The art exhibit opens Thursday, November 17 and is open to the public Monday through Friday, noon to 5 pm, and through the start of any performance.
Two Vets – Two Paths to Art
November 17 - December 11, 2016
Curated by James Toth
John Edward Caskinette and Willie Weaver-Bey, our featured artists for UnSILENT NIGHT, are both military veterans of the Vietnam Era, serving in Korea and Germany respectively. Although both in the army, the paths they took after their service could not have been more different. Yet, they both found art to play a central role in their lives.
Caskinette showed a talent for art from an early age and even did three years of course work at the Layton School of Art and Design (MIAD’s predecessor) in the late 1960s before entering the army in 1969. After leaving the service in 1971 he continued to pursue a career in the arts but became disenchanted and instead found a career in retail groceries, while keeping art as a creative hobby. Thirty-five years later, John retired and returned to his roots. He is once again making art in what he calls an eclectic style. The refined, digital prints on display are just one aspect of the various materials and approaches he likes to use.
Weaver-Bey went down another path entirely. After his service in Germany ended in 1974, he made a number of mistakes that ultimately led to a sentence of 30 years in federal prison for a non-violent offense. While in prison he discovered his love of art and with no prior training, taught himself to be free through his painting. Subsequently his work has been featured in numerous group shows, including a solo show, while still incarcerated, at the G&M Gallery in Harlem in October 2012. Now free and living in Milwaukee, Willie continues his artistic explorations, constantly adding to his portfolio of thousands of pieces in many media. We are fortunate to feature a small group of his portraits selected by him for Next Act Theatre.
More complete stories about John’s and Willie’s artistic journeys will be a prominent part of their exhibition. Be sure to take the time to get to know them and their art during the run of UnSILENT NIGHT.