Cal Poly University Art Gallery to Exhibit the Work of a Collective of Veteran Artists Jan. 16-Feb. 9

Artist Lecture and Gallery Opening Reception Set for Jan. 16 

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s University Art Gallery will present “Taking Place,” a self-selected body of work by current and former military members who comprise an artist collective, from Tuesday, Jan. 16 to Friday, Feb. 9.

Nine veterans are part of artist collective Dirty Canteen, which aims to raise awareness about issues that veterans face when returning from conflict. Seven of the members will participate in the exhibition: Aaron Hughes, Amber Hoy, Ehren Tool, Erica Slone, Jesse Albrecht, Daniel Solafidas and Yvette Pino. The veterans, who served in conflicts including Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gulf War, are now continuing their service through the arts, including painting, pottery, and photography.

“The Dirty Canteen’s exhibition will highlight artists who are a part of the Veteran Art Movement and who have exhibited their works in national and international galleries, museums and educational institutions,” said Sara Franz, an associate professor of drawing in the Art and Design Department. “The artists hope to raise awareness of veteran’s issues and start conversations that may bridge the gap between military and civilian cultures.” 

Hoy will open the exhibit with a talk at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Room 148 of the Dexter Building (No. 34) on campus. A reception will follow at 6 p.m. in the gallery, located on the ground floor of the same building.

According to the group’s website, “The Dirty Canteen seeks to educate themselves and others on what exactly is taking place in our country, our military and the world. By actively contributing to a necessary dialog that acknowledges the complexities of culture and society, artists of the Dirty Canteen work to overcome a growing apathy toward our nation’s role in global conflict.”

The Dirty Canteen’s name is a metaphor for the members’ involvement and experiences in the military. As military members, they were issued brand-new canteens, but after many training exercises and deployments, the canteens became worn and dirty, according to the group’s website. Now the artists, who can no longer serve in uniform, are hoping to bring about a better understanding of how war and trauma affects not only military members but also society as a whole.

The University Art Gallery is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Contact: Garet Zook

- Dirty Canteen:
- University Art Gallery:
- Art and Design Department: 
- College of Liberal Arts:  

About the Cal Poly University Art Gallery
The University Art Gallery is a venue for helping to nurture creativity, empathy, innovation, design skills, storytelling, and big-picture thinking by bringing bold thinkers, emerging and established artists, and creative professionals to campus. Providing a venue for five exhibitions each academic year, the University Art Gallery serves Cal Poly and the surrounding area. The gallery showcases nationally and internationally known artists, as well as student, alumni and faculty artwork.

Various works by members of The Dirty Canteen, including pottery by Ehren Tool (pictured at right) and artwork by Aaron Hughes (top left).

Photo information: Various works by members of The Dirty Canteen, including pottery by Ehren Tool (pictured at right) and artwork by Aaron Hughes (top left).

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