The BFA Photography Department at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) presents “Declassified: A Portrait of the Veteran as a Young Artist,” an exhibition organized by the student Veteran Coalition of the Arts (SVA-VCA) and curated by faculty member Jeff Edwards.
In 1947, upon returning from WWII, the late Silas Rhodes and Burne Hogarth enlisted the support of the Department of Veterans Affairs to open an art school for veterans. With three faculty members and 35 students, the School of Visual Arts - then known as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School - was established.
The military lineage at SVA is represented by the likes of Rhodes and Hogarth, along with former faculty members such as Will Eisner (illustrator, graphic novelist, and creator of the comic The Spirit), alumni Peter Buotte (BFA 1999 Fine Arts) and Steve Mumford (MFA 1994 Fine Arts), as well as alumni Samuel Bayer (BFA 1987 Media Arts), who directed the “Army Strong” campaign, and George C. Woodbridge (1956 Illustration), who created numerous detailed drawings of military uniforms, insignia, and equipment.
SVA has a small community of veteran students attending on scholarship thanks to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This group exhibition pays homage to SVA’s military history, showcasing how personal experiences have shaped the work of the artists.
SVA-VCA (Veteran Coalition of the Arts) is a club made up of 54 currently enrolled student-veterans. As a community of veteran artists, SVA-VCA strives to create a supportive environment for former service members in order to foster the most fluent transition from the uniformity of the military to the diversity of an art-school classroom.
Independent art critic and curator Jeff Edwards has an MPPM from the Yale University School of Management and MFA in Art Criticism and Writing from SVA. Edwards is a contributing editor at ARTPULSE Magazine and teaches in the BFA Visual and Critical Studies Department at SVA.
Joel R. Chapman (Binghamton, New York): U.S. Marine Corps, two-time Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran; student, BFA Photography Department.
Will Eisner (Brooklyn, New York): U.S. Army (WWII); Art Students League of New York; former SVA faculty member; creator of The Spirit; art director, PS Magazine.
James McMullan (Tsingtao, China): U.S. Army (Fort Bragg); educated at Pratt Institute; former SVA faculty member.
Hector Rene (Allentown, Pennsylvania): U.S. Army (Iraq); leadership board member of The New York Young Photographers Alliance; contributing photographer to XXL magazine; student, BFA Photography Department, treasurer, SVA-VCA.
Mike Schmidt (Brooklyn, New York): U.S. Coast Guard veteran in support of Operation Enduring Freedom; Eddie Adams Workshop 2012; winner of the 2012 Photo District News Photo Annual competition; student, BFA Photography Department.
Rebecca Storer (Stockton, CA): U.S. Navy veteran in Support of Operation Enduring Freedom; student, BFA Photography Department; president, SVA-VCA; resident advisor at SVA.
George Tscherny (Budapest, Hungary): U.S. Army (WWII); educated at Pratt Institute; designed the SVA logo and the first SVA subway poster; taught the first design course at SVA.