What is IMPart?

This week a new exhibit opened at The Art League featuring a special group of artists: the IMPart Ceramics & Bladesmithing Exhibit.

IMPart stands for Injured Military Personnel + art. It’s a program we’re very proud of at The Art League — it even earned a shout-out from Michelle Obama — so we’re thrilled to be putting on this exhibit!

Stoneware vessels by Duke Davis, Tommy Elliott, and Rich McAfee from the 2016 IMPart exhibit

The artists of IMPart

The program started in 2011, when Suzanne Bethel, then The Art League’s Deputy Director, had the idea to create a new Art League program to serve the community of Injured Military Personnel and transitioning veterans nearby at Fort Belvoir. The goal of the program remains the same today: personal enrichment, relaxed social engagement, the improvement and redevelopment of fine motor skills, and expressive catharsis.

Ceramics chair Blair Meerfeld and new associate Carla Amerau took the idea and ran with it, attracting participants one by one with demos at Fort Belvoir.

Ceramics and more

IMPart got its start with ceramics, which was a natural fit for those recovering from injuries. The tactile and forgiving material is ideal for people working to rehabilitate their fine motor skills.

“I felt natural at it when I couldn’t do anything else,” participant Jon Meadows told us during his 2015 exhibit, “A Soldier’s Voice.”

The program has grown to include other outlets, as well. On Wednesdays, you can find artists at the wheel in the ceramics studio or bladesmithing with the portable forge and anvil in the sculpture room. IMPart also includes off-site courses in other media.

Today, we’re also proud to say that IMPart is part of Creative Forces, the NEA Military Healing Arts Network.

From the 2016 exhibit. Foreground: I Am My Brother’s Keeper by Mike Goodrich

The exhibit

For this exhibit, we’ve invited participants to share the sculptures, vessels, and blades they’ve made in IMpart. You can find the work in The Art League gallery (105 N. Union St. in Alexandria) through December 3, 2017. You’re also invited to the opening reception on Veterans Day, November 11, at 3:00 pm.

The gallery hours are:

  • Monday–Saturday: 10:00 am–6:00 pm
  • Thursday: 10:00 am–9:00 pm
  • Sunday: 12:00 noon–6:00 pm

More about IMPart

There’s lots more to hear from IMPart participants, including:

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