Veteran Arts Database

49 3Arts supporters
$6,020 raised of $5,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on October 06, 2022
    • 120% contributed

The Veteran Arts Database (VAD) is a growing collection of interdisciplinary arts resources aimed to bridge the gap between professional level arts and the military connected community. Supporting this project will enable us to empower veterans working as artists and highlight the creative work that comes from their experiences and stories.

About This Project

I first visited the National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) for their opening of the exhibition, Surrealism & War, on Memorial Day 2014. The entire exhibition featured artists that who had direct experience in conflict and war zones. It was the first time I heard about “Veteran Art” or “Veteran Artists.” This visit was such an impactful experience, from connecting to the stories shared through the artwork to recognizing my lack of understanding of military experience. How did I not know an institution like NVAM existed in the city I lived in? How did I not know that there have always been artists with prior military experience creating artwork? How was it, as a civilian, that I could feel so connected to the stories of these individual artists even though I had nothing close to those experiences?

That is the power of Veteran-created art, the power of storytelling, the power of change.

In the last several years, I have dedicated my professional career to studying military and veteran art history, volunteering with the veteran community, connecting civilians, military families, and veterans together around veteran created art and education. I felt very welcomed by the veteran art community as a civilian and the world of “Veteran Art” opened up for me. The veteran arts community is comprised of both veteran artists who created work directly about military service and artists who happened to have prior military service. Meeting veteran artists, veterans, military families, and other organizations and individuals that are also working to bridge the gap between the military and arts community together has been the absolute best part.

The Veteran Arts Database (VAD) is a collection of national arts organizations, grants, resources, collaboratives, cooperatives and artists connected to and serving the military community. This research project came together between myself and my collaborator, Marine Corps veteran, Giselle Futrell. We discovered an incredible opportunity to bring together our collective interests in building a resource for professional level artists that who are affiliated with the military. Both Giselle and I have worked with and for the veteran and military affiliated communities where the disconnect and divide between civilians and the military community has been evident.

The VAD is just the beginning of a collection that will work towards providing much needed research and distribution of financial resources to support military connected artists. Some questions that we are exploring through the development of the VAD are: how are veterans and their advocates engaging their communities? How are veterans influencing policy by serving as storytellers? How does veteran- created art bridge the gap between the experience of military service and its impact on the families and communities they come from?

Supporting the VAD campaign through 3AP, is an actionable way to empower the voices of military connected artists by providing sustainable opportunities, connections, and development. This project, which directly supports veterans as artists, gives an opportunity for a wider demographic of people coming from many communities to have interest in supporting this campaignsupport this work and community.

The VAD is expected to soft launch online in 2023, and will be shared to organizations and individuals to utilize as a shareable resource. The Veteran Arts Database will continue to be updated and open to collection and connection ofwith other arts resources available to the military community. Updates and discoveries will be made throughout the duration of the research collection from us!

[Images courtesy of the National Veterans Art Museum, Chicago, Illinois]

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    Internet love/shout-out in our monthly updates ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above + Handwritten thank you postcard (we love actual mail and know you do too) ($45.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above + Handprinted 3 Postcard Print Set ($80.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    Above + Handmade Poppy Pin + Handbound Sketchbook ($170.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Above + Exclusive invitation to a Zoom meet-and-greet with project organizers and veteran artists ($420.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000
    Above + Wow Thanks! We will ring the bell and buy you a drink at the American Legion on a Friday night, and we will give you a plant clipping! Wow! ($920.00 is tax deductible.)

Moki Tantoco

Make a Wave Artist

Moki Tantoco (they) is an educator and artist creating curriculum and programming exploring socially engaged art practices through interdisciplinary mediums such as bookbinding, writing, performance, and installation. Moki has more than a decade of experience as a museum administrator and …

View Moki Tantoco's profile
  • Update 1: "It's been one week..."
    Posted on August 29, 2022


    Since the Veteran Arts Database (VAD) went live... and we are at 72%!!! We are filled with so much gratitude for the support and excitement around the possibilities VAD will open to our military-connected community!

    The warmest thank yous to the generosity of the supporters who have backed VAD financially through 3arts!!! Also thank you to the many more folks who have shared the project with families, friends, colleagues, and on all of their platforms! And thank you to all who have felt inspired to share stories and the impact the military community has on their lives. A wonderful reminder that we are much more connected than we know! 

    Much love to you all this Monday evening. More soon!

    <3 Moki and Giselle


    Update 2: STRETCH GOAL!
    Posted on October 04, 2022


    STRETCH GOAL! WE DID IT! Thank you to all the supporters who have contributed to make the Veteran Arts Database possible! In the final few days of our campaign, we are hoping to raise an additional $1,000 so we can hire Veteran artists to consult with us throughout the development of this database. This funding will go directly to Veterans artists! Thank you again for your generosity--we are looking forward to sending out campaign rewards and sharing our research with you in the upcoming year!

    <3 Moki and Giselle

    Update 3: Today and Every Day
    Posted on November 11, 2022
     linoleum block with three poppies surrounded by variety of poppy pins


    Yesterday I was discussing with some military-connected teens, many of whom have parents that are currently active-duty, about how one day, all of them will be the children of veterans. We talked about gratitude and different ways to express thanks authentically. I shared with them that one of my favorite ways to express gratitude to our military service members is saying, "Welcome Home" and how that phrase can open up a conversation. I learned this expression from a dear friend and Vietnam Veteran whom I am so grateful to have shared many years working together at the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago, IL, sharing the artwork and stories of Veterans with visitors of all ages.


    Today I will visit NVAM, to see a new exhibition, Dr. Charles Smith: Holding the Dream in My Hand, featuring the artwork of US Marine Corps Veteran Dr. Charles Smith. I hope each of you find a moment this month to check-out the programs of a local military-connected institution or veterans organization, view Veteran created artwork or follow a contemporay Veteran connected artist online, and most importantly, to take the time to listen to the story of our Veterans and military-connected folks and carry those stories with you.


    And thank you to each of you for supporting the Veteran Arts Database that will sustain Veterans in the arts and our military-connected community. And to all of our Veterans, especially my friend and collaborator Giselle, Welcome Home.


    <3 Moki

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Aram Han Sifuentes

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Thelma Orbos

    • Amy Looi

    • Ryan Killacky

    • Tyler Sinclair

    • Ariel Fang

    • Narcisa Ditan

    • edgar tubalinal

    • Richard Mullens

    • Naomi Falk

    • Sharon Jacquez

    • Cecilia Krueger

    • David Laskey

    • Elisa Chua

    • Carol Del Mundo

    • Steve Dilley

    • Sydney Lynch

    • Inocencia Singson

    • James Chung

    • Lauren Grove

    • Tobin Velazquez

    • Aimee Alcantara

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Jose Libunao

    • Regin Igloria

    • Dan Futrell

    • Rachel Weiss

    • Peter Richey

    • Arlene Yambao

    • Susan de Guzman-Chase

    • Zenaida Centeno

    • veronica casado hernandez

    • Zachary Whittenburg

    • Cliff Chew

    • Kayla McCabe

    • Ned Ricks

    • Ross Jordan

    • Maurice Costello

    • Ross Hamilton

    • Shelly Carlson

    • Michael Mlekowski

    • Areole Chancellor

    • Michelle Lee

    • Victoria Vajdik

    • Katie Chung

    • Eric Garcia

    • Egla Kishta

    • Megan Owoc

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

  Joyce Logo

 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council