July 13, 2011

Gift supports "Always Lost" war exhibit

Carson Nugget Donates $100,000 to WNC

Wall of the Dead panel of photographs
Wall of the Dead panel of photographs

The Carson Nugget will donate $100,000 to send a compelling Western Nevada College photo and poetry exhibit about war to Washington D.C. As part of its Community First initiative, the Nugget will donate $100,000 to fund the replication, remounting and packing of the images and literary works. In addition, the gift will establish a veterans scholarship fund.

What began as a Western Nevada College class project in 2009 has evolved into a powerful reflection on war that is making headlines around the country. Propelling the project one step further, U.S. Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Dean Heller (R-NV) announced their full support and commitment to bring the exhibit to Washington, D.C., including the "Wall of the Dead" - photos and names of more than 6,000 U.S. war dead in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are continually being updated.

"This incredible display offers a solemn reflection on war, while honoring those who lost their lives," said Reid and Heller in a joint letter to WNC President Carol Lucey. "We are immensely proud of the tireless efforts that have allowed this powerful exhibit to touch the lives of so many, and we offer our full support in bringing it to Washington D.C. in the near future."

The exhibition's title, "Always Lost: A Meditation on War," comes from a quote by American writer Gertrude Stein: "War is never fatal but always lost. Always lost." The provocative works debuted at the Western Nevada College galleries in 2009, offering a solemn, eloquent look at the personal and collective costs of war, focusing on the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

The exhibition includes 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning combat photos (courtesy of The Dallas Morning News) by photojournalists David Leeson and Cheryl Diaz Meyer, who were imbedded with Marine units in Iraq during 2003; literary works by WNC Professor Marilee Swirczek's creative writing classes, as well as veterans and their families, the Lone Mountain Writers Group, and other northern Nevada writers; "meditations" on war--observations by philosophers, generals, veterans, and writers about the nature of warfare; profiles of three WNC student veterans; the poetry of SPC Noah Pierce, who committed suicide after serving two combat tours in Iraq; and the Wall of the Dead. The ongoing research and formatting of the wall has consumed hundreds of hours of meticulous work.

"This life-changing exhibit is an amazing example of what a small college in a small American town can create that will forever have a lasting impact," said Carson Nugget General Manager Star Anderson. "We are so proud of the professors, instructors and students at WNC and are honored to be able to do our part in extending the reach of this exhibit and furthermore, enhancing the lives of student veterans who seek education at the college."

The exhibit has captured the attention of colleges, universities, and veterans organizations and is currently scheduled at venues across the country through mid-2013.

Of the national interest, Professor Swirczek said, "We could not have imagined this project would touch so many people throughout the U.S. What started as a collaborative class project is becoming a collective national experience of contemplation about the costs of war to individuals, communities, and nations."

"We don't have a political point to make," Swirczek added. "Most rewarding for us is the response from veterans--from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan--who thank us for honoring those who return from war, and those who do not."

WNC will commemorate the Nugget's gift by naming its largest room on campus the Carson Nugget Community Hall.

For more information on the Always Lost exhibit, go to http://www.wnc.edu/always_lost/.

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For additional information, please contact:
WNC Information and Marketing Services
2201 W. College Parkway
Carson City, NV 89703
Phone: 775-445-3234
Fax: 775-445-3198
E-mail: info_desk@wnc.edu


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