Written by Devin O’Branagan
Six years ago, Longmont artist Robert Bellows was working on an eight-foot, four-thousand-pound metal sculpture of a rooster, a private commission which can now be seen at Alfalfa’s in Boulder.
Two Iraqi combat war veterans got wind of the project and asked Bellows if they could help. This causal collaboration turned into nine months of teamwork and transformation.
As Bellows handed over more of the creative decisions to the vets, it changed them. “Something in these guys softened,” Bellows said. “And it changed me, too.”
When the rooster project was complete, the vets asked him, “So, what are we going to build now?”
Bellows replied, “I don’t know, but whatever it is it’s going to be about you guys. About coming home from war. About the war you carry after the war. About transforming back into civilian life.”
Inspiring a team of veterans and civilians to express themselves through art is the essential heartbeat of the Warrior StoryField project.
There are now approximately forty veterans, women and men, involved with the Warrior
According to former army medic Bob Lecy, “Trust is one of the first things lost in
The construction projects currently underway include a sixteen-foot-high metal dragon, representing the warrior’s experience in training, service and at war, and an eighteen-foot-high metal phoenix, representing the many transformations every warrior faces upon return to civilian society.
The stories of these combat veterans are built into these sculptures, which they hope will someday be placed facing each other in a large park. The artists want a sanctuary for veterans to be able to process the experience of war.
Terry Cohen, a civilian involved in the project, explains that endgame will be, “Not a monument to the fallen or a tribute to the war, but an expression of the living.”
Warrior StoryField is about the healing of relationships; not only the relationships of veterans with the fractured parts of themselves, but also with others.
Mike Marzano is a former New York firefighter who was called upon during the 9/11 attacks to bring his technical rescue experience to the recovery efforts of the World Trade Center.
Marzano was drawn to Warrior
Warrior StoryField invites donations, would embrace more veterans, and is looking for space to establish their sanctuary. To learn more about the project visit www.warriorstoryfield.org.
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