At the AIGA Career Tools event on May 12, [HAS HEART] co-founders, Tyler Way and Kendra Clapp Olguin shared how their non-profit started with a single inspiring project and become a nationwide effort. VISIBLE board chair Cara Ungar moderated the conversation. [HAS HEART] connects veterans with creatives to create powerful graphics that tell the veteran’s experience. The resulting graphics are placed on t-shirts and put in gallery shows to spread the story and generate profits that support the program as well as the veteran.
[HAS HEART] works collaboratively with AIGA chapters across the country to find designers, photographers, and videographers to pair with veterans. Future plans for the organization include sharing veteran stories through a documentary and a coffee table book. “Stories are what connect us, generation to generation,” Way said.
Judith Burger, a Portland-area veteran, joined Way and Clapp Olguin on the panel to share her perspective of being a participant in [HAS HEART]’s 50 States project in January 2017. “I still get choked up,” Burger said of the experience, which she described as humbling, inspiring and deeply emotional. She said working with artist Rich Tu gave her a different way to view her experience.
The graphic they designed featured the words “Be Bold” in the center and included symbolic elements that were a nod to her grandfather’s military service, her Veterans of Foreign Wars number, and the date she joined the US Army. Burger described how having this “Be Bold” emblem has helped her work through moments of change, anxiety, and depression. Before this project she said she identified primarily as a veteran. Now she’s able to boldly embrace the other things she can be.
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