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CALIFORNIA

  With nearly 2 million veterans in California and a generation of veterans returning from two wars, a cooperative of innovative library systems is announcing the launch of War Ink, a relevant and timely online exhibit of Iraq and Afghanistan veteran memorial tattoo art. War Ink will launch on Veterans Day 2014 at www.sccl.org, as a platform to explore the unfiltered record of war that veterans have documented on their bodies.

War Ink will consist of a multimedia exhibit of the tattoo art of 30 veterans from throughout the state. After the photos are taken, an online display will be accessible from library websites, including the SCCLD web site.  Each veteran’s story surrounding their tattoos will be recorded by nationally renowned StoryCorps, and their tattoos photographed by Shaun Roberts, whose work has been featured in GQ, Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose Magazine and Wired.com. The exhibit will be curated by Jason Deitch, former combat medic, sociologist and project scholar; Deitch co-created War Ink with Chris Brown, Contra Costa County Library’s Project Director.

“Santa Clara County Library District is pleased to partner with other Bay Area library systems to bring awareness to this project,” said County Librarian, Nancy Howe. “We are ready to provide a platform for local Veterans to share their creative and artistic expression with the community.”

War Ink will be made possible through an expanding collaborative that includes nationally renowned StoryCorps, grant-makers Cal Humanities and Pacific Library Partnership; and a cooperative group of innovative library systems exploring the creative potential for the library field. Directly involved in this project are Santa Clara County Library District, Mountain View Library, San Jose Public Library, San Mateo County Library, Oakland Public Library, Alameda Free Library, Contra Costa County Library, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Sacramento Public Library and San Diego County Library.

“This project represents both a unique collaboration for cutting edge and relevant cultural programming,” said Deitch. “It is a powerful context for the authentic and honest voice of veteran culture…reaching into and genuinely interacting with the communities veterans are struggling to rejoin.” The War Ink project is the result of two grants awarded to Contra Costa County Library. Cal Humanities, an independent non-profit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities 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 then 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 to nearby Bay Area counties.

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

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