WNC News and Notes: ‘Always Lost’ returning home | NevadaAppeal.com

WNC News and Notes: ‘Always Lost’ returning home

Marilee Swirzcek and Amy Roby
The Wall of the Dead at the “Always Lost” exhibition showing at the Marin County Free Library.
Courtesy of WNC |

Western Nevada College’s nationally acclaimed arts and humanities exhibition “Always Lost: A Meditation on War” continues to travel the nation, even as it prepares to come home to the Silver State. “Always Lost” will return to the Silver State where it has been designated an official Nevada 150th Sesquicentennial exhibition. As part of the celebration, the Nevada Department of Veterans Services is sponsoring a statewide tour of “Always Lost” through early 2016.

“Every Nevadan should have an opportunity to see this exhibit, remembering these Americans who served and were lost in the cause of freedom,” said Kat Miller, NDVS director. “We’re honored to help bring this exhibit to everyone in the state.”

“Always Lost” will kick off its NV 150 Sesquicentennial tour at the East Ely Railroad Depot Museum in July. The original exhibit continues its travels through Minnesota, and a second version is now showing at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, Calif., through June 13. The exhibition was replicated with a generous donation from the Carson Nugget/Community First initiative.

The Marin County Free Library is hosting the exhibition as part of California’s statewide “Library Outreach to Veterans Initiative,” said Sara Jones, former director of the Carson City Library and now Director of the Marin County Free Library. Jones was instrumental in bringing the exhibition to Marin County.

The original exhibition was recently chosen by the Minnesota Humanities Center in St. Paul to be part of Minnesota’s “Veterans Voices” initiative. The project calls attention to the stories and contributions of veterans. MHC will sponsor an 18-month tour to bring “Always Lost” to Minnesota communities through September 2015.

MHC Program Officer and veteran Trista Matascastillo first heard of “Always Lost” in January when it was installed at Mesabi Range College in Virginia, Minn. She drove three hours from St. Paul through a blizzard to view it, intending to spend only an hour at the exhibition, but one hour became several. Moved by the poignant memorial that personalizes the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, she called Project Manager Amy Roby and asked if the MHC might acquire “Always Lost” for an extended tour throughout her home state.

“Everyone should see this,” Matascastillo said. “The ‘Always Lost’ exhibit is the Vietnam Wall of our era.”

Matascastillo said “Always Lost” will be used to encourage “community conversations” about veterans issues. For example, it will be on display this fall for high school and college-age audiences who will write about their responses to the original poetry, Pulitzer Prize-winning Iraq War combat photographs (courtesy of The Dallas Morning News), and Wall of the Dead — faces and names of the nearly 7,000 U.S. service members who perished in Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001.

Under the MHC sponsorship, the exhibition was recently installed at Argosy University, Twin Cities; additional venues will be announced through late 2015.

From Minnesota, the exhibition will travel to The Patrick Heath Public Library in Boerne, Texas, near San Antonio, for Veterans Day, 2015. It will then continue on to venues in Michigan and Massachusetts.

Touring the U.S. since 2010, “Always Lost: A Meditation on War” was created by students and instructors at Western Nevada College in 2009. Through words and images, the exhibition brings home the personal and collective costs of war and honors those who gave their lives as well as those who made it home.

The continuing exhibition tours are made possible through grants, donations, sponsorships and volunteers. For more information or to help, go to http://www.wnc.edu/always_lost/ or call 775-445-4243.