The Milwaukee Art Museum hosted the 3rd annual Veterans Light Up the Arts event on March 8, a creative showcase highlighting veterans in Wisconsin’s arts and cultural landscape.

Organized by the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce and with the support of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, the program was created to empower veterans and military families, build community and creativity, and enrich Milwaukee’s thriving arts community.

“Many people are not aware of the contributions military veterans make to our community’s arts and cultural landscape,” said Saul Newton, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. “Veterans Light Up the Arts highlights those contributions.”

Veteran artists performed or displayed their original work, with an emphasis on how the arts have improved their lives. Whether they were a professional artist or someone who found a creative expression as a hobby, the recognition continues to create a platform for veteran to connect with each other and the general public.

The emcee of this year’s event was Carole Caine, and included appearances by Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, Wisconsin Secretary of Veterans Affairs Mary Kolar, and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

Featured performing artists included Guitars 4 Vets, Feast of Crispian, Jake Jahneke, Jim Hackbarth, Brian Smith, God’s Outlaw, Sedoria Outlaw, Larry Reed, Charlie Walton, Jeffrey McNeil, DeWitt Clinton, Lawrence Gums, Jim Hoehn, and Jason Moon. Along with visual art by Lazlo Kondor, Jerry Frech, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Frank Dahmer, Richard Olsen, Willie Weaver-Bey, Carissa DiPietro, Sue Zenda, Mark Ard, Michelle M. Friedman, DeAndre Grant, John Koeppen, Ken Roberts, John Zemler, and Dan Kasza.

All funds raised during Veterans Light Up the Arts go to support programs that connect veterans with the power of artistic expression. These images share some of the highlights from the event.