Pamela's ArtPrize 2020 Installation
Honoring Our Veterans and Those with Invisible Wounds
A partnership with Kent County Veterans Services
Military families tie yellow ribbons around trees to represent empathy and support for soldiers returning home; the yellow ribbon also symbolizes suicide prevention. Expanding these traditions, Pamela designed Yellow Ribbon with the hands-on involvement of the veteran community. The project consists of three large, abstract trees that portray the veterans' stories of resilience despite the long-term effects of PTSD, military sexual trauma, and veteran suicide—battles still being fought.
This responsive piece helps raise public awareness for veteran issues and honors those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy. To show gratitude and solidarity, exhibit visitors will have the opportunity to write thank you notes and tie them on the trees with yellow ribbons. Following the exhibition, the Blue Star Mothers, a support group for military moms, will send the uplifting notes to deployed soldiers and the healing ribbons to grieving families to remind them of their community that supports them.
Pamela Alderman is an incredible artist who takes on social justice issues such as child trafficking, treatment of refugees, autism, and now, honoring veterans. Her projects engage the public, instilling compassion and activism. She's a giant in the realm of using her talent to do good.
Veteran Art Workshops Contribute to Yellow Ribbon
For the project, Pamela facilitated art workshops for veterans and their families—husbands, wives, moms, dads, siblings, children, and grandchildren.
Everyone at the workshop, from 2 years old to 92 years old, enthusiastically sponge-painted colorful patterns on paper, which they used to create small paintings.
Pamela also used sponge-painted papers to create the large mosaic paintings (details shown) on the main 9-foot tree, while the two 6-foot trees exhibit paintings created by our veterans.
Because of their unique career challenges, the military members need a strong sense of community to survive and flourish.
We had no idea what we were in for…but it turned out to be something easy and fun—decoupaging painted scraps of paper onto a plywood tree, and maybe planting a seed for future good things to happen.
Yellow Ribbon workshop participant
The broken-looking trees portray the veterans' long-term struggle, and the community involvement in the project mirrors the importance of camaraderie to strengthen resilience and promote healing.
- 92 For 22
- Kent County Veterans Treatment Court
- Ottawa-North Kent Blue Star Mothers and Marne American Legion
- Blue Star Mothers of South Kent and American Legion 305
- Blue Star Mothers of Ionia, Kent and Montcalm and Ray I. Booth American Legion
- Grand Rapids Home for Veterans
- Holland Home Independent Living
- Finish the Mission
- WINC: For All Women Veterans
- Veterans Upward Bound Program
Almost 400,000 individuals have participated in Pamela's hands-on installations since 2010. Drawing on her own journey towards restoration, her work continues to expand to new communities, focusing on finding solutions to life's challenges. Contact Pamela today to commission an interactive exhibit, virtual experience, or inspiring presentation—utilizing art as a healing tool.
Pamela has been an ArtPrize artist since 2009