Always Lost: A Meditation on War coming to Western Nevada College in Carson City for final exhibition

Western Nevada College will host the final display of its acclaimed traveling arts and humanities exhibition, “Always Lost: A Meditation on War,” in the main gallery of the Carson City campus, June 3-July 29.

The exhibition, which began as a creative writing class project at WNC in Carson City in 2009, is coming home after being displayed at more than 50 venues across the nation.

In fall 2008, two WNC professors decried the impersonal nature of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Professors Don Carlson and Marilee Swirczek envisioned a photography and literary exhibition to personalize the wars. It included original literary work by students, veterans and their families and other Nevada writers.

The project also included the “Wall of the Dead,” individual photographs with names of U.S. military service members who perished in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars since Sept. 11, 2001.

The Dallas Morning News granted permission to use its 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning Iraq War combat photographs as part of the exhibition.

Photographs and profiles of three WNC student veterans remind viewers of the thousands of service members returning home from war, and original poetry by Army SPC Noah C. Pierce, who died by suicide after serving two tours in Iraq, shines a light on the epidemic of veteran suicide.

Throughout the years, the Wall of the Dead continued to grow. When “Always Lost” made its debut, there were approximately 4,000 faces and names on the Wall. Today, there are nearly 7,000.

During its seven years of travel, “Always Lost” was displayed at colleges, universities, libraries, veterans’ organizations, and community centers across the nation. The Minnesota Humanities Center sponsored an 18-month statewide tour of the exhibit as part of its “Veterans’ Voices” program, and a second copy of the exhibition traveled across Nevada as an official NV150 Sesquicentennial exhibit on a tour sponsored by the Nevada Department of Veterans Services.

Other venues incorporated “Always Lost” into their ongoing veterans’ outreach efforts, such as the Marin County Library featuring the exhibition as part of California’s statewide “Outreach to Veterans” program and the Ann Arbor, MI, District Library hosting a community forum in conjunction with the exhibition’s installation at their site.

Proclamations honoring the exhibition were presented to the college by the Carson City Board of Supervisors (October 2014), the office of Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (November 2014), and the Washoe County Board of County Commissioners (November 2015).

“Always Lost: A Meditation on War” has been funded and maintained through grants from the Nevada Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts, and Nevada Humanities; along with generous donations from organizations and individuals. This support made the traveling exhibition possible.

The display can be viewed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, except on July 4, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays in WNC’s main gallery in the Bristlecone Building in Carson City.

For more information, call 775-445-3000, or go to


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