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Artworks that help heal


It looked like most other art exhibits, but the works on display at Fanshawe College were part of a healing process for the artists.

The Veterans Art Exhibit featured creations by former members of the military, first responders, and frontline health care workers who have faced emotional struggles as a result of their work.

James Agesen started the Veterans Art Initiative two years ago, but the display at Fanshawe’s Innovation Village was the first public exhibit, "You end up with one of two things if you spend your career; mental illness, physical injury - or both. Unfortunately, that's the trade-off of serving your country."

Agesen is a former member of the RCMP and the Canadian military. Art helped him deal with depression and alcoholism.

He said the social aspect of the program is also vital, "It brings people together who isolate themselves anyways. When you get out of the service, a lot of people end up isolating themselves. They go from a regimented routine to nothing."

The Veterans Art Exhibit, seen on May 3, 2024, was part of the Veterans Art Initiative started by James Agesen. (Gerry Dewan/CTV News London)

The Veterans Art Exhibit took place on Thursday and Friday, but Ageson is planning other showings, including a return to Fanshawe.

The charitable venture is designed to promote the artist’s continued participation and encourage others to join.

"We put their work online for sale, and at these types of shows,” Agesen told CTV News. “20 per cent goes to the Veterans Art Initiative to buy supplies and rent rooms, and 80 per cent goes back to the artist, which encourages them and also gives them a little bit of an extra income."

This inaugural exhibit was sponsored by Fanshawe College and local Canadian Legion branches. Top Stories

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