The Long War Memorial

President, Art Director, Robert Leland

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U.S. Navy, 1971 - 1976
Robert G. Leland is a studio artist in Wagoner, Oklahoma. He has studied art at Western Illinois University – Macomb, Illinois; Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, Illinois and Northeastern State University – Talequah, Oklahoma. He has been formerly trained in painting, drawing, printmaking and pottery; his greatest joy comes from working with clay. “Clay has been a major discovery in my life.”
When Robert studied ceramic art at NSU, he became extremely interested in pottery, particularly Southeast Woodland style pottery Red River Ware. An area known for centuries as a center of culture, the Three Forks area in Oklahoma is where his studio is located. He was very fortunate to find a vein of clay on his property, the same clay used by potters like him for centuries.
Most clay is impure and needs an additive to give the clay the desired properties. The clay Robert uses is clean, well compounded, and additives are not necessary. “The use of clay directly from the ground is so thrilling.” There are many steps in the creation of pottery. Shaping is one of the first steps once you have the clay. Staying true to traditional Southeast Woodland style Robert does not use a potter’s wheel, shaping is accomplished using the coil method which is a pinching and pressing of the clay into the desired shape. The second step is to decorate the piece; Robert uses burlap, cane, bone, and stone. Another way he decorates the piece is using slip, which is thinned clay that is applied in layers over the existing pottery. Mishima is another method used for decoration. Mishima is a decorative technique of Korean origin. An incised line is filled with wet clay of a contrasting color. When it is partially dried the contrasting colored clay is scraped flush revealing the design underneath. Polishing is done with a smooth stone. Polishing is a slow and tedious process. Polished clay has the feel of finished wood. Sawdust firing (smoking) is also used to enhance the beauty of each form. This is what gives the piece such variation in color. The patterns made by sawdust firing are random and unpredictable patterns, which add to the beauty and authenticity. Patterns depend on the relationship between clay and fire for its color not on glaze. Robert uses these techniques to create ancient designs and patterns accurate to the Woodland period. “I believe the pursuit of impeccable craftsmanship lends honesty and integrity to my work.”

Artist Statement

My intent is to create works of art that speak for themselves in unique, beautiful and elegant voices. All that I see, all that I experience, has the potential to become a clay vessel, an etching, a drawing, a poem.
Images beat at my eyes, agitated, demanding to be let out, to be born. Oh to discipline the untrained dog that is my imagination. Then maybe I could sleep.

Secretary, Lead Strategist, Mike Brostowitz

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U.S. Marine Corps, 1968 - 1970 
During his service with the Marine Corps, Mike Brostowitz served as an Infantryman with the 7th Marine Regiment, which he then followed by service in the U.S. Army Reserves, where he received certification as a Drill Sergeant. Upon discharge from the Marines, Mike was employed by the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, earned an Associate’s Degree in Police Science from Milwaukee Area Technical College, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, graduating Cum Laude from Milton College in 1981. Mike was then employed by the United States Treasury as a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. As a criminal investigator, he worked in the Chicago Field Division as a Criminal Investigator and Explosives Specialist, also serving as a Group Supervisor of Enforcement groups and Special Response team. In 2007, Mike retired as the Division Operations Officer.Mike was an artist and board member of the Vietnam Veterans Art Museum. He is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America and a member the Chicago Police Marine Corps League and American Legion. He holds members of the military, law enforcement, and their families in high esteem, believing that they are the fabric that holds this country together. With the Department of Justice, he was trained as a counselor and served as a Peer Support member, which further led him to provide ongoing assistance in the training of the Chicago Police Department Peer Support Group. At his heart and core, are our veterans and families and the need to provide them with the tools to help them heal. As a proud Vietnam Veteran, he truly understands the need to show them that we care.

Treasurer, Curator, Jerry Kykisz

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U.S. Army, 1966 - 1969
Jerry Kykisz is a Vietnam Veteran, who has spent the many years since focused on veterans’ issues and how art can be a source of release and/or healing. He is an avid photographer, offering his first photography exhibit in 1992. In 1996, Jerry became a founding artist member of the National Vietnam Veterans Museum. His service continued with the Museum through 2011, where he served as a Board Member, General Manager and Curator. In 2002, Jerry became a Board Member & Curator for Free On Board Healing Arts, a position which he still serves in. From 2007 - 2014, he also served as a Board Member and the Art Director for the Independence Fund, offering therapeutic arts programming for veterans across the nation. Currently he also serves on the Board for the San Joaquin River Intertribal Heritage Educational Corporation. Jerry has been published in multiple works of visual art, including Outsider Art: Visionary Worlds and Trauma by Daniel Wojcik. He continues to focus on educating the public through photography exhibits from conflict zones around the world.