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Veterans Turn Uniforms Into Paper, Art

By on October 28, 2014

PARAMUS, N.J. – Coinciding with Veterans Day, Combat Paper NJ and Bergen Community College’s Gallery Bergen will join forces to feature the art of military veterans in an upcoming exhibition. Combat Paper NJ representatives will sponsor a weeklong series of workshops – Monday, Nov. 10 to Friday, Nov. 14 at the College’s main campus – open to all local veterans seeking to participate and provide art for the exhibition. Workshops will feature Combat Paper NJ’s signature process of turning former military uniforms into paper, providing a canvas for artistic expression.

Using the motto of “deconstruct, reclaim, communicate,” Combat Paper NJ’s process takes shredded uniforms, mixes them with water, presses the resulting slurry through papermaking equipment and creates sheets of handmade paper. Veterans then convey their emotions, thoughts and words through art.

Bergen enrolls more than 130 student veterans under the Post 9/11 G. Bill.

The exhibition will open Monday, Nov. 17 and run through Friday, Dec. 19. An opening reception will take place Wednesday, Nov. 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the gallery, located on the third floor of West Hall at the College’s main campus, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus, N.J. Combat Paper NJ veteran artists will conduct a 7 p.m. presentation at the event. The public gallery is open Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesdays, 2 to 6 p.m.; Thursdays, 2 to 8 p.m.; and Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Combat Paper NJ is a program of the Printmaking Center of New Jersey, a 40-year-old, award winning non-profit community arts center. Its director David Keefe, a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps who served in Iraq, developed the program and leads a staff of former veterans to assist fellow soldiers in acclimating to civilian life. Since its 2011 inception, Combat Paper NJ has conducted more than 100 workshops and received sustaining grants from organizations such as Impact 100 Garden State and the Wounded Warrior Project to expand the initiative. For more information, visit www.combatpapernj.com.

Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu) based in Paramus is a public two-year coeducational college, enrolling nearly 16,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip J. Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields.