Through its partnership with The Rabb Family Foundation, Odysseus will provide initial funds to start the identification and acquisition process for an appropriately-sized and located building in which to house the museum. Odysseus will manage and provide resources and fundraising for the reconstruction and oversee a sustainably-focused, veteran-driven reconstruction effort. Odysseus' skills at creating effective partnerships with city, state, and federal government agencies as well as corporate entities will be an important asset in the acquisition and management of the NVAM building and the overall process. The result of this process will be a permanent home for veteran art, art creation, and support services and a community anchor to reduce the negative effects of transition to civilian life.
Partnering with NVAM, The Rabb Family Foundation, the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, and foundations as well as corporate entities, Odysseus will manage and fund the implementation of initial services and programming, and implement a marketing strategy for the Museum's opening. Odysseus' experience in creating innovative solutions will be an asset in the oversight of the project, the growth of the first year of operations, and the partnerships between the NVAM and other organizations. This support will enable NVAM to service more veterans, build its capacity as an organization to develop, sustain, and grow its ongoing services, and increase its visitor base to broaden understanding of the reality of combat experience.
October 2012: Stakeholder Meeting and Partnership Alignments in Chicago
November 2012: Movement and Display of Flagship Exhibit to Raise Awareness
January 2013: Meeting of Potential Partners in Palm Springs, CA
April 2013: Finalization of Funds Needed for Initial Building Acquisition(s)
July 2013: Final Building Acquisition(s) Underway
October 2013: Closing on Sale of Building(s) Complete; Meeting with Partners and Stakeholders for Renovation of Building(s)
November 2013: Initial Inspection and Renovation Audit(s) Completed by Architect
December 2013: Architect(s) Commissioned for Prospective Redevelopment Proposals
February 2014: Proposals Reviewed by Partners and Stakeholders
May 2014: Redevelopment on Museum and Additional Spaces Begins
July 2014: Stakeholder Meeting and Partnership Alignments in Chicago; Programming and Services Proposed
September 2014: Review of Redevelopment; Programming and Services Reviewed
November 2014: Stakeholder Meeting and Partnership Alignments in Chicago; Programming and Services Funding Finalized
February 2015: Programming and Services Finalized; Marketing Discussions Begin
April 2015: Redevelopment Complete; Stakeholder Meeting and Partnership Alignments in Chicago; Programming and Services Implementation Begins; Moving of Collection Begins
May 2015: Moving of Collection Complete; Marketing Finalized
June 2015: Furnishing and Decorations of New Location(s) Begins; Collection of Art Displays Begins; Marketing of Museum Opening Begins
August 2015: Furnishing and Decoration Complete; Additional Space Ready for Use; Moving of Flagship Exhibit
September 2015: Installation of Flagship Exhibit; Opening of Work Areas for Veterans in Additional Spaces
October 2015: Grand Opening of Museum and Additional Spaces
The transition between military and civilian cultures is complex and wrought with issues that can create both immediate and long-term negative effects on the individual, family, and community. Veterans of the armed forces often face PTSD, feel isolated from society, experience difficulty finding employment, and can turn toward alcohol, crime, and suicide (sourced from 'Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Following Military Deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan,' Office of Clinical Leadership, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, Nashville, USA). Additionally, civilians may feel disconnected from veterans and lack of understanding of their experiences, which subsequently increases the difficulty for veterans reintegrating into civilian life.
The National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) is addressing the critical issues of isolation, disengagement, and unemployment for both veterans and civilian society. For more than 20 years, NVAM has helped veterans and their families work through difficult issues by allowing them to create and display works of art. This art provides both therapeutic value to the artists as well as a picture of their experiences, allowing civilians to gain a better understanding of the stress and trauma of military service.
In 1996, the City of Chicago gave NVAM an extended 10-year lease on a 30,000 square-foot building to house artwork as well as space for veterans to create art. When the lease expired in 2012, NVAM obtained a smaller, 4,000 square-foot temporary space which allows them to display only a small portion of their work and leaving little room to create art and leaving a gap in services for veterans. NVAM has a critical need to find, develop, and sustain a new physical space; enhance programming and services; and increase their organizational capacity to both message and fund their unique role in veteran reintegration.
Odysseus seeks local, national, and global partners to provide the expertise and resources needed to fulfill this commitment. In particular, Odysseus is interested in engaging local partners in Chicago that will benefit from process the of this work, such as veteran-owned and -staffed construction, architecture, and marketing firms, and firms that can provide assistance with relocating artwork, creating educational programming, and providing therapeutic help to local veterans.
The focus of this commitment is the successful acquisition and development of permanent space for NVAM, utilizing veterans as the key workforce. Success will be defined by the creation of a permanent, updated space as well as employment and engagement of a veteran workforce. Odysseus will offer both best practices as well as a system for implementing best practices in facility acquisition, facility development, and veteran engagement to project partners.