War Ink: SFPL joins StoryCorps and California Libraries to Honor Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans’ Tattoo Art

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 18, 2014

MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282; mjeffers@sfpl.org

War Ink: S. F. Public Library joins StoryCorps and California Libraries to Honor Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans’ Tattoo Art

Online exhibition to launch on Veterans’ Day

War Ink, an online exhibition of tattoo art of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, will launch on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2014 at San Francisco Public Library and 10 other California libraries, thanks to funding from Cal Humanities and the Pacific Library Partnership.

With nearly 2 million veterans in California and a generation of veterans returning from two wars, this timely and relevant online exhibit will explore the unfiltered record of war that veterans have documented on their bodies. War Ink will consist of a multimedia exhibit of 18 veterans from throughout the state. Each veteran’s story surrounding their tattoos will be recorded by the nationally renowned StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative, and their tattoos photographed by Shaun Roberts, whose work has been featured in GQ, Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose Magazine and Wired.com.

War Ink is curated by Jason Deitch, the project’s scholar, as well as a former combat medic and sociologist, who co-created War Ink with Chris Brown, Contra Costa County Library’s Project Director. “This project represents both a unique collaboration for cutting edge and relevant cultural programming as well as a powerful context for the authentic and honest voice of veteran culture…reaching into and genuinely interacting with the communities that veterans are struggling to rejoin,” said Deitch.

“San Francisco Public Library is pleased to join our library colleagues in Contra Costa County and throughout the state to present this innovative memorial to our war veterans,” said City Librarian Luis Herrera. San Francisco Public Library is the Bay Area home of StoryCorps.

The online War Ink exhibit is tied to San Francisco Public Library’s participation this year in Cal Humanities’ California Reads initiative, War Comes Home. The Library will feature numerous programs and exhibits that explore Veterans’ experiences, and offer discussions around the book What it is Like to Go to War, by Vietnam Marine Sergeant and Rhodes Scholar, Karl Marlantes.

War Ink is made possible through a growing collaborative that includes: StoryCorps; grant-makers Cal Humanities and Pacific Library Partnership; and a cooperative group of library systems, including Alameda Free Library, Contra Costa County Library, Mountain View Library, Oakland Public Library, Sacramento Public Library, San Diego County Library, San Francisco Public Library, San Jose Public Library, San Mateo County Library, Santa Clara County Library District, and Santa Cruz Public Libraries.

StoryCorps founder Dave Isay said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Contra Costa County Library (and others) to celebrate the diverse and vibrant stories of California’s veteran and military community. In doing so, we remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters.”

War Ink was made possible through two grants awarded to Contra Costa County Library. Cal Humanities, an independent non-profit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, first saw the potential of the project and awarded the library a $10,000 Community Stories grant to supplement StoryCorps’ commitment to record the stories of 18 veterans for the Military Voices Initiative project. Pacific Library Partnership more than doubled the project’s resources with a $15,000 Innovation and Technology Opportunity Grant, allowing War Ink to expand beyond Contra Costa County. Together, these grants created the opportunity for audacious and collaborative cultural programming addressing a relevant social topic.

Veterans interested in the project are encouraged to contact Jason Deitch directly at jasonadeitch@gmail.com or 510-593-8423.