KSLA Salutes: BPCC unveils new military art exhibit

The show is titled ‘Beyond Duty’

KSLA Salutes: BPCC unveils new military art exhibit

BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) - On Monday, Jan. 27, Bossier Parish Community College will be unveiling a brand new exhibition titled Beyond Duty.

The exhibition will feature artwork done by active-duty military, veterans and their family members. The exhibition will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday from Jan. 27 until March 20.

Inside the Donna Service Gallery at BPCC are paintings, murals and Gary Humphries.

This air force veteran has found a way to share his story through art.

“The veteran has something inside of them that they want to put out …either a very serious thing or maybe a lighter side of what they’ve experienced in their military experience," he said.

In 1973, Humphries was just 17 when his job as a welder in Monroe came to an end. Not soon after, he joined the Air Force.

Gary Humphries back in the mid 1970's when he joined the Air Force.
Gary Humphries back in the mid 1970's when he joined the Air Force. (Source: Gary Humphries)

“I wanted to travel, and I wanted to go overseas on my first tour of duty," he said.

The Air Force granted his wish and sent him to Guam where he worked as a Weapons Systems Security K-9 officer — and he soon was entrenched in the Vietnam War.

“It was heartbreaking to watch us leave Vietnam the way we did," he said. "When evacuated Saigon we had a lot to do with that at Andersen (Air Force Base) and watching the people come there …the refugees and all come there was heartbreaking.”

In 1980 he retired, and decades later he crossed paths with Lily Thompson — the assistant liberal arts professor at BPCC.

Humphries and Thompson have spent the last few months finding veterans and active duty military artists willing to share their artwork for a new art exhibition titled Beyond Duty.

“Having this gallery and having it as a space for people to hang artwork that expresses themselves …it’s very gratifying for me," Thompson said.

Her father, a Navy veteran, decided to submit his first piece.

“He really wanted to create a piece," she said. "I didn’t even ask him to do it he just saw the artist call and approached me about it so it’s exciting.”

This exhibition will be on display for the next couple of months with the hopes that it will not only spark conversation but inspire other veterans and military personnel to consider using art as an outlet.

“It doesn’t matter if you just grab some paint, a brush, a canvas and just start smearing it around on a canvas," Humphries said. "You don’t know what’s going to come out.”

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, BPCC will host a reception and panel discussion on the military experience, PTSD, and art therapy from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.

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