Taken at the Opening Reception of our touring show in Eastern Nevada County, this short video hints at the interdisclinary nature of this year's Image Nation, combining photography and poetry by veterans, and this special choreographed dance called Stand Alone Together by a student choreographer, Kassidy Commendatore, and four other dancers aged 13-15.

what is image nation?

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 Image Nation is an initiative of Nevada County Arts Council (NCArts) in partnership with Welcome Home Vets. Through photography workshops with master photographer and United States veteran Michael Llewellyn, two seasons of veterans have together created exhibitions of work which are shared with the community in a public space. By February 2018 Nevada County Arts Council will ensure the creation and curation of an online photography gallery and e-commerce site for Image Nation alumni, in order to both exhibit and generate income for veterans themselves. Coupled with this will be an independent mechanism for non-alumni veterans to submit photographs for sale, for their own benefit.

what veterans say

“Not only have I found a new much needed and satisfying creative outlet, but also have become closer and more appreciative of my brother and sister veterans… The accentuated closeness is a very good feeling for me.  Image Nation has become a brotherhood within the brotherhood of American Veterans” ~Mark Rogers

"Image Nation helped me explore and validate my own feelings about being a veteran.  Until I participated in Image Nation, when I got off of active duty in 1985, my experiences as a veteran were either ignored or ridiculed." ~Kate LaFerriere

"Image Nation is unique in its focus, as it enhances the quality of a veteran’s life through artistic endeavor.  Our group learned how to use the camera as an instrument of art. We presented our work for discussion, learned from and taught each other and, I believe, improved the quality of our lives." ~Frank Innis

"I am a PTS Vet rated at 100%.  I benefited greatly from Image Nation. I was able to work on many issues that had caused me much strife in my life. I am left feeling enriched and, at the end, my pictures reflect ME and who I have become as a person." ~Oral Stallings

"Being free to display vulnerability is extremely counter-intuitive to the military person but a necessity of survival off the battle field.  Image Nation helped me discover that expression through art is a valid and productive way to explore and feed the soul." ~Jason Tedder

the artistic director

What our artistic director says about Image Nation: "Practicing photography is a voyage of self-discovery as well as self-expression. My goal has been to help reveal what is unique and creative about each veteran – to themselves and for the public.  As phase one of Image Nation draws to a close, and the practical teaching of photography to veterans moves to one of creating an online gallery for them in perpetuity, I feel moved that so many of our alumni can speak to Image Nation’s impact and their enjoyment of the process.”

why it is so important

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Nevada County is home to almost 10,000 veterans. Image Nation has provided a much-needed bridge between these men and women and communities across the county – shining a light on their experiences in a unique way. Through Image Nation Nevada County Arts Council has offered access to an unparalleled opportunity to learn from the best in field. Too many of our veterans struggle with social isolation due to their military experiences, yet they have so much to offer society. Through workshops with Michael and the opportunity to exhibit, Image Nation has helped unlock this potential, offering encouragement and creative self-expression, while building confidence. 

how image nation began

During our first year we offered veterans a free series of workshops with Michael. This culminated in an exhibition of veterans’ photography at the Rood Government Center, Nevada City, in July 2016. The results were breathtaking, and feedback from participating veterans and the public alike was inspiring and heartwarming. You can meet participating veterans here.

what's next?

During 2018, we will extend Image Nation still further through photography exhibitions.  We will produce from these an online gallery of work in order to both exhibit and generate income for the artists. Watch this space.

how you can help!

For more information on Image Nation and how to offer your support, please contact Eliza Tudor at (530) 718 0727 or by email at eliza@nevadacountyarts.org.