MOBILE, Ala. — Here’s a chance to support art, music and the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam. There will be a special live music fundraiser at Gallery 450 on Dauphin Street Friday the 13th that promises to steel the show for the monthly Art Walk for March.
What sparked this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Alabama artist Walter Simon is a story with an international twist that began with an opportunity to design the cover for a book on Vietnam.
“My author friend James Rhodes is an Alabama veteran who teaches English in Hanoi,” Simon says. “He asked me to create a book cover.”
Inspired by the project, Simon created a 6 x 6 canvas painting called, “From Alabama to Hanoi.”
“Is about honest conversation and reconciliation between the United States and the people of Vietnam,” he said.
Its imagery and message rippled to communities abroad, and is now on special display at a national museum in Hanoi. Simon is also the first American invited to exhibit in that area of the world.
Excited about the forthcoming adventure, he plans to make good use of his time abroad as a visiting artist-in-residence and ESL instructor with the Vietnam Friendship Village Project. Since opening in 1988, this collaborative outreach organization developed by American, Vietnamese and French veterans provides a compassionate continuum-of-care for victims of Agent Orange.
Many of the residents have learned to create works of art as part of their therapy. Select paintings will be available for viewing in Alabama galleries when Simon returns this summer.
“I am pleased to make new friends in another land that is excited about new partnerships and sustainable economic growth,” Simon says.
On March 13, beginning at 6 p.m. during Art Walk, a number of local musicians will take center stage at Gallery 450 in support of Simon’s upcoming trip to Vietnam. Leland Clay will play, along with Bryant Gilley’s Shifting Tracks, the headline act. Simon’s own band of miscreants will also perform, with Jason Condon on guitar and vocals and Glynn Wilson on drums. The event is free and open to the public until 9 p.m., when a $5 cover charge will be required. A refreshments area will available back stage for VIP supporters donating $25 or more.
If you cannot attend the event and would like to contribute, visit Simon’s Kickstarter campaign, Kickstarter Vietnam: An Art Peace Project.
You can also watch the video here:
You can learn more about the Vietnam Friendship Village Project on the Web by clicking here.
© 2015, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.