FSU Art Therapy graduate student and student veteran, Rachel Mims, has been featured in Tallahassee Democrat for turning one of her Army uniforms into a piece of art.
The former Patriot missile launcher operator wanted her art to represent a piece of her past and present, so the Arlington, Texas, native created a peace paper with an image of a missile launcher and a strip of garnet across the top. Her piece, along with a handful of peace papers from other student veterans, was on display at FSU’s Strozier library earlier this semester The impact the project had on the participants, however, far outlasted the workshop and exhibit.
Marcia Rosal, director of FSU’s art therapy program and one of the coordinators of the project, said she liked the idea of the peace papers exhibit because she has seen the role art can play in the process of helping student veterans re-adjust to everyday society. In the year and a half that Mims has been her research assistant, Rosal said, she has seen an increased confidence and creativity in Mims.
She developed severe leg pain while in the service, and had to have surgery to correct it. Mims acquired nerve damage in her leg from the procedure, which causes her leg to alternate between hyper-sensitivity and numbness. She said her art helped her cope with her injury, and become more optimistic about her life and challenges.
Rosal said the exhibit was just another step forward in helping Mims and other student veterans take steps forward after leaving the military. “It can help student veterans to re-focus their life, and re-define who they are once they’ve finished their deployments,” Rosal said.
Several students with assorted backgrounds, also took part in this campus Peace Papers project, including Ryan Taylor, president of the FSU chapter of Collegiate Veterans Association (CVA).