Veteran Artists 2008-2018

Veteran Artists began as a collective of friends recently separated from the military who organized creative opportunities for other veterans to express themselves, reintegrate with the community, and heal invisible wounds from their time in service.

Most of us knew each other as members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and had already been organizing together. Being the San Francisco chapter, our events ran a gamut of progressive, radical, queer, with a solid anti war base, as well as local support from Veterans For Peace. We built a vast network of support in the Bay Area and had the freedom to creatively push the envelope with our activism. Operation First Casualty – Black Friday was highly choreographed street theater involving nearly 200 volunteer participants. To raise money for the Dialogues Against Militarism delegation to Israel & Palestine, we organized the first Make Drag, Not War! The success of these projects led to Veteran Artists becoming officially official – gaining Intersection For The Arts 501c3 sponsorship.

From the beginning we sought to create an alternative platform to elevate the voices of veterans that are often silenced, but whose stories cannot be ignored. By sharing our stories with each other and with audiences, we built a caring community around us that bridged many divides. We proudly attracted audiences young and old, queer and straight, military and civilian. Across cultures and experiences, people came together, volunteered, hustled, werk’d, and we made magic every time.

We would like to thank everyone who was involved with our productions, workshops, and other events over the years.  While there are too many to list, here are a few that must be mentioned; Randy Rollison & Intersection For The Arts, Krissy Keefer & Dance Mission Theater, the American Legion & San Francisco Arts Commission @ the War Memorial Building, Siri Margerin & About Face, the San Francisco Bay Guardian & the deYoung Museum, Krista DeNio & Echo Theater Suitcase, Drew Cameron & Combat Paper, Yerba Buena Center For the Arts, Canal+, and ALL the lovely veterans and drag queens!! Eddie, Miss Rahni, Robin, Mutha Chucka, Peter, Rheal Tea, Raya Light, Matt, Mercedes Munro, Lil Miss Hot Mess, Diego Gomez, Emily, Kallisto, Rotimi, Bernadette, Cabure, Tara Wrist, Yael, Sam, Jordan, Suppositori Spelling, Davy, Effervescence Jackson, Richard, Ryan, Dottie, Ernesto, the Radical Faeries, the League of Burnt Children, Artist Malcolm Drake, & Ethan {R.I.P.}. 💋

As the creative director for Veteran Artists, it has been absolutely beautiful to be a part of the warm community that came together to breathe our dreams into life.

With love and gratitude,

Stephen Funk

creative director, Veteran Artists