IMA student, Odale Cress, is garnering a lot of well-deserved attention with her traveling exhibit, The Care Package Story Project. The following excerpt is from The Care Package Story Project website.
The Care Package Story Project is a collection of photographs of care packages which I re-created from memories of care packages that I and other service members received when we were stationed away from home.
I also offer presentations on the Care Package Story Project, together or separately from the exhibit. These presentations are tailored to each audience.
When the photographs are displayed together, they resemble the American flag; the contents of the care packages pictured on the individual panels reveal a wide variety of cultural backgrounds of people who serve(d) in the US Armed Forces.
The care packages date from WWII to present day and include packages of officers and enlisted, women and men, of all branches of the US Armed Services.
The Care Package Story Project is a traveling exhibit.
I created this exhibit and presentations to highlight the many different people and the many different backgrounds of people who serve(d) our country, as well as to illustrate ways we use food and cuisine to communicate.
Each of these packages sends the message, “I love you. I miss you,” and each family conveys their love, longing – even humor- in their own unique way, often using foods- especially foods the reflect their heritage or region – to express their feelings.
The feelings of love and longing are universal yet how this is expressed this can be a window into culture, tradition, and background of people, as well as insight into our history as a nation. Becoming more aware of who serves is one way of fostering community and expanding our understanding of America and who serves in uniform.
The Care Package Story Project exhibit travels to military bases, VA hospitals, USOs, VFWs, American Legions across the US and overseas. It also visits public libraries, schools/ universities, museums, municipal buildings, art clubs, historical societies, and others around the US.
Along the way, I continue collecting stories of all armed service branches, and from all eras of our nation’s long history. I am working to include care packages that span the history of the US back to the Revolutionary War.
Please go to the Contact or Your Stories page to share your own care package stories, or those of your family or community members who received care packages when they were stationed away from home.
You can reach Odale directly by email at odale@CarePackageStoryProject.us .
Check out this piece in The Shelburne News: Handle with care: Military care package art project illuminates diversity within the ranks