Talented troops: Local vets showcase self-made art at library’s pop-up gallery

Private Picasso: Veteran George Robertson showed off a collage he made at a pop-up art show that featured soldier’s creations at the Brooklyn Public Library’s main branch on Wednesday.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

They’re patriotic painters!

A group of deft-handed veterans showcased their artistic creations at a pop-up gallery at Brooklyn Public Library’s central branch on Wednesday, which featured pieces they made as part of a therapy program that allows soldiers who went to hell and back for their country to express themselves when words fail, according to a serviceman.

“It helps with being able to express things that you normally wouldn’t talk about, or are even willing to admit to yourself,” said Brooklyn-born Eugene Gallo, who lives on bucolic Staten Island and fought in the First Gulf War.

Gallo said that presenting his hand-made bird feeder at the show allowed him to address experiences that he kept secret for decades, even among his closest companions.

“That day, each artist had the option of speaking about their piece if they wanted to, and it just flowed out of me,” he said. “I spoke of things I’ve never spoken about out loud before, to family, or friends.”

Vets who served in conflicts including wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Persian Gulf, and Vietnam participated in the event, exhibiting artworks in mediums such as photography, wood, collage, painting, and drawing.

And the pieces, all of which soldiers created in the Brooklyn Veterans Association-run therapy program, also offered civilians a window into military life — a culture that has shrunk to include just one percent of Americans, according to an art therapist who worked with the patriots.

“When I grew up, everyone was a veteran, and then, little by little, American society changed,” said Beryl Brenner. “This event was about historically recording who the veterans of our time are.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Posted 12:00 am, November 11, 2017
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reasonable discourse

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!