.
The exhibition is organized by Hope 22, a Kansas City–based photography project founded and directed by Brooke Brown that raises awareness about the veteran suicide epidemic in the United States and about mental health issues and resources.
“For so long, the narrative around veterans’ mental health has been of hopelessness and despair, particularly around post-traumatic stress,” said Sean Navarro, assistant director of the Military-Affiliated Student Center. “This exhibit is an opportunity to see how the featured veterans have changed these narratives into hopeful paths to healing.”
Hope 22 advocates for veterans' overall well-being with a focus on a long-term positive transition to civilian life. The project provides a better understanding of mental health struggles by humanizing and normalizing these experiences to advance messages of hope and mental health advocacy.
“The photo installation ‘Hope 22’ features personal experiences that prompt conversations about both mental health and the military,” said Joey Orr, the Spencer’s Andrew W. Mellon Curator for Research. “The museum is happy to be a site for such conversations in support of the KU community.”
The public is invited to a reception for the exhibition at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the museum. KU student and Marine Corps veteran Jimmy Gentile, who is featured in the exhibition, will speak briefly about his experience with the Hope 22 project.
“The veteran community faces a wide range of challenges, including trauma, depression and addiction,” said Richard Yi, director of the Cofrin Logan Center, a part of the KU Life Span Institute. “The exhibit is a powerful reminder to the veteran community that there is hope, and a call to society to advocate for veterans’ health and well-being.”
A variety of resources are available for individuals who are experiencing mental health issues:
- Veterans can contact the Veterans Crisis Line at no cost by calling 800-273-8255 and pressing 1 (Spanish/Español 888-628-9454) 24/7. They can also chat live online with a crisis counselor 24/7 by visiting the Veterans Crisis Line website.
- KU students in crisis can contact KU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) during normal business hours at 785-864-2277.
- Individuals can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or the Headquarters Counseling Center in Lawrence at 785-841-2345, 24/7.
Exhibition: “Hope 22”
Spencer Museum of Art / Auditorium Foyer
This traveling exhibition features portraits of current and former military members accompanied by written accounts of their experiences with the military and mental health.
Reception: “Hope 22”
3:30-5:30 p.m. / Spencer Museum of Art, Auditorium Foyer
Join veterans from the community and KU partners for a reception in this exhibition that addresses mental health and the military.