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"I Am Not Invisible," a remarkable presentation featuring 20 portraits of Oregon women military veterans, will be unveiled later this month at a special, one-night community exhibition at the Portland Art Museum.
The project, which is a joint effort of Portland State University's Veterans Resource Center and the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs, is intended to shine a spotlight on women veterans, whose contributions, experiences and needs are too often ignored or overlooked socially, politically and legally.
There are more than 28,000 women veterans in Oregon -- a number that has risen steadily over the past three decades -- representing almost one-tenth of Oregon's veteran population. And yet, women veterans continue to face significant barriers and challenges in accessing necessary health care and other services, while experiencing a lack of recognition unlike their male counterparts.
The project is the brainchild of PSU Veterans Resource Center Director Felita Singleton and ODVA Women Veterans Coordinator Elizabeth Estabrooks, who are also curating the Feb. 24 show.
"We commissioned this event last year as a result of hearing consistent concerns from women veterans, here at PSU and across the state," Singleton said. "Our goal is to increase awareness and dialogue about women veterans and to enhance the public's view of the myriad experiences -- both good and bad -- of women who have served in the military, including the collective inequities that abound for them as veterans."
The debut of "I Am Not Invisible" will take place from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at the Portland Art Museum, 1219 S.W. Park Ave. Many of the women veterans who participated in the project, as well as the photographer, Sally Sheldon, will be in attendance.
Complimentary admission is available to those attending the exhibit. Guests should check in at the guest services desk upon entry and identify themselves as attending the "I Am Not Invisible" event.
After the display at the Portland Art Museum, the exhibit will begin a traveling campaign, appearing at various locations throughout the state, including PSU. For more information about the Feb. 24 showing or the project in general, contact ImNotInv@pdx.edu.
Information about the museum's hours and accessibility can be found online at portlandartmuseum.org/plan-your-visit/hours-admission and portlandartmuseum.org/plan-your-visit/accessibility.
The next meeting of the Advisory Committee to the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon March 1 at the St. Helens Elks Lodge, 350 Belton Road in St. Helens. The public is invited to attend and participate.
The committee is comprised of veterans appointed by the governor to provide counsel on veteran issues and represent veteran concerns across Oregon. Its nine members serve in a vital advisory role to the director and staff of the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs.
The advisory committee's meetings are held throughout the state on the first Wednesday in March, June, September and December. Registration is encouraged, but not required. If you plan on attending, please RSVP online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/YW99Y8P.
More information can be found online at www.oregon.gov/odva/Pages/advisory.aspx or to contact the Advisory Committee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.