From New Orleans to Washington, DC, to Baltimore and beyond
Pride, honor, respect, humility, selflessness, and sacrifice were among the feelings and emotions expressed by Annual Meeting attendees who saw the Wounded in Action: An Art Exhibition of Orthopaedic Advancements in New Orleans.
Organized as a tribute to injured troops and their families, injured civilians, and the orthopaedic surgeons who care for them, the exhibit included artwork created by 30 orthopaedic surgeons and 70 other artists. It was sponsored by the AAOS, the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS), the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA), and the Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons (SOMOS).
If you were unable to attend the 2010 Annual Meeting, you still have the opportunity to view this moving exhibit. Wounded in Action will travel around the country over the next several years. From April 26–30, 34 pieces, including 16 by Academy members, were on display at the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda in Washington, DC. From May to November 2010, selected pieces will be on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine at Walter Reed and the Health Sciences and Human Services Library at the University of Maryland–Baltimore.
Openings still exist for 2011, but the Chicago Cultural Center recently agreed to display the exhibit from Oct. 21, 2011, through January 2012. In addition, all artwork is on display at www.woundedinactionart.org
Artist talk: Ret. Sgt. Peter J. Damon
Ret. Sgt. Peter J. Damon spoke about tapping into his creative spirit during the Artist Talk, on March 11 in New Orleans. Sgt. Damon lost both arms in the line of duty, and because of that, feels a strong emotional connection to art.
“What started out as a hobby and way to pass the time has evolved into a passion that has enriched my life forever,” Sgt. Damon explained.
“If I could hold a pen and pencil to write, then I could most likely draw shapes and forms,” he said. “I lifted the pen and drew three shaky shapes – a square, circle, and triangle. If I could draw with my left hand, anything was possible.
“Most people have limited artistic ability. As a disabled person, doing something most able-bodied people couldn’t do gave me a powerful boost to my self confidence. Art also taught me to think in the abstract as well as the linear,” he added. “It increased my ability to solve everyday problems. People like me with physical disabilities deal with this on a daily basis.”
As Sgt. Damon wrapped up his talk, he said, “Art has done so much to help me deal with my injuries. I constantly deal with challenges, and nothing is ever easy. But, being an artist has enabled me to cope and channel my difficulties in life through a creative vehicle.
“This exhibit raises awareness of war injuries, which the public needs to know about. I credit the Academy for putting on this exhibit—it’s great to be a part of it.”
Orthopaedic surgeon artists
Richard E. McCarthy, MD, learned about the exhibit during the 2009 Fall Meeting. During the media training session, Dr. McCarthy talked to Sandra Gordon, AAOS director of public relations. She mentioned the exhibit and noted that entries were due in just 3 days. A passionate artist and proud father of a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Dr. McCarthy submitted Wounded Warrior to the show.
Matthew L. Jimenez, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in trauma, submitted Boots of a Fallen Solider. “I am continually humbled by the bravery and dedication exhibited by the soldiers that I am privileged to care for,” explained Dr. Jimenez.
“AAOS is certainly the premier orthopaedic educational institution, but when an organization extends an opportunity for members to participate in something as moving and creative as Wounded in Action, it really makes me appreciate the depth and scope of the Academy,” he added. “I am proud to be part of an organization that values and respects the sacrifices and dedication of our wounded warriors.”
If you have questions or comments about this exhibit, contact Ms. Gordon at email@example.com
Michael F. Schafer, MD, chairs the AAOS Communications Cabinet. He can be reached at MSchafer@nmff.org
Best of Show winners
Each Wounded in Action sponsor judged the artwork and selected two pieces for Best of Show awards—one by an artist and one by an orthopaedic surgeon. Congratulations to all!
- AAOS: Not On My Watch by Allen Eckman and The Wall—Land of the Free…Because They Were So Brave by Stuart Hirsch, MD
- ORS: One Sentence by Christine Marcum and Things That We Carry by COL Damian Rispoli, MD
- OTA: In Service of Country and Humanity by Michael K. Olivieri and The Golden Rule of War—No Primary Closure by William R. Loscher, MD
- SOMOS: We Honor the Fallen by Ret. Sgt. Peter J. Damon and Duty to All by Mark T. Dahl, MD